The lifecycle of the Chequered Copper butterfly, in extended reality

About Herding Caterpillars

As part of Nature Festival 2022, Butterfly Conservation SA (BCSA) and Adelaide artist and creative producer Rosina Possingham are proud to launch Herding Caterpillars – an extended reality experience that explores the life cycle of the Chequered Copper butterfly. The combined Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) experiences allow audiences to get up close and personal with the life cycle of the rare butterfly, which can be found in Adelaide’s southern park lands.

Based on a theatrical performance co-created by Jacqui Hunter and Gerry Butler, first presented in May 2021, Herding Caterpillars now comes to life in the virtual world, using motion capture technology at Flinders University’s cutting-edge production space The Void. With vibrant animated content produced by James Marshall and CDW Animation’s world-class team of specialist concept artists, 3D modellers, riggers, animators and VFX artists, the story is brought to life through intricate concept art that guides audiences into vibrantly imagined insect worlds. The project has been brought into the virtual world by extended reality guru Damien Rompapas and his rag-tag team of brewmasters at Brewed Engagement Extended Reality (BEER) Labs.

The story of the Chequered Copper’s connection with its host plant native sorrel and the common black ant is told through a host of delightful characters, played by a team of established and emerging young actors.

The immersive VR experience will be held in the State Library’s Institute Building on Friday 14, Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 October. After donning a VR headset, audiences will be led in wonder through the virtual world, experiencing the caterpillar’s journey from clueless critter to beguiling butterfly. 

Additionally, a self-guided AR experience accompanied by a trail of original sculptures by local artists will be on display from 6 to 16 October at three sites – the South Australian Museum, MOD. and Park 16 Victoria Park / Pakapakanthi (where the Chequered Copper butterfly was re-discovered in 2011). Using phones to activate the trigger stickers, audiences can view a short animation that tells the Herding Caterpillars story.

CDW Animation

Founded in 2012 by concept and art director Simon Scales, CDW Studios is Australia’s highest rated school* for digital entertainment design, VFX, and Animation. The recently opened CDW Animation studio allows the teaching staff to keep their skills sharp while focusing on the development of original content for international audiences. 

CDW Ani­ma­tion is a stu­dio based in Ade­laide, Aus­tralia, that spe­cialis­es in devel­op­ment and art for IP for ani­ma­tion, video games, film and TV. We focus on cre­at­ing rich worlds and sto­ries through Con­cept Art, Sto­ry­boards, Pre­vis all the way through to final 3D/2D pro­duc­tion. We are active­ly devel­op­ing IP’s for stu­dios and also part­ner­ing with stu­dios around the world for video game, film and TV production.

The Void Flinders University

The Void is a multipurpose production stage housed at Flinders University’s Incorporating a 20-camera motion capture stage and an LED virtual production volume with Vicon, Faceware and Unreal Engine as unifying technology. The Void is a is a cutting-edge experimentation space for content creators, performers and any visual artist wishing to experiment with technology that transports their work onto digital platforms. A place for learning, collaborating, and researching where students and industry have worked side by side with Motion Capture Specialist Cameron Mackness and Senior Lecturer in Visual Effects Jason Bevan to champion Virtual Production Technology in South Australia. 


Formally founded early 2022, Brewed Engagement Extended Reality Laboratory (BEER Labs) is an enthusiastic interactive software & hardware development laboratory that focuses on researching and developing the latest in brewed fun and engagement!

Whether it be video games, AR/VR interactive experiences, software/hardware engineering, or industrial solutions, we’re happy to serve up a pint! We achieve this by upskilling our games and entertainment designers-to-be internally on bubbling games and industry applications with soul to achieve their full flavour. After all, any research question can be answered over a BEER!