Professor Chris Rowland


Communication Design, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design

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Chris Rowland is an academic researcher with roots in 3D Animation, Design and Fine Art. His research, teaching and professional practice are informed by twenty five years’ experience working in the creative industries. This includes leading roles in the development and management of start-up companies involved in 3D animation and visualisation. He leads the 3D Visualisation Research Lab (3DVisLab) at DJCAD where projects are primarily focussed on investigating novel applications of 3D visualisation methodologies to solve real world problems.

Research in the 3DVisLab is diverse but includes the following themes:

  • 3D Visualisation of Underwater Environments
  • Visualisation Methods for Detecting Terrorist Activity
  • Visualisation for Healthcare Sciences

Subsea Visualisation projects include:

MV Rena (2011-2015)
The container ship ran aground on Astrolabe Reef off the coast of New Zealand causing significant environmental damage. Three visualisations were created to document the movement of the wreck down the reef over time.

MV Sewol (2014)
The Korean Government commissioned the 3D Visualisation of the wreck which sank with the loss of 304 lives, the majority being High School children.

Costa Concordia (2012-2014)
3D Visualisation of the wreck of Costa Concordia which foundered off Isola del Giglio, Italy on 13th January 2012 due to striking a reef close to Giglio with a loss of 32 lives. 

Deepwater Horizon (2010-2012)
The oil rig exploded then sank in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 creating the largest offshore oil spill in US history. The 3D visualisation was commissioned by Transocean on behalf of the US Government to support the investigation into the cause of the disaster.

Current projects are exploring the use of subsea photogrammetry and immersive virtual technology to explore and investigate hazardous and emote environments. These include HMS Vanguard and HMS Hampshire in the Orkney Islands and HMS Olympus off the coast of Malta.


Bigger Ears: (2010-12) PI. Investigating material behaviours and the fidelity of cloth simulation for rapid prototyping of garments incorporating smart materials. In collaboration with Leeds Metropolitan and York University.
Funded by EPSRC. Total £440,000. Value to UoD: £210,000

: (2010-13) CI. Developing novel data visualization methods in support of text analysis for detecting terrorist activities. In collaboration with Imperial College, University of Surrey and 8 other institutions.
Funded by EPSRC Total: £2.4m. Value to UoD: £282,000

Other DTA related project income (2011 – ongoing) : £806,177

DeepOcean Offshore Renewables Project: Funded by industry (ADUS DeepOcean). May 2013 to May 2015. Total: £265,000. Value to UoD: £200,000

Small Grants and Awards:

Submerge. (2001) Alt-W, New Media Scotland. £5,000
Visualising Wrecks of Scapa Flow. (2003) PI. NESTA , £5,000
SS Campania Project. (2007) PI. Historic Scotland. £6,000
RASSE Stirling Castle project (2007) CI. English Heritage. £5,000
WreckSight Development. (2007-8) PI. Scottish Enterprise Tayside. £23,000

Total Value to UoD: £44,000

View full research profile and publications

Media availability

I am available for media commentary on my research.

Contact Corporate Communications for media enquiries.

Areas of expertise

  • Art and design
  • Digital technology
  • Technology