Abstract-3D Virtual worlds are crossing and bridging boundaries between the virtual and the real, as well as creating dynamic communities across and between researchers, artists and filmmakers, among others. This paper is the result of a pilot study that points to three strands of investigation that have now been planned to be carried out over the coming two years. The first strand where preliminary questionnaire data were collected shows how positive perceptions can be formed of a physical institution after having experienced it in a virtual sense. The second strand, in which international focus groups were used, seems to indicate how communities of practice have developed within and between artists and film makers using 3D virtual worlds instead of through conventional approaches. The third strand, in which an international focus group was also used, also seems to indicate how a community of practice has developed and further shows how the use of 3D virtual technologies have allowed educators and researchers in educational institutions to increase the breadth, depth, diversity and frequency of their research collaborations as compared to periods prior to them using 3D virtual technologies. More in-depth empirical studies on all of this will follow.Index Terms-3D Art, communities of practice, machinima, second life, virtual worlds.I.