Tag: Virtual Reality

Virtual kingdoms

Welcome to the virtual kingdom, curious to see what I will encounter in this realm of melancholic assets and disobeying objects.

Animations imported into Unity.

New materials wrapped around the 3D objects.

Shadows and lighting, see what needs attention.

Disobeying objects can get quite bolshy.

Spinning objects approaching through the trees. Run.

Note to Self:

  • Have to edit so listener audio is less over-powering.
  • Have to make list as to which object is paired with which audio when triggered.
  • By combining Unity assets with imported objects the overall aesthetic is quite ‘gamer’ looking visually, but It is the look/feel I want for this piece.

Tilting

I finally got my hands on a decent HMD, I got to borrow a HTC Vive with x2 controllers and x2 base stations off a video editor colleague. A shame I didn’t get my hands on it a few months back but, c’est la vie.

I installed Steam and SteamVR, bought the Tilt Brush app and have been painting and sculpting in the void the last few days.

There are a lot of cheesy brushes in Tilt Brush, but there a handful of really nice ones, so the potential is huge.

Note to Self:

  • You can also export any 3D object created in Tilt brush as an .fbx for use in Unity. It seems to strip off any materials though.
  • You can also import 3D objects but seems to be one at a time only.
  • The novelty of ‘light sculpting’ soon wears off, but a great tool as it continues to evolve.

Realms

I have started to create small environments in Unity. Unrealities. I have started to assemble various assets, floors, walls, objects etc to use.

These melancholic realms have been a good way to learn about Unity’s planes and terrains, materials and textures etc.

Note to Self:

  • Create prefabs and collidors.
  • Decide on the final aesthetic, as at the moment its a combination of low poly objects and apocalyptic medieval imagery.
  • Wasn’t so aware medieval imagery seems to be everywhere at the moment, so a rethink on that.

Holo-Tilt

Tilt Brush

I got an opportunity to try out the ‘Tilt Brush’, a room scale VR 3D drawing app. We had a HTC Vive set up and got to basically paint life size 3D brush strokes. Two hand-held controllers are used to manipulate the palettes and brush.

Two base stations are positioned on either side of the designated ‘paint area’. It was fairly amazing to be immersed in the environment and paint in real time, and be able to record, import other 3D objects and walk through what you had just made.

HoloLens

Microsoft’s Hololens is is the first self-contained, holographic computer, enabling you to engage with your digital content and interact with holograms in the world around you. You get to experience Mixed Reality by wearing the Hololens headset. Whilst wearing the lens the holograms are superimposed into what environment you are in and controlled by subtle hand gestures.

Note to Self:

  • The Tilt-Brush was great, the only thing being is that the aesthetic it creates is very obviously ‘created by a Tilt Brush‘! If one can get away from this, it is an amazing tool.
  • I was a bit disappointed by the Hololens, I found the hand gestures a bit clunky. I’m sure version 2.0 will be better.

Guomundsdottir on the strand

I went to see the Bjork’s VR show in Somerset house in London. I had heard mixed reviews about it but as not often in London decided to pop down.

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It was ok. It wasn’t so much the work, which was good but the way it was presented. I couldn’t help feel like I was on a conveyor belt, until the next group come in shortly afterwards.

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The piece that had the most lasting effect on me was ‘NOTGET’, Bjork as moth giantess, quite eerie and spooky as she got bigger and bigger and almost took over the circular space.

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Note to Self:

  • Sat on circular chairs most of the VR pieces were on Samsung smart phones in Samsung VR headsets. The NOTGET piece was on a HTC headset wired from the roof and hooked up to a local PC.
  • Presented thus, it becomes apparent what a nascent technology VR is and I wonder if it will ever take off as an entertainment platform outside of gaming circles. Maybe Augmented Reality has a better chance.

VR/MR Maker

I was in London for a few days so popped down to a UAL affiliated VR/MR maker day in Chelsea College of Art.

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It was fairly informal and there were various desks/sections featuring Arduino, Leap Motion, Virtual Reality etc..I was interested in getting an overview into how one sets up a Virtual reality environment in 3D gaming software Unity, and create a Terrain, work with collidors, prefabs etc..

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I also got a demonstration of a 360 3D/Spherical camera the Ricoh Theta S, this is for grabbing 360 live video or still footage. Overall a worthwhile and enlightening day.

Cardboard Reality

I finally got around to getting my hands on a Google Cardboard VR headset. Cardboard is a low-cost, easy-to-get virtual reality viewer that transforms a phone into a basic VR headset.

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Film Auteur Werner Herzog had been ranting on about VR [1],

“What reality is the cockroach at my feet in the kitchen experiencing? It is not my reality, we only share the same space.”

so I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Is Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality really a new 21st century art form? With not too much bother I assembled the Cardboard viewer, its a cheap alternative to the myriad of other viewers out there…HTC Vive VR headset, Durovis Dive, Homido, Samsung Gear VR, Carl Zeiss VR One, Cmoar, OSVR, Fibrum, HTC Vive, Sony Morpheus, Oculus Rift DK1 etc. The Oculus Rift and Sony Morpheus (which is more game orienteted) looked the most promising to me.

Anyway back to my poor man’s version, the cardboard…I downloaded a few apps that looked interesting.

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First up was Bjorks Stonemilker, which was good, especially the way she seemed to jump out from her own body and into a new position…but I managed to ‘break it’ by trying to take a screenshot whilst it was playing, but this was interesting in itself as it threw up some code and ‘inner workings’ as to how it might be made. Stonemilker was directed by Andrew Thoamas Huang and produced by VRSE.com. They seem to be ahead of the pack in the VR game, Chris Milk is a former video artist who runs it.

The next x3 pieces I watched were all produced by VRSE, ‘Take Flight’, a marvellous short excursion into the heavens above New York City. ‘Evolution of Verse’ that takes you face to face with a foetus in the womb, quite amazing, and finally ‘Catatonic’ a creepy wheelchair ride through an insane asylum. All three were fairly amazing, you the viewer being immersed directly into their environment. Catatonic was the most unsettling, as when you swivel 360 degrees and look up directly at the orderly who is pushing you in the wheelchair right above you…you realise its not an orderly anymore!

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So how does film making for VR differ from traditional film making? some main points below;

  • You can’t frame a 360 shot
  • There are no cuts
  • Death of the Close-up?
  • The character can know you are there, and be right beside you
  • The main protagonist sacrilegiously cuts through the fourth wall, and makes a direct connection with you via eye contact
  • You must try and draw the viewers eyes to the different places they can look at and explore
  • Scale. Object sizes aren’t always in real-world ratios. Sometimes certain scale ratios are based on what feels right, rather than what would be mathematically correct
  • Focus on movement that matters, so that movements are computed in real time to adjust to the viewers perspective
  • Sound. Directional binaural sound
  • Don’t overload your rendering machines, Oculus headsets show images at 90 frames per second which is a huge computional burden. Reduce the load in a CG production, mathematical bounding boxes are calculated around objects, if the viewer isn’t look at something in particular, then it doesn’t render

The Cardboard was the best $10 I ever spent.

Note to Self:

  • Not sure how this impacts on my making, if at all, as the technology seems to be customised or else priced out of reach.
  • There is a great 360 degree camera called ‘Neo’ by a company by Jaunt, but they aren’t even for sale, they envisage leasing them out to interested parties in the future.