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Create Animated Content for Virtual Reality

I have mentioned before that I wanted to create animated content for virtual reality, so I thought I would expand on what I was looking to do.

There are a lot of people who have a much better understand of VR then I do, so I won’t try and explain where we are technically with it.  If you are in the entertainment industry you most likely know there is a lot of interest in VR right now, and a lot of money being thrown at the development of the technology.  There are easily over a dozen VR headsets out there from Google Cardboard to ones like HTC Vive.

So you might be asking in what way do I want to be involved with VR?  I don’t plan to get into the designing the hardware for it, but I would love to get into content creation.  I found this neat little graph which shows “Types of Virtual Reality Content Internet Users in Western Europe and the US are Interested In Watching/Experiencing” You can see at the top at 39% is movies.  This is might be why Hollywood is so invested in figuring out how to make VR content.

Typically movies are shown to the audience by controlling what they see in the frame of the camera.  When the director wants the viewer to focus on something they can easily do that through framing and focus.  The difference in VR is you loose the control to direct what the audience can see.  It has the creative people in Hollywood trying to figure out the best way to tell stories in this uncontrolled lens.

I have been wanting to create content for VR, but was not really sure how to get started.  I have been seeing a lot of interesting stuff with the 360-video, and I believe this is a great place to start.  I might start by rendering one 360 environment(Maybe the lab where Bink is trapped), and seeing how it works to stitch the images together.  Then move into rendering video in the same way.

One of the animation companies who is creating some really great content is Baobab Studios. Check out this 360 animated short they made called “Invasion!”.  If you want it to work you need to open it on a mobile device and in the YouTube app.  It won’t work otherwise.  Being able to be in the world, and look around as you please is a really fun experience.  They do things with sound effects, and having the character look in a direction to help get you to look at what they want you to look at.

Another interesting use for 360 videos is horror films.  Check out this “scary” video.

You can find a bunch of other examples of these 360 videos on Youtube.  I’m still very new to all of this, but this is a perfect medium for animation film making, and it is the logical direction to head.  I would love to hear from all of you on what you know about VR.  Be sure to leave me a note in the comments below.

 

If you have not already, please join me on my journey by subscribing to my blog.  Also, if you have any thoughts or advice I would love to hear what you have to say, so please feel free to leave me any comments below. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@MillerAnimation). Only Time Will Tell.

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One thought on “Create Animated Content for Virtual Reality

  1. What’s amazing and ironic about working in the technology field is that I usually learn about the most amazing technology advances through my kids. Only today they were showing me an app that uses VR connected with GPS to render a 3D wireframe of your surrounding area. Not only does it allow full 360 observation using the direction and tilt of the phone, but they have now games that make you have to actually move around in the real world, which is great because we were all scared the opposite was actually happening. For example in this particular app, in order to collect points you and your friends needed to move to certain areas like your street corner, the local Starbucks etc. Once you physically get to the location you bump to the next level and then you need to look around your environment for the next task which would send you off to some other place. It’s a crazy mix of virtual reality and actual reality. So if you see kids walking in to your Starbucks pointing their phone in all directions, swiping a few times and then leaving, you will know what it’s all about!

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