In this blog I will be talking about some of the new technology that I have been researching and experimenting with.
What is it?: The goal of VR is to remove the barrier between the virtual world, and the the user. To do this the system tries to stimulate as many of the user’s senses as possible. For a long time we have utilized audio to decrease the gap between the user and the virtual world utilizing things like 3d audio. Now using specialised lenses built in to a head worn device, combined with the amazing computing power now available to home computer systems, and advances in real time rendering, it is possible to immerse yourself in the virtual world with both visual and auditory senses.
Since the success of multiple VR headsets over the past years, additional sensory devices have been under development, to make the gap between the real and the virtual even smaller. These include haptic systems in the form of intuitive hand controls or entire electrostatic suits designed to recreate the feeling of temperature and pressure on the user’s skin, over their entire body.
Here is a picture of my World Builder project in VR on one of the Oculus devises(Oculus is one of the leading brands of VR headsets)
Integration with Unreal: The company Epic, the developers of the Unreal Engine 4 and its predecessors, are working toward fully implemented VR features, with later versions of 4 coming with native VR support, and even more recently have been showing their experiments with including VR headsets within the development pipeline with a VR editor, allowing developers to utilize almost all of the editors features in a hands on VR work space.
What is it?: Motion capture, as used in the creative industries, is the process of using one of many motion captures systems (that either include specialised cameras or suit based detection hardware coupled with specialised software) to produce an accurate recording or capture of a person or object from the real world into a digital format. Capture utilizing facial and voice capture is more commonly know as performance capture as it is taking every part of an actor’s performance and capturing it for use in a digital media platform. Some advancements, like those being used by teams like Official Ninja Theory and its collaborators, have recently showcased using performance capture to animate a digital character in engine and in real time, which is an amazing feat of technological progress.
Integration with animation: I have been integrating motion capture into my own personal animation. I have mainly been using motion capture to add subtlety to my animations that would have taken many, many hours to produce by hand. What would take me hours to complete is achieved in a fraction of recording time utilizing a motion capture system. Industry professionals, like Ubisoft Montreal’s animation director, Jonathan Cooper, and Dice LA’s animation director, Tobias Dahl, have both been known to refer to motion capture, or performance capture, as a reliable tool to accelerate the animation process, but not as a replacement. I myself have found that you still need to clean up the motion capture data, as it is only as good as the quality of the recording, and in many cases, if not all of them, pure motion capture data will not give you the desired result, but it is without a doubt a useful and time saving tool that I see becoming commonplace in many areas of animation.
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