Techniques, VR

Animation in VR

For the past few years there has been increased attention given to the capabilities of virtual reality and it’s use for animation. From films and short being created with the explicit intention of being used with a vr headset to the technology being used for production purposes. I wrote an essay last year about the use of a virtual camera being used for CG films in recent years. You can read that below if you are so inclined.

I have seen a recent growth in animators trying to use the same technology for means of producing movement, most notably is Goro Fujita‘s work within the programme “Quill” through the use of the oculus rift. He has also started the facebook group Virtual Animation in which people post their short experiments and animations.

From Fujita’s example here, the method is clearly capable of producing high quality results, I have even shown this clip to fellow animators where they could not guess it was made through VR means. Oculus have been supporting and quickly updating the product, routinely releasing updates including much sought after features from animator.

I had experimented previously in my first year at ECA on creating animation to be viewed in VR but was never quite happy with the results. Although that may be through my own fault, I never really liked the isolation and requirements it inflicted upon the viewer. During a talk from Michael Frederickson, lead technical director at Pixar animation studios, he revealed that he (and most likely by extension Pixar) did not have much invested in VR technology for these same reasons. However using the technology exclusively during production is not only becoming more and more accessible but viable too.

With 10x10x19 being just around the corner, I would like to use some of that time to experiment with this concept and the technology. Although there are some logistical issues to overcome first, with the limitations we face on the course it may not be possible to get the hardware and software in working order. I have managed to gain access to the headset alone for the next couple of days and will purchase the programmes necessary myself, however the main issue is the graphics card required. I believe mine falls just short of the minimum specs and we currently don’t have access to one in the studio.