I approached this year’s VR LA Expo held at the LA convention center with a focus on VR as a design tool. The show floor featured booths from technology companies such as Intel which showed off a partnership with the Smithsonian that mimicked the experience of visiting a Washington DC wing of the museum. Microsoft’s booth, hosted an augmented reality (AR) Easter egg hunt using the hololens. Also of note was the Passengers experience, based on the Oscar nominated Sci-fi film. It was yet another example of the studios monetizing our work, as the sets were the primary focus of the experience. The Passengers game also reinforced my thought that an art department that can deliver efficient assets at the completion a show will increase their value to the producers.
A few vendors showcased the use of VR in real estate marketing, which could have a use demonstrating scouted locations, however the process would be cumbersome at this time. The one product on the show floor that would be useful in that regard was the Ricoh Theta camera. The camera features two lenses and a shutter button. It takes a 360 degree images and video with one click. These spherical images can be viewed in a head mounted display (referred to as HMDs). This camera could find a use on every scout. You’d never miss a detail as the scout bustles along, as each image is 360 degrees, floor and ceiling included (and unfortunately your giant hand holding the camera unless you have a monopod and use the timer).
Games and real-time engines were by far the most represented on the floor. While interesting, games were not my area of focus, thus leaving the presentations as the primary venue in which to seek information on the application of VR to the art department.
The fact of the matter is that the space is wide open! The technology, while seeing adoption rates similar to that of cell phones, is still in it’s infancy, having only been available at the consumer level for slightly more than a year.
Below are some of the sessions I attended with an eye towards adoption in art departments:
John Riccitiello CEO of Unity, shares his vision of the future of AR and VR development in his Friday VR LA keynote.
The Data Handbook How to Predict and Harness VR’s Potential
VR: Making it Real, presented by Intel
The Journey to Enterprise VR/AR Applications, Presented By Inhance – Learn how the world of VR/AR itself is being augmented from merely a fascinating novelty into an industrial utility.
VR and the Evolution of Entertainment
VR & Immersive Content – Insight & Debate from World Leading Creators, Presented by Blend Media – (This session will be especially interesting to our members in the commercials world.)
From VFX to VR: How to transition! Presented By Cinefex – (ADG member Alex Nice received a name-check from the stage for his work on an International Space Station experience.)
VR Game Development: Developer Diary, Presented by First Contact, HTC, and Dell – A focus on the process of developing for VR.