3D Animation in VR

The rescue, by Peter Chan

Animation has come an extraordinarily long way since Disney and Fleischer’s cartoons in the 1900s. Since then, 3D cartoons have taken the spotlight, and 3D animation programs have been advancing and improving. The latest innovation in 3D animation, virtual reality. Animating in a virtual space is certainly a striking experience, and it’s already being used to create some lovely pieces. What benefits does it provide that traditional 3D software does not?

There’s a big difference in animating for vr and for a flat screen. Animating for vr, you have to account for every possible way the viewer could be looking at anything, and every way they aren’t. As opposed to flat screens, where they see exactly what you want them to see. Animating for virtual reality, you have to be able to take control of your viewer and get them to look where all the exciting stuff is, without making all the rest seem bland and useless to the experience. Unlike a flat screen, everything has to contribute to the virtual world you’re creating, every little detail matters because the watcher can see every little detail. And the more immersive vr gets, the more this will be true. And this is why animating in vr, for vr is essential. If you can’t easily experience what you’re creating properly then it’s not going to feel right for anyone experiencing it.

When watching a normal movie on a tv or movie theatre screen, you don’t see every detail unless your going back frame by frame and zooming in like a superspy looking for something hidden on surveillance footage. A lot of detail is mostly lost on the untrained eye, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t important. It’s a lot harder to miss something while sculpting a landscape, it’s easier for a character to drift into the uncanny valley. So when the final product is shown, it might look a  little off. But if you feel immersed in the process of creation, if you feel like your really there, it’s a lot easier to see those small imperfections, because your looking at what you make as if it were there in front of you.

The programs for flat screens still have a pretty big advantage over vr programs, because they’ve been developed for longer, as with any new technology. As the potential of the hardware is realised through the software, the final products continuously  increase in quality.

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