Our studio had a busy start to Autumn which included a weekend away in the beautiful city of Venice at the start of October!
Sam and Nick kindly arranged for the whole studio team to take part in a weekend conference hosted by State of Art Academy.
We flew out of Manchester airport on the morning of the first day of the conference and after checking into our hotel the Double Tree Hilton, we headed straight to registration and the first part of the conference.
What is State of Art Academy #day8?
The state of Art Academy is an Architectural Visualisation school and training academy. They hold annual training conferences in Italy. The website describes the event as an opportunity for artists to “exchange views, learn from the best and keep up with growing technologies’” and the event delivered exactly that!
The whole weekend was jam packed with industry Leading experts in the field of 3D Visualisation revealing their best practice for processes and secrets to producing high quality CGI visuals showcasing aspirational projects and showreels.
This years theme for the event was Artist vs Machine. Speakers discussed how emerging technologies are quickly changing the way we work and (in some cases with the growth of AI systems – replacing humans). Artists were able to evaluate the role of both artist and machine in the workflow and how best to make use of the new technology available to us.
• professors in the field of neuroscience exploring the science behind viewing images,
• New technologies including VR, AI and neural networks,
• discussions about how to get the most from your render engines CPU/CG rendering,
• interactive tutorials on the latest industry software updates and plugins.
It was also a great opportunity to take inspiration, tips and techniques from cutting edge studios on their creative approach to image making. As a team we could reflect on our own studio processes and felt motivated to put into practice the lessons we had learned.
In between sessions Our Studio were able to relax and mingle in the sun shine with other attendees and catch up with some old friends as well as meet some new ones.
On our last evening the team strolled around Venice taking in the architecture and the sunset over the Canals whilst enjoying some fine Italian cuisine, wine and obligatory Limoncello!
With thanks to our very own 3D artist Owen (who has a keen eye for photography) who took some really great photos – Thanks Owen!
VR is everywhere now but it’s not a new concept. Our Studio have been monitoring the growth in VR over the last few years with particular interest – specifically its relevance within the Visualisation and Architectural industries.
Our Studio visiting VISION London back in 2016
(The event hosted many of the key players in the future of the built environment. Our guys headed to the Virtual Reality Viewpoint to test out some of the innovative new products on the market.)
In recent years the key sectors for VR, such as gaming and engineering, have led the way in VR technology and exploration. Arguably the biggest advancement in VR was the introduction of the Oculus Rift (https://www.oculus.com/) which began as a Kickstarter back in 2012. This was the first real dedicated VR headset for gaming that gave the viewer a true feeling of presence within their virtual world along with the ability interact with your environment. It was however out of reach to most due to its price point and reliance upon expensive performance computers to process the graphics. It’s still an awesome bit of kit, along with similar devices such as the HTC Vive and the cost is coming down, but we still feel best suited to certain applications like marketing suites and events. The technology and most importantly the VR content created to be viewed within these headsets is also improving all the time, but for now, they perhaps lack the mass appeal needed to really make VR a mainstream form of media for everyone.
VR Experience For The Masses
We are now seeing growth in the range of hardware on offer by numerous manufacturers, as well as multiple platforms in which to develop VR and deliver VR experiences. This is making VR accessible to everyone no matter what your budget is. With the introduction of Google Cardboard in 2014, where you can simply insert a regular smart phone into a low-tech cardboard ‘device’ which you hold up to your face to view relatively simple VR experiences.
This modest “DIY” headset can be easily manufactured and distributed. Easy to navigate downloadable apps mean anyone can quickly and easily turn a smart phone into a VR viewing experience. These types of VR apps are available now on both the App Store for iOS and the Play Store for Android. These include traditional action or fantasy games as well educational apps for children, to simulating extreme sports and even VR dating! But this method of downloading online VR content to your phone or device opens a lot of opportunities to develop custom built apps that can be deployed anywhere in the world. And it’s this we feel is an exciting opportunity for our clients to view their projects in a new and immersive way.
How does it work?
These downloadable apps cleverly transform the screen on your mobile into a stereoscopic viewing function. This creates the illusion of depth within an image. This VR “viewing experience” does just that – the viewer perceives they are looking around within a 3-dimensional space which helps create a real sense of presence within the space. The current trend is that companies and brands are embracing this kind of technology as a marketing tool, exploring it with their consumers and clients across a diverse range of sectors.
Example of Stereoscopic Viewing Function available for interactive apps
This has been a huge step forward in terms of reaching a mass market and making VR more accessible. Due to its ease of use and ability to be downloaded on most mobile platforms.
What’s next for Our Studio and our VR Predictions
Our Studio’s vision is to offer affordable, accessible VR viewing solutions to our clients that still retain the high-quality, photo-realism we strive for in our CGIs renders. One important element to achieving this is not be restrained by access to high end performance technology. We feel these experiences should be accessible by everyone and for every scenario.
Our Studio have been offering photo-realistic 360-degree CGI panoramas to our clients for several years now. These can be imbedded into websites or coded within apps that are then easily downloaded to mobile devices. You can view a couple of examples of our 360-degree panoramas by downloading the apps below
We have recently adapted and taken this viewing experience one step further to offer a more interactive VR tour that’s available across multiple platforms and devices such as iOS, Android, Gear VR, Google Cardboard, iPhone and iPad. (watch this space – more news coming soon!)
What’s more, we are working hard on developing processes so the use of VR becomes an integral part of the design and development process between ourselves, our partners and their clients. We are keen to hear from architects and developers to hear their thoughts on this.
The Our Studio team taking part in some R&D at a recent VR AR & MR Demo Day hosted by the Landing at Media City
If you would like to discuss a VR opportunity or project, please don’t hesitate to get in touch the Our Studio team email@example.com 0161 237 1900 to chat about possible solutions for your project.
Our Studio are very proud to have been nominated for a Big Chip Award this year!
Although we didn’t win this time around – our Congratulations go to the winners of the Best Use of Digital Design 2017 award with their entry.
Our Studio were lucky enough however to be shortlisted in this category for our Interactive application & CGI work for marketing the No1 Spinningfields development, alongside our friends at 90degrees agency.
The app formed part of a marketing campaign showcasing the latest development to be added to the Manchester Spinningfields scheme by developers Allied London.
The Project Brief
Our brief was to develop highly realistic 3D visuals with enhanced panoramic viewing to be made accessible via a downloadable, bespoke app. The app was well received by property agents and potential occupiers and as a result – the scheme is almost fully let!
Along with high quality office space the scheme offers retail and leisure opportunities with a roof top terrace, restaurant, coffee bar and food market. Our Studio developed all the CGI assets within the app which also feature in a unique 360-degree panoramic tour function. All of the Our Studio team worked very hard to collaborate on the many 3D assets required to populate the app, which resulted in a highly detailed, high quality visual tool for communicating the statement design.
The app is free and available to download on iTunes and is one of many bespoke apps we have developed for our property clients.
Sam and James attended the awards ceremony hosted at the Hilton on Deansgate for an evening of glitz and glamour which was followed by the after party at cloud 23 for more celebrations.
Here are a few pics from the evening. (I am sure you will agree – they all scrub up very well!)
Very well done to the team and 90degrees for a great project collaboration and a Big thanks to Big Chip for a great night all round. We are proud to be recognised as one of the many talented and creative digital companies working together in the North West!
In case you missed it – this week saw the biggest event in the international property calendar take place in Cannes … MIPIM.
Each year in March, thousands of property professionals from all sectors of commercial, residential, and retail real estate, gather at the Palais des Festivals on the French Rivera for the four-day conference.
Our Studio have helped our clients get ready for the event by producing cgi and animations to help showcase some of Manchester’s exciting future developments such as Angel Meadows, Altair, North Central and St John’s Masterplan.
Here are just some of the projects that have attracted plenty attention over the course of the week on social media and in the press:
As well as 3D renders of proposed schemes, Our Studio produced a 3D animation fly through which was revealed in a live stream on the final day in a presentation on Manchester’s newest and eagerly awaited neighbourhood – St Johns – watch the animated fly through here
The VFX festival developed by Escape Studios, part of Pearson College London recently hosted its fifth annual event at the east London venue – Rich Mix studios.
Workshops and seminars took place across two days which included speakers and participants from far and wide working across the games, animation and graphics industries.
Our Studio use VFX in our animations so two of our artists took time out from their usual schedules to visit this very popular annual event and even managed to squeeze in some BBQ ribs and beer afterwards!
It was an opportunity to hear about the latest industry techniques and software which was being showcased by experts in the field – here are their highlights from the day…
Marc Cohen (Our Studio Senior 3D Artist) – what was your festival highlight?
“Supporting The Crown – a talk by VFX Supervisor Ben Turner…
It was great to see hear and see first-hand how companies are exploring VFX techniques and specialist software to achieve amazing results!
After recently shooting in a green screen studio for a commercial CGI project, it was interesting to see how green screen and VFX is utilized on big budget TV Dramas to achieve things that aren’t possible with traditional methods of filming on location.
For example, during a talk from the VFX supervisor on the Netflix hit series The Crown – we heard how buildings such as Buckingham palace were re-created in CGI and then composited into film footage – a process that we use in our animations. It was great to hear about the production pipeline on a project of this scale and gave us ideas about how to approach our animations production in the future.”
James Brown (Our Studio Senior Artist and Production Manager) – what was your festival highlight?
“A personal highlight was meeting the guys behind -Houdini / Side FX software. (They provide artists with procedural 3D animation and VFX tools designed to create the highest-quality cinematic results).
They gave us some great ideas about looking at other pieces of software which we could introduce to our pipeline to create some great effects and visuals.”
If you would like to discuss an animation project please get in touch with the studio as we would be happy to chat through your project!
This year we decided to have our Christmas Party in London… in just over 2 hours we arrived at London’s Barbican to see their latest, and brilliant photography exhibition: Constructing Worlds. We saw the inspirational works of Lucien Herve, Julius Shulman, Berenice Abbot and Nadav Kander – 18 photographers were exhibited from the 1930s to present day – their work having an impact on the way we view architecture and perceive the world we live in.
We then moved on to Embankment to sample some wine at one of our favourite London watering holes, Gordon’s Wine Bar…
Feeling a bit hungry, we decided to leave the dark caves of Gordon’s Wine Bar and make our way over to the Oxo Tower for a very late lunch…
Oxo was followed by some more drinks in London… and a couple of selfless…
After our 12 hour London Christmas experience, we got back into Manchester in time for a couple more cocktails in the Northern Quarter…
Two great cities in one day!
Merry Christmas and a Happy New year from us all at Our Studio!
We’d like to thank everyone who attended the Urbanized film screening on Thursday night at the Deaf Institute. We had 120 people join us to watch this inspiring and stimulating new documentary by Gary Hustwit.
We thoroughly enjoyed the film and open debate that followed. We noticed the strong appetite for urban issues in the room and think that this could be the start of something exciting … perhaps an ‘Urbanised MCR” group that could meet up to discuss Urban related topics? We could have:
seminar series & talks
lobbying on key issues
I wish this was… (remember Candy Chang?)
Perhaps, if we gain enough support and momentum, we could help to make some real positive changes, covering some of the issues that we feel strongly about – changes that could improve the city, our environment and the way the community engages.
In a time where councils are having to cut back spend and limit to essential costs, it’s more important than ever that grass roots movements such as this get involved in democratic urban design issues and ensure the importance and value of distinctive placemaking’ is not forgotten. To paraphrase Mark Covington, founder of the Georgia Street Community Garden in Detroit…’You need to get off your butt and take care of your own, if you take care of your own everything else will fall into place’
If you are interested in forming such a group and meeting again to carry on discussions, please email a YES to firstname.lastname@example.org, and if you have friends or colleagues who were not able to attend but feel they would be interested, please forward on to them and ask them to get in touch.
If we can gather enough support from your responses, we’ll look into a venue where we can meet and discuss how to move this forward.