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.
(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.
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
Enhanced panoramic viewing capabilities distributed in an app developed by Our Studio – view the 3D tour by downloading the No1 Spinningfields app for free:
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.
If you would like to discuss a VR opportunity or project, please don’t hesitate to get in touch the Our Studio team firstname.lastname@example.org 0161 237 1900 to chat about possible solutions for your project.