Archive for January, 2017

Why I Only Watch Movies in Virtual Reality

Back in April, after months of trying to get the Product Hunt office a VR headset, I was excited to learn that Mark Zuckerberg was going to give one, as a gift. In the weeks that followed… I tried every app in the Oculus Store that looked interesting: lots games (GunJack is pretty cool), meditation apps, and even Facebook 360 videos sort of look cool in virtual reality. Although it wasn’t until I tried Oculus Theater, and forked over the $9.99 to watch Avatar in 3D, that VR became something I use regularly.

Scott Ross in Beijing: “China is Making Big Mistakes”

Last time I interviewed Digital Domain co-founder and visual effects pioneer Scott Ross in 2014, he was ebullient about the potential for China’s burgeoning movie industry, but spoke in no uncertain terms about the pitfalls of investing in Hollywood studios.  His warnings went unheeded.  Two years on, China is careering headlong down that perilous road.


Microsoft HoloLens isn’t a toy, creator says. At least not yet

This is Alex Kipman, the man behind Microsoft’s HoloLens augmented reality goggles, one of the company’s most ambitious products. That seems like a fitting challenge for someone who was admitted to Microsoft’s Hall of Legends in 2011 for his work on the Kinect motion controller.


Researchers Demonstrate 100° Dynamic Focus AR Display With Membrane Mirrors

Achieving a wide field of view in an AR headset is a challenge in itself, but so too is fixing the so-called vergence-accommodation conflict which presently plagues most VR and AR headsets, making them less comfortable and less in sync with the way our vision works in the real world. Researchers have set out to try to tackle both issues using varifocal membrane mirrors.


Best released VR Games

VR at long last feels genuine in 2016. With PlayStation VR, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift out close by less expensive headsets Samsung Gear VR and Google Cardboard, you have yourself a colossal choice of both top of the line and versatile games to look over.


How to Add Closing Credits to a 360° Movie | Premiere Pro | SkyBox 360/VR Tools

Charles Yeager  shows how to add 360° closing credits over 360 footage, using Mettle SkyBox 360/VR Tools along with the built in “Titler” feature in Premiere Pro. He leads us through the whole process, including how to render the proper 360 format.


Experts Share 6 Legal Considerations to Know Before Jumping into the VR/AR Industry

Earlier this month, a panel of legal experts met at the SIXR Legal Workshop to discuss legal challenges in VR and AR development and how to navigate them. While VR and AR startups have many of the same legal needs as other tech companies, there are some challenges that are unique to the VR and AR space. While the panel focused mainly on the US legal system, some of their guidance also applies in other countries.


Welcome to the world of trolling in virtual reality

The future of VR systems may be uncertain, but as consumer-grade devices come down in price, we’re probably going to see a lot of apps that go beyond gaming. Companies are betting that VR (and, one day, AR) will become the new interface for what we’re already doing on Web and mobile: shopping, working, and socializing. Imagine Twitter in VR: thousands of trolls and idiots, screaming into your face forever. Sounds like the apocalypse, right? Maybe. Developers are already thinking about how to prevent abuse from ruining their VR spaces. But first, they have to grapple with the changing face of trolling in VR.


App for journalists: VRfix, for re-injecting 360 metadata into your videos

As more commercially available cameras such as the Ricoh Theta S and Samsung VR make filming 360-degree video easier for everyone without access to GoPro rigs and advanced editing software, publishers are increasingly experimenting with this new form of content as a way of engaging audiences in an interactive way.


A limitless canvas — three Tilt Brush artists on the potential of art in VR

Skilled artists out there are finding a whole new realm of possibility with Tilt Brush, the VR painting app! The artwork these artists are creating is absolutely mindblowing and is emerging as a whole new art style that is completely enabled by virtual reality. I interviewed three Tilt Brush artists about this new medium and why others should give it a go.


 

How to become a Unity developer for VR and AR


‘WordPress for VR’: Meet the team trying to democratize virtual reality

At a recent workshop in Dumbo’s Made in NY Media Center, I expected to be a fish out of water. The class, dedicated to covering the basics of WebVR, an experimental JavaScript API for virtual reality on the web, was billed as catering to developers. My development experience: building a makeshift personal website in HTML and CSS, plus a long-ago course in JavaScript I barely remember.


For dramatic VR to succeed, music must become the director

We’ve all experienced music’s power to change our mood or drum up feelings of nostalgia, fear or excitement. And beyond entertainment, numerous studies have proven that music can inspire action and actually impact change.


Baidu opens augmented reality lab, begins integrating AR into search

Chinese search giant Baidu is looking to further entrench itself in the world of augmented reality, announcing today that it is establishing an AR lab to research and build experiences that more tightly integrate the digital experiences we have on our devices with the world around us.


Virtual-Reality Firm Spaces Raises $6.5M

Los Angeles-based virtual- and mixed-reality firm Spaces has raised $6.5 million in series seed funding, having previously raised $3 million. The investment was led by China-based Songcheng Performance Development Co. (also an investor in the initial round), with additional investment from Comcast Ventures.


‘Dear Angelica’: A VR film that steps inside a painter’s brain

At an early point in “Dear Angelica,” you switch from watching an animated movie to living inside it. It feels a little like stepping into a dream, except it isn’t one sprung from your own mind, but that of an artist leading you into hers.


Best VR Racing Games: Feel Adrenaline Rush Every Hour

VR racing games actually give you a kick while you are playing these games sitting in your couch. Chris McCormack once quoted, “Fact One: Races are won or lost in key moments. Fact Two: Success in the sport is, above all else, about enduring suffering.” The car racing has always fascinated all of us be it be watching on television or playing it on video games or play stations.



Here’s What We Know About ZeniMax v. Oculus VR

Over the past two weeks, ZeniMax Media and Oculus have been duking it out in the Earle Cabell Federal Building and Courthouse in Dallas, TX, and we’ve been observing and taking notes.


 

This time we are not going to travel from one place to another. Instead, we will stay and explore one particularly interesting region in Turkey – Cappadocia.

The region is located in the eastern part of Turkey and even though the name itself dates back to 6th century BC, but it’s been proven that people lived there much earlier – around 6500 BC – and that’s a lot of history that shaped the spirit of the whole region. It boasts not only cultural, but also geological heritage, as a number of places is like anything else on the planet. Whether you seek natural beauties or architectural miracles, this is the right place for you.

Heiner Straesser brings you an amazing series of panoramic photos from Cappadocia, which gives you the image of what the place really looks like. Explore ancient churches and chaples, or other buildings and enjoy some stunning views over nature which is truly special.

Opinions on the ideal VR, AR and MR headsets for the near future

I am a co-founder of two companies (Phosphor Games and TRIXI studios) that in 2016 shipped games on HTC Vive, Oculus, PSVR, Lenovo Tango, and are wrapping up applications on Google Daydream, GearVR, and HoloLens. Making applications for these systems means spending thousands of hours with the devices; experimenting and prototyping uses that will never go public.


Fashion meets virtual reality

Ace Indian fashion designer Manish Malhotra launched his virtual reality fashion show at the Innovation Centre and Training Academy of Etihad Airways airlines.


VR startups are about to die. Investors should relax.

One of the earliest VR startups, Envelop launched in 2014 as an effort to bring the traditional Windows desktop experience into VR, and drew the interest of high-profile VCs including Madrona and GV. It would have allowed users to create immersive 3D computing environments, effectively rendering screens obsolete.


Academics, researchers ponder how quickly VR and AR will impact education

Academics and researchers will gather at Harvard Friday to explore how virtual and augmented reality will be used for education. About 10 researchers will present research papers that will be compiled into a book “Virtual, Augmented, and Mixed Realities in Education” that will launch in the summer. The conference is hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, The Smart Learning Institute of Beijing Normal University, a joint venture between the University and NetDragon, and The Fujian Virtual Reality Industrial Base, an incubator for virtual reality companies.


VR as the Most Powerful Surveillance Technology or Last Bastion of Privacy? It’s up to Us.

Virtual reality has the potential to enable so many amazing utopian futures, but it also has the potential to become one of the most intimate surveillance technologies that could create a Big Brother dystopia of political and economic control. But if privacy considerations are built into virtual reality technologies from the beginning, then Accomplice investor Sarah Downey argues that the metaverse could actually be one of the last bastions of privacy that we have in our lives.


GE Just Launched a Branded Virtual Reality Series About Science

 GE hoping to bridge a storyline between science and art, has just debuted a new documentary miniseries in virtual reality. This week, the tech company released the first of five films that aim to show a different side of innovation beyond just labs. Shot by Here Be Dragons, the series—”The Possible”—aims to let people see the possibilities of science and tech within real-world settings. The films let viewers cruise across salt atop land speeders, fly high in the air on hoverboards and walk through the woods and in the lab with robots built by Boston Dynamics. (The first film,” Hello Robot,” debuted today on Within, an app that houses VR content from Here Be Dragons, The New York Times, United Nations, Vice and others.)


The Royal Shakespeare Company Paves Way For Virtual Reality Theater

Arthur C. Clarke once said: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” 
If that’s true, then the Royal Shakespeare Company is well on its way to casting actual spells over its audiences.


Oculus founder headed to court over allegations of stolen tech and bogus origin story

After purchasing Oculus just over two years ago, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is just beginning to reap the benefit. Oculus finds itself in the fortunate position of being an industry leader in a market that’s just beginning its ascent. It’s also about to appear in court over allegations of stolen technology and a false origin story.


Believe the Hype: HypeVR’s Volumetric Video Capture is a Glimpse at the Future of VR Video

Today’s most immersive VR video productions are shot in 360 degree video and 3D. Properly executed 360 3D video content can look quite good in VR (just take a look at some of the work from Felix & Paul Studios). But—assuming we can one day achieve retina-quality resolution and geometrically perfect stereoscopy—there’s a hurdle that 360 3D video content simply can’t surmount: movement inside of the video experience.


Three VR Firms Merge to Form Virtual Content Group

In the tech industry its fairly common place for mergers to happen, companies want to use each others expertise to advance their own projects. What’s slightly more unusual is when three businesses decide to do just that, but this week the Virtual Content Group (VCG) officially announced its launch.


 

Hi all! It looks like another virtual trip over the world, thanks to some of the magnificent panoramic photos the 360Cities photographers uploaded recently. And there’s a lot to admire again!

 

Winter wonderland by Rami Saarikorpi (click the picture to open the pano)

Let’s start in Finland – and you can be sure it’s really cold over there these days. This is Kontiolahti, which really looks like winter wonderland. Even though you would not feel wonderful being down there in that temperature, would you?

 

Redwood Memorial Grove Track and Pier at Lake Tarawera by Christian Kleiman (click the pictures to open the panos)

These two panos from New Zealand give you an image of how beautiful the nature really is over there. A deep forest and a pier at a quiet lake. If New Zealand is too far for you to travel, our panoramic photos can help!

 

Dead Tool by Juan José Torrado (click the picture to open the pano)

This is a creepy one. It seems like this old windmill has not been working for a while and it could easily be considered as haunted – especially thanks to this great photo, which makes it look quite scary.

 

National Assembly of Ecuador by Santiago Salinas (click the picture to open the pano)

How cool is this place? This certainly does not look like some other national asseblies, parliaments ets. – all shiny and colourful. One would imagine how lovely it could be, working there, however, there’s some serious stuff they discuss there!

 

Berlin from Cathedral Church by luis davilla (click the picture to open the pano)

No doubt, Berlin is a wonderful city. But how beautiful is it from above, especially at night? Luis took this pano from atop of the Berlin Cathedral and the result is magnificent. The clear sky at dawn, street lights below… Brilliant job.

 

More amazing panoramic photos coming your way!

 

Berlin Gendarmenmarkt 2016 Christmas Market by Willy Kaemena (click the picture to open the pano)

Kids Visiting Vieux Quebec by Thomas K Sharpless (click the picture to open the pano)

Göynük Village by Heiner Straesser (click the picture to open the pano)

Nerik 10-3 by Heiner Straesser (click the picture to open the pano)

Pont de Bir-Hakeim by Christian Kleiman (click the picture to open the pano)

Banyan Tree by John Hill

Unlocking the treasure chest: The emerging language of VR storytelling, by Eric Darnell of Baobab Studios (Part 1 of 2)

I was a Journalism major at the University of Colorado as an undergrad student. I started taking film classes just to learn how to cut a news story together and got really interested in film. Then in 1983, when I was flipping through the channels and saw a PBS documentary on computer animation, which I’d never seen before, I was blown away. I knew what I wanted to do with my life.


15 Virtual Reality Trends We’re Predicting for 2017

2016 is fast drawing to a close. And while many will be glad to see the back of it, for those of us who work and play with Virtual Reality, it has been a most exciting year. By the time the bells ring out signalling the start of a new year, the total number of VR users will exceed 43 million. This is a market on the move, projected to be worth $30bn by 2020. If it’s to meet that valuation, then we believe 2017 will be an incredibly important year in the lifecycle of VR hardware and software development.


The female perspective: Takeaways from my experience watching VR porn made for dudes

Last week, I got to experience something I never thought possible as a woman: sex from the male perspective. The future is here, my friends. And though it was an interesting anthropological experiment, it was not particularly sexy to look down and see … that.  But that’s what I saw, courtesy of Naughty America at CES in Las Vegas. The company was tucked away in a sad meeting room off the show floor, reminiscent of a glass smoking room at the airport, as if to send a message. Keep the animals in their cage.


The first Virtual Reality X-ray training with Virtual Medical Coaching

The Writer had the opportunity to put on the VR googles and what was a vacant booth suddenly became a full Hospital Radiology suite. I was able to walk from the Consul room into the examination room. I was able to interact with the X ray tube, manipulate the patient, raise or lower the table and put left or right markers on. After placing the X Ray tube, manipulating the patient’s knee, collimating the beam and even placing the correct “R” side maker onto the X Ray image receptor I walked back to the consul room, and took the radiograph.


This is how Sony plans to make virtual reality films a long-term business

Virtual reality (VR) is a long way off from becoming a money maker for movie bosses and for Sony the challenge to date has been resisting the urge to fuel hype for the medium and instead understand the value it could bring.


Virtually boring: VR really disappoints at CES this year

Call it a virtual disappointment. Or virtually unsurprising. I’ll just say I was virtually underwhelmed. Whatever pun you choose, the virtual reality industry has some explaining to do after this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, during which the biggest product announcements can largely be categorized as “more of the same.”


Virtual Reality Devices: What to Expect In 2017

Virtual reality is actually becoming the biggest market after the smartphone revolution. As we enter in 2017, the Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality would be cheaper and better for consumers, handy for Enterprises. All in all, 2017 will mark the start of a new era for the next big thing, the later half of 2016 manifested the beginning of an ever-growing market with Sony introducing PlayStation 4 VR, Facebook buying Oculus Rift for $2 Billion and launching of HTC Vive VR Edition.


Virtual Reality Takes Fans Inside the World of Watches

Swiss watchmakers are nostalgic by nature. How else to explain their constant reference to a golden era of timekeeping, more than 200 years ago, when masters such as Abraham-Louis Breguet devised the world’s first complicated timepieces?


I tried to work all day in a VR headset and it was horrible

Virtual reality is here. You can pilot a starfighter, make sculptures out of virtual clay and experience award-winning journalism … but can you use it to get some work done?


Cirque Du Soleil Gets New Virtual Reality Experience ‘Dreams of O’

Award-winning virtual reality studio Felix & Paul released a new virtual reality experience in cooperation with Cirque Du Soleil at CES in Las Vegas Thursday. “Dreams of O” takes the viewer on a 12-minute journey into the underwater world of “O,” the Cirque show that’s been playing in Vegas for close to 20 years.


 

VR headsets will soon lose the cords. Why that’s a problem

On the eve of CES, where virtual reality is set to dominate, the loudest chatter around VR seems to be focused on the dawn of tetherless, high-end VR headsets. The basic idea: to bring the kind of mobility you enjoy with something like the mobile phone-based Samsung Gear VR to premium VR devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Some feel that once these higher-end headsets are untethered, VR will truly take off, as we’ll be able to fully immerse ourselves by walking around freely in the real world while jacked into the virtual world. 


Facebook pop-up stores offer taste of VR

No, your eyes are not deceiving you. The Facebook store is real. Consumers and travelers may have bumped into these pop-up Facebook “stores” over the holidays at airports and malls. What the stores are trying to sell is one of the tech sector’s hottest trends — virtual reality.


Not Just For Gaming: Virtual Reality Meditation Helps Women Through Labor Pains

It’s widely acknowledged that the pain experienced during childbirth is pretty rough. Even if you haven’t experienced having a child yourself, seeing women scream in television and films while they give birth to a new baby would make anyone cringe. That’s why doctors have been trying to find ways to help manage, if not completely avoid the pain.


Virtual Reality Is A Renegade Technology That’s Disrupting The Creative Process

I’m far from the first person to suggest that creative companies are currently at a crossroads. Everything around us is shifting, from the media and platforms we’re expected to navigate, to the kinds of ideas our clients expect from us. And it seems that increasingly, we’re falling short of those expectations. Why? A failure on our part for not changing the creative ways we work with technologists and partners to come up with fresh ideas.


Virtual Reality’s Quest for Real Money

Audi is giving customers superpowers at several of its dealerships. People can strap on virtual-reality headsets that give them X-ray vision to peek under car hoods and, just for fun, see what their dream drive would look like parked on the moon, next to asteroid craters.


A NEW FRONTIER IN VIRTUAL REALITY? MICROSOFT PATENTS HINTS AT STAR TREK-LIKE HOLODECK

Science fiction quite often predicts future technology. The very first science fiction movie, 1902’s A Trip to the Moon, predicted the moon landing 67 years later, and it’s also true of Star Trek, the best-known science fiction TV show. Star Trek has augured a host of gadgets that have already seen the light of day, like cell phones and “tricorder”-like devices .


We can’t expect virtual reality to make us better people online

Last week, I got to chat with Epic CEO Tim Sweeney, one of the virtual reality gaming industry’s most prominent figures. Like many others, Sweeney believes that VR has the potential to transform how we interact online, especially as more sophisticated tracking systems translate body language, facial expressions, and other details into digital worlds. More specifically, he thinks virtual reality could make us treat each other better there. Unfortunately, this is almost certainly wrong — and if we wait for it to happen, I fear we’ll ruin social VR in the process.


The troubled history of VR and why next year will make it or break it

Like every child growing up in the Nineties, I spent a good chunk of my time watching the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers. But in laying the foundation for being an adult geek, there was another show I liked much better.


VR may not have made much money, but it’s already revitalising games

2016 has been the kind of year that’s probably best spent with your head in a bucket. Luckily for me, that bucket had two little screens wired into it and all sorts of motion-sensing gadgetry stuck on top. I have no idea how VR works – and from a business sense, I gather that it doesn’t really work all that well at the moment. Yet, despite the fact that I couldn’t afford the hardware myself, and despite the fact that VR games aren’t going to be troubling the charts any time soon, VR’s provided me with my favourite gaming moments of this year – and probably my favourite gaming moments of the last few years.


HoloLens, Magic Leap & SmartGlasses—Lots of Mixed and Augmented Reality Coming to CES 2017

The coming year promises to be a good one for those of us watching the augmented and mixed reality world. And the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), starting Jan. 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada, for its 50th year, is bringing 2017 in with a bang—we’re expecting a ton of great announcements on the horizon.


VFX for 360 VR, and why you are not prepared for it (Part 2)

In part one of this post I explored workflow challenges resulting from how conceptually different 360-video VR is from everything I’ve worked on before in my career as a VFX supervisor. In this part I’ll be diving into technical challenges resulting from requirements and limitations unique to 360-video VR, which I’ve experienced while working on a 360-video web-series for YouTube.


Toymakers are the early adopters pushing AR into the mainstream

In the race to greater consumer adoption, augmented reality is emerging as the early leader, thanks to its adoption by a key consumer market.


 

 

Holidays and celebrations are over now and we believe you are ready for another wonderful chapter of our lives – it’s called 2017! We’re sure it is going to be exciting – just as the panoramic photos you have uploaded to 360Cities recently. Have a look!

New Caledonia series by Richard Chesher (click the pictures to open the panos)

This time we start in New Caledonia with this magnificent series of underwater panos. Taking an underwater pano and all the work afterwards may seem like a pretty complicated process, but Richard is making it look easy. Just have a look at this ocean beauty!

 

Here’s a couple of other panos that Richard has taken in New Caledonia. Worth a look!

 

Moon Rise and Sunset at Fonts Point in the Borrego Badlands by Allan Der (click the picture to open the pano)

Sunsets are wonderful, no doubt about that. This one is special, though, as Allan managed to capture both sunset and moon rise on the same panoramic photo. Just open it, turn around and enjoy this beauty.

 

Dusk Falls Over Mei Foo Sun Chuen by wongchichuen (click the picture to open the pano)

Aerial shots of Hong Kong have been a regular part of our Editors’ pick reviews and this edition is no exception. Wonderful clouds over the city that’s slowly getting ready for the upcoming quiet night – this combination works perfectly on this one. But is Hong Kong actually ever quiet?

 

Want more? More beautiful panoramic photos coming your way!

 

Grand Place, Brussels by Javier Lopez-Quiles (click the picture to open the pano)

Perez Art museum, Miami by Jaime De La Sotta (click the picture to open the pano)

Basilica del Voto Nacional by Santiago Salinas (click the picture to open the pano)

Exterior of cenotaph of Maharaja Sawai Jai Singh and The cenotaph of Maharaja Madho Singh II by Sergej Esnault (click the pictures to open the panos)

Gardens By The Bay by Julien Mordret (click the picture to open the pano)

Outside the Cologne Cathedral by Florian Knorn (click the picture to open the pano)

Cathedral square, Vilnius by Jonas Nosalis (click the picture to open the pano)