Welcome to Quill Corner!
A new series at the intersection of traditional art and immersive technology, the Quill Corner will explore a fresh batch of immersive animated moments and stories — and the artists behind them — each month. The Quill community produces dazzling work from week-to-week, from quirky vignettes to epic dramas, and we’d like to spotlight some of our favorites while hearing from the talented folks holding the virtual brushes.
Quill is a VR animation and illustration tool for creatives of all skill levels. Over the past few years, artists have come together to celebrate everything from national holidays to pop art through immersive animations made entirely in Quill. Each month, we’ll scour the Quill community for submissions and select three pieces to showcase in a future installment in the series. For consideration, simply upload your creation to the Oculus Media Studio. Quill aficionados may already know about the Quill Weekly Challenge, but if you don’t, head over to Quill’s official Facebook page for animation ideas and artistic inspiration. To view animations in VR, jump into Oculus TV on Oculus Quest, or Quill Theater on the Rift Platform.
This month, we’re exploring a theme many of us can relate to: Working From Home. The past several months have challenged many of us to rethink every facet of daily life, and we’ve all turned to different avenues for solace and escape. To some, that means getting to work on a virtual canvas. Below, you’ll find three unique perspectives on working from home from three different Quill animators.
Daniel Martin Peixe
The Scene: “This scene was created following the Weekly Quill Challenge topic “Working from Home.” It was a very timely topic since it was proposed soon after we started working from home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I tried to capture a moment when my daughter comes to say hi to me while I’m at a virtual work meeting.”
The Experience: “This scene is pretty special to me because it captures such a precious moment. I took my daughter Clara’s voice from a video of her playing with her toys and babbling in her cute language. The video included my laughter and I was going to cut it until I decided it would make the scene more authentic and relatable.”
The Tip: “I would say that Quill might look challenging at first, but after some practice you’ll find the workflow that fits your style. I always advise to first recreate 2D reference material in Quill with full volume and three dimensions. This will give you clear goals to improve your technique. Check the Virtual Animation Facebook group and Discord channel for awesome tips and tutorials!”
The Scene: “I wanted to recreate my office with accurate proportions, and wanted to see if I could walk into my room with the headset on. I created a ruler with Quill strokes and made sure the measurements matched my real office. Once I matched the angle and scale of the virtual office with the real one, I was able to walk around freely and find every object in the right spot. It was a surreal experience.”
The Experience: “The fact that people can visit my office from anywhere in the world, and really grasp how it feels to be here, that can only be achieved in VR. Also, this piece will be part of my memory and my life now. If I lived in a different place 20 years from now, I could always go back to my good old office (and see it and feel it) exactly the way it used to be. That to me is magical!”
The Tip: “VR is a new medium we haven’t fully figured it out yet. There’s a lot to discover, and the opportunity to define a new medium doesn’t come around that often. I tell all creators out there to hop on the ‘VR train’ now to discover this new land. There is a high chance that you’ll come up with storytelling techniques that no one has attempted. It’s a great time to be a pioneer in the world of immersive storytelling.”
The Scene: “The goal was to recreate your COVID-19 home working environment. I decided to both recreate my room and paint it throughout various stages of the day. I aimed to get all the little details including the prints on my wall and the reflection in my mirror. I was initially planning to include more animation of myself doing various tasks and model the view from my window to scale, but in the end, I ran out of time.”
The Experience: “This is a unique piece because it allows anybody to project themselves into my work space. I went the extra mile and measured all my furniture so that I could build it as accurately as possible. I also took dozens of pictures at four different times throughout my work day. Those images were all imported into Quill and used as reference as I painted the environment.”
The Tip: “To new artists, I would highly recommend attempting a project where you work closely from reference images. It can be an incredibly educational experience to take a photograph or a piece of 2D artwork and recreate it in 3D using Quill. Without a goal or reference, people tend to stay in their comfort zones, but when trying to match an image made with another medium, you often need creative solutions you can apply to Quill projects.”
If you’d like to see additional artwork from Quill’s ever-growing community of illustrators and animators, be sure to check Oculus TV often for new material. And if you’d like to get creative in VR yourself, give Quill a try today on the Rift Platform.
For additional insights from each artist, and work-in-progress photo galleries of each animation, head over to Tech@!
Stay tuned for a new installment of Quill Corner next month!
A Wake Inn Pulls Those Trailer Strings Ahead of a 2021 Release
There were plenty of virtual reality (VR) titles announced during the week that would normally have been the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), VR Bros’ A Wake Inn being one of them. An immersive horror experience originally slated for this year, the team has just released a new trailer moving the launch to early 2021.
A Wake Inn is a scary title featuring a classic horror staple, mannequins, those lifeless, dead-eyed entities which work so well at terrifying almost everyone. The twist here is that not only is the art deco hotel where the gameplay is set filled with an army of living dolls, you also happen to be one. And then there’s the mysterious Doctor Finnegan, owner of the estate who talks to you via a shortwave transmitter.
The story revolves around you finding out who you are, how you ended up here, and how to get out whilst avoiding the other not so friendly dolls. As VR Bros puts it: “Is it time for the player to take revenge on their maker and set themselves free, or perhaps they’re just a puppet being pulled by its strings?”
In a similar fashion to Last Labyrinth, you’re bound to a wheelchair, making A Wake Inn an entirely seated experience. That’s where the similarity ends, as in this experience you’re given free rein to explore the hotel and figure out its various escape room-style gameplay elements. You operate it just as you would any manual wheelchair, moving the controllers as if pushing the wheels.
Further thought has been put into the gameplay interactions as well, a flashlight for lighting up the darkness which does run out of batteries, a radio with custom stations, and the cinema room where you can watch tapes found around the building.
Working Up a Sweat With FitXR’s Dance Workouts
The UK is nearing the end of its second lockdown and even with that coming to an end plenty of restrictions will still be in place. With the winter weather kicking in and gyms closed if you want to stay healthy at home VR offers an entertaining solution. So VRFocus picked up its Oculus Quest and tried out one of the latest ways to get yourself moving, FitXR’s dance workouts.
FitXR (formerly BoxVR) previously only offered boxing style workouts, hitting pads with jabs, hooks and uppercuts in time to music. The title then diversified this month by adding dance workouts, helping to not only emulate a more traditional fitness class but also add a less stringent gameplay mode.
Selecting between beginner and intermediate classes you’ve got a central fitness instructor to follow who’ll tell you the next move and you simply replicate, easy. There were a number of different workout times depending on how energetic you’re feeling but for the gameplay video below VRFocus kept things nice and easy with a brief 3-minute session.
None of the moves were too complicated but they did get the whole body moving – rather than just the upper body – with the speed stepping up a notch toward the end. Even if the stock, pre-recorded phrases from the trainer occasionally repeat it’s nice hearing them, aiding that motivation on the longer sets. Plus, thanks to FitXR’s multiplayer functionality, you’re joined by others for more of a group workout.
For a bit of added competition if you get the moves spot on then you’ll be awarded points which tally on a live scoreboard behind the trainer. Having a quick glance and seeing where your position is helps to give a little kick, especially if you’re competitive.
Best VR Engines for Enterprise applications
Virtual reality (VR) is a simple term that refers to and describes a variety of technologies associated with immersion into a simulated 3D environment. It can be considered primarily as the point where human-computer interaction, computer graphics, computer visions and 3D sensing meet.
Once virtual reality engines were associated with gaming only, but now it has gained momentum in all industries. VR in the enterprise and consumer sector has taken the world of tech by storm. It has transformed from a figment of science fiction imagination into a billion-dollar business. According to expert estimations, the virtual reality (VR) market is forecast to reach 18.8 billion U.S. dollars in 2020, representing a 78% increase in spending from last year.
Virtual reality app development has become a highly competitive space, with several companies offering excellent VR engines for businesses and other large enterprises. With so many VR options available in the market, it is easy for company executives to get confused about the best ones that suit their business. We will look at some of the best VR engines for enterprise applications.
Top VR engines to consider
The Amazon Sumerian is the virtual reality engine developed by AWS. When using this VR engine, you don’t need 3D graphics or VR programming skills. The engine works with the popular VR platforms, including Oculus Go, HTC Vive Pro, Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Google Daydream, and Lenovo Mirage. The Amazon Sumerian engine also works well with Android and iOS mobile devices.
The good thing about this VR engine is that it has numerous enterprise applications. You can use it for cases such as employee education, training simulation, retail & sales, virtual concierge, and field services productivity,
Some of the powerful features of Amazon Sumerian include;
· Sumerian editor;
· Sumerian hosts;
· Asset management;
· Capability to script the logic in any scene you create.
Amazon Sumerian offers several learning resources that make it easy for you to use the VR engine. The resources have valuable information for virtual reality developers.
Maya is one of the most widely used VR enterprise applications. The R software development tool from Autodesk is used for various purposes including D animations, motion graphics, and VFX software.
It is currently one of the most powerful VR engines as it is used for various functions such as dynamics, 3D rendering, effects, 3D animation, 3D shading, 3D modelling, motion graphics, pipeline integration, and more.
Unity is a popular VR engine as it allows you to develop solutions for various sectors. With Unity, you can create VR solutions for sectors like automotive, transportation, manufacturing, media & entertainment, engineering, construction.
The tool comes with numerous perks for developers such as;
- Artist and designer tools;
- A powerful editor for creating Unity 3D VR assets;
- CAD tools; and
- Collaboration tools.
Google VR for everyone
Google VR is the engine developed by the search engine giant, Google. The development tool allows you to create an immersive VR experience for your company. The tool and other VR engines are available on the Google VR developer portal.
The Google VR engine can be used to develop VR tools on numerous platforms such as Android, iOS, Unity, Unreal, and web. Google has software development kits (SDKs) for the various VR platforms it supports and can be accessed easily.
The Google VR offers numerous perks, which include;
- Low cost
- Easy to set up and use for developing VR apps
- Various VR platforms available, making it easier for developers to choose.
Using VR for your business can open up a whole new market for you. The VR engines discussed in this post are some of the best for enterprise applications. They allow virtual reality app development for different purposes and on multiple platforms.
Full VR Support Rolling out December for Microsoft Flight Simulator
It was great news when Asobo Studio revealed back in July that the new version of Microsoft Flight Simulator would feature virtual reality (VR) support, but slightly surprising that the HP Reverb G2 would be the only compatible device to begin with. If you’ve been awaiting further news then wait no longer, the studio has confirmed full support is coming for PC VR headsets next month.
The Microsoft Flight Simulator team held a live developer Q&A yesterday via Twitch where Martial Bossard, Executive Producer at Asobo Studio confirmed the incoming update. “We are going to open the VR for everyone,” he said. “It will also be open to all devices, the Oculus family, Valve family, every family of headset is supported there.”
Head of Microsoft Flight Simulator Jorg Neumann followed that up by saying: “The feedback has been so positive [from the closed beta] that we think we’re ready to put this out before the holiday season.” The VR addition will be part of Sim Update 2 which is dated for 22nd December and will be free.
Further details regarding VR implementation will be revealed during a Feature Discovery Series published on 17th December. As Bossard mentions in the Q&A its not just the main simulator itself which will be VR compatible but also all the menus – alpha players had to remove their headset to navigate these areas.
As the roadmap indicates, Asobo Studio has plenty in store recently releasing a World Update for the US with a World Update for the UK coming in January.
Third-party creator community stats have been released showing that 214 airports have been created so far, with another 48 announced and an additional 118 are in production. 9 aircraft have so far been released another 56 are coming whilst another 20 are on the cards.
Microsoft Flight Simulator gives players the entire world to explore with real-time weather and traffic systems. For further updates on VR compatibility, keep reading VRFocus.
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