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Quill Corner: Featuring Daniel Martin Peixe, Goro Fujita, and Nick Ladd

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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!”

Grab your headset and watch this animation in VR! To explore more from Daniel Martin Peixe, check out his Facebook and Instagram page.

Goro Fujita

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.”

Grab your headset and watch this animation in VR! To explore more from Goro Fujita, check out his Facebook and Instagram page.

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.”

Grab your headset and watch this animation in VR! To explore more from Nick Ladd, check out his Facebook and Instagram page.


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!

Source: https://www.oculus.com/blog/quill-corner-featuring-daniel-martin-peixe-goro-fujita-and-nick-ladd/

AR/VR

Enterprise VR Hardware Specialist Varjo Raises $54 Million in Latest Funding Round

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Varjo, the Finnish virtual reality (VR) company behind headsets like the mixed reality XR-1 and the new VR-2/VR-2 Pro has been enjoying an influx of investment in 2020. Last month the company announced it had been awarded an Epic Megagrant and today it has confirmed the closure of a Series C funding round of $54 million USD.

Varjo products

Existing investors including Lifeline Ventures, Atomico, EQT Ventures and Volvo Cars Tech Fund participated, whilst the round also saw Tesi, NordicNinja, and Swisscanto Invest by Zürcher Kantonalbank invest for the first time. Varjo also announced that Timo Toikkanen (previously COO of Varjo) has been appointed as the new CEO with co-founder and previous CEO, Niko Eiden, staying on as CXO and board member. 

This brings the total investment in Varjo to over $100 million as the company continues to expand its global presence and improve its hardware lineup. Companies including Volvo Cars, Boeing, Audi and Siemens already use its range of headsets, from training to design.

“We are seeing tremendous demand for virtual and mixed reality use cases, particularly as much of the world continues to work remotely,” said Toikkanen in a statement. “When you combine the photorealistic resolution and accurate, integrated eye tracking found in our devices with the broad software compatibility we offer, the possibilities for creating, training and running research in immersive environments are endless. With support from our growing group of investors, we look forward to scaling our operations and delivering the cutting-edge technology our customers need to transform the way they work.”

Varjo XR-1

Varjo’s headsets are known for their unique display design – called the Bionic Display. Its made up of two screens, a small 3000ppi display for fine, close up detail and a larger, lower-resolution ‘Context Screen’ to provide a wider field of view (FoV). The Varjo XR-1 Developer Edition – which is based on the original VR-1 – arrived earlier this year and retails for $9,995.

The Varjo VR-2 and VR-2 Pro both launched last year, updating the original VR headsets will better screens and features such as improved peripheral vision and colour consistency. Like all the company’s products, these are purely focused on the enterprise market, the Varjo VR-2 starts from $4,995 while the VR-2 Pro starts from $5,995. For further updates from Varjo, keep reading VRFocus.

Source: https://www.vrfocus.com/2020/08/enterprise-vr-hardware-specialist-varjo-raises-54-million-in-latest-funding-round/

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AR/VR

Varjo Raises $54M Financing to Support Its Retina-Quality VR/AR Headsets for Enterprise

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Varjo, the Helsinki, Finland-based creators of high pixel density VR/AR headsets for enterprise, today announced it’s closed a $54 million Series C funding round. The company says it will use the funds to accelerate the global expansion and development of its XR hardware and software products.

Investors include Tesi, NordicNinja, Swisscanto Invest by Zürcher Kantonalbank, Lifeline Ventures, Atomico, EQT Ventures and Volvo Cars Tech Fund.

The Series C financing brings the company’s overall total funds to $100 million to date.

In addition to the latest funding round, the company’s COO, Timo Toikkanen, will be leading Varjo as CEO. Co-founder and previous CEO, Niko Eiden, will be continuing as CXO and as a board member.

“We are seeing tremendous demand for virtual and mixed reality use cases, particularly as much of the world continues to work remotely,” said Toikkanen. “When you combine the photorealistic resolution and accurate, integrated eye tracking found in our devices with the broad software compatibility we offer, the possibilities for creating, training and running research in immersive environments are endless. With support from our growing group of investors, we look forward to scaling our operations and delivering the cutting-edge technology our customers need to transform the way they work.”

Varjo is known for its enterprise-level “human-eye resolution” VR/AR headsets, including the XR-1 Developer Edition, VR-2 and VR-2 Pro. Companies such as Volvo Cars, Boeing, Audi, and Siemens use Varjo headsets for industrial applications including training and simulation, design and engineering, and research and development.

Since its founding in 2016, Varjo has expanded its global operations and reseller network to over 40 countries in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific, with the launch of sales and direct shipping to markets such as Singapore, Israel, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/varjo-investment-54-m-xr-headset/

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AR/VR

Mozilla is Shuttering its XR Team Amidst Major Layoff, But ‘Hubs’ Will Continue

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Mozilla, the company behind Firefox, today announced that it’s laying off 250 employees, apparently shuttering the team responsible for most of its web-focused XR development. Hubs, the company’s web-based social VR app, will continue forward.

Mozilla has been a leading proponent for bringing XR experiences to the web. Five years ago the company published a guest article on Road to VR laying down their plans to make VR a “first class citizen on the web.”

In the intervening years the company’s XR team has created and contributed to a foundation for immersive experiences on the web with projects like A-Frame, WebVR & WebXR support in Firefox, WebXR Viewer on iOS, the Firefox Reality browser, Hubs, and more.

Hubs—perhaps the team’s most ambitious project to date—is an immersive social space that runs directly in the browser with no installation and has rich support for VR headsets while still being accessible through smartphone and PC browsers. Supporting Hubs is Spoke, a completely browser-based 3D modeling tool that lets anyone build custom spaces for Hubs.

Hubs (and possibly Spoke by extension) may turn out to be the only ones of the bunch to survive the shuttering of Mozilla’s XR team which has come as part of a layoff of some 250 of the company’s 1,000 or so employees.

The company announced the news today saying that “significant restructuring” needed to happen to “ensure financial stability over the long term.” In an internal message shared today with employees, the company said the layoffs were more than a short-term decision:

The changes we’re making today are focused on creating an organization that is best equipped to provide products and services that deliver on our mission and aim to make Mozilla Corporation sustainable, over the long term, in the COVID and post-COVID eras. We did not simply “trim.” We did not approach this as a stop-gap or a way to get us through the next few months. We looked at what Mozilla Corporation needs to do to be sustainable and have impact over time. Then we reshaped the organization to meet this, mapping the critical roles and skill sets required to deliver on this outcome.

According to the message, the restructuring will bring a “new product organization outside of Firefox that will both ship new products faster and develop new revenue streams.”

Initial projects handled by that group will include Hubs, the company says, among non-VR projects like Pocket, VPN, Web Assembly, and security & privacy products.

The company hasn’t offered much more in the way of detail, but an employee on Twitter said that the company is “closing down the XR team,” which suggests that most of the company’s immersive web projects beyond Hubs may not continue.

Another Mozilla employee urged on Twitter, “don’t write off Mozilla Hubs just yet. We’re still here, fighting for the open web,” and said that the company’s XR team has “put us in a position to succeed and we won’t let their work go to waste. Hubs was designed from the start to be resilient and we will get through this.”

Earlier this year Mozilla launched Hubs Cloud. While anyone can make and join rooms for free in Hubs, with Hubs Cloud, Mozilla is giving away the foundation of the platform itself so that organizations can use it as a basis for their own, self-hosted virtual spaces that can be customized and extended to their needs, making it a decentralized platform.

Source: https://www.roadtovr.com/mozilla-is-shuttering-its-xr-team-amidst-layoffs-but-hubs-will-continue/

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