Raise your hand if you have a family member who uses VR every day. (article on AWN)
My 2017 VR Wish List is up on Animation World Network. Check it out!
The Beijing Film Academy has joined the Industry of Virtual Reality Alliance (IVRA), with International Animation & Virtual Reality Research Center Executive Director Kevin Geiger serving as the school’s IVRA council representative.
The IVRA was established by HTC and other leading enterprises and research institutes in the VR area, under the guidance of China’s Electronic Information Division of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. The IVRA aims to enhance the development of the VR ecosystem by promoting technological innovation, formulating industrial standards and bridging hardware, software, content, platforms and industrial applications.
Mr. Geiger noted: “HTC and their partners, in cooperation with the Chinese government, has provided a great service to the VR ecosystem in the form of the IVRA. As China’s first and foremost film school, the Beijing Film Academy is proud to serve on the IVRA council and to contribute to the evolution of immersive media.”
In the 2015 sci-fi film Ex Machina, Nathan Bateman, CEO of tech giant Blue Book, asks computer programmer Caleb Smith to evaluate a humanoid robot named Ava, who is imbued with artificial intelligence. The twist is that this is a “full disclosure” Turing Test. As opposed to Turing’s classic format – in which the subject of the test is hidden – Caleb must judge whether Ava possesses genuine consciousness, with the full knowledge that she is an artificial construct.
For the past couple decades, Western content professionals have generally displayed a patronizing attitude towards the Chinese entertainment industry and market, determined to “show the Chinese how it’s done.” I relocated to Beijing in 2008 with much the same mindset. However, the onset of the VR Era has resulted in a sea change, with foreign professionals astonished by the pace and penetration of China’s advances in virtual reality. China has truly become “The Wild Wild East” with respect to VR, the hottest battleground among global VR markets. Folks from the West who approach China with any pretensions soon find themselves… (full post on AWN)
Part One of “It’s the CONTENT, stupid” addressed the VR ecosystem’s current hardware-centric focus with the observation that nobody wants to “use VR”. People want to be entertained, to shop, to assemble their furniture, to find a good place for dinner, to talk to their family, to create things. The technology is a means to an end.
Despite a slew of VR activity across the board, there is still far more attention being paid to the bottles (hardware) than to the wine (content). Nevertheless, despite the general understanding that the wine is more precious than the bottles, no vintner is going to produce a wine that cannot be properly stored and transported. Similarly, VR content creators are dependent upon VR hardware for distribution and monetization, while VR hardware companies require an engaging stream of content for market actualization. The VR hardware/software/content equation is a true chicken/rooster/egg conundrum, with players in each sector creeping forward while calculating where to step and whose hand to hold.
There has indeed been a spike in content production, ranging from the efforts of major-player initiatives such as Google’s Spotlight Stories and Facebook’s Oculus Story Studio, through VC-funded startups such as Baobab Studios and Penrose Studios, to scrappy independent artists and eager students. No matter the size or strength of the team, all VR content creators eventually grapple with the same opportunities/challenges intrinsic to immersive media… (full post on AWN)
I’ll let you in on a dirty little secret: nobody wants to “use VR.” People want to be entertained, to shop, to assemble their furniture, to find a good place for dinner, to talk to their family, to create things. The technology is a means to an end. Transformative, perhaps, but a utility nonetheless. Fifteen years ago at Walt Disney Feature Animation, I was reminding our software engineers of this as we worked to develop tools for the traditional animators transitioning to CGI: “Nobody wants to use the computer for the sake of using a computer. People want to write, to draw, to animate, to edit. Our goal is to enable and evolve those activities.” Ironically, by reminding yourself that the technology is not the main event, you better position the technology to become ubiquitous.
VR hardware engineers and software developers must be mindful of this principle if they wish this third wave of VR endeavor to be the one that makes it over the wall. Aside from a vanguard of the few, most ordinary people don’t really care about VR, and… (full post on AWN)