What's it all about ?
Virtual Reality Environments are the ultimate 3D experience. Transport yourself into fully immersive, interactive digital worlds for entertainment, business, education and training. Whilst this technology is nothing new (the basics have been around since Victorian times) over the last few years it’s gone from a niche and costly platform to a consumer focused industry. Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus in March 2014 and the release of HTC’s Vive in 2016 signalled the dawn of a new era in the world of VR. For a modest investment in hardware you can dazzle and delight friends, customers and peers like never before.
There are different types of experience all bundled under the VR badge. We’re going to outline the main two, highlighting the benefits and what it takes to create content:
360 Video VR
is commonly viewed on your phone inside an inexpensive headset, Samsung’s Gear VR and Google’s Cardboard are well know and widely available. The best way to explain it is to think of yourself watching a film, but not just watching – you’re inside the film. You can look around 360 degrees and you really do get the sensation you are there in amongst the action.
The content is normally created by utilising specialist 360 camera(s) to capture the footage, then with a bit of clever post production you can load it onto your phone and immerse yourself in the video. The BBC employed this technique for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
There are a few key things that make this technique great – firstly it costs a fraction (time & money) of creating complete 3D virtual environments normally associated with the Rift & Vive. Secondly because you can use a smartphone to view it, and most of us these days have them, you don’t need to spend much if anything on hardware. Finally because it’s a video and will play on most devices you can distribute it easily across the world via the internet.
Although it’s really cool, it’s nowhere near as interactive or immersive as a full virtual environment on one of the more expensive headsets however it is a practical and affordable way to wow clients and customers. If you would like to find out more, just give us a shout!
Virtual Environments (true VR)
are an end product of the processes described in the Design & Visualisation section of this site. When you have a complete 3D scene, accurately modelled with real world lighting and materials we can optimise this for a real time rendering engine (usually a game engine).
Once published you can explore the environment on a PC, like playing a traditional computer game or you can load it into a VR headset and transport yourself inside with complete freedom of movement. We can build custom interactivity depending on your requirements – open doors, drawers, pick things up, change the colour or texture of surfaces, move things around etc.
Although this technique requires more time and effort than a 360 video the end result is truly mind blowing. Check out some people’s reactions here (these are extreme reactions and not too common!!). Perfect for simulations, training, education, entertainment, customising things like store layouts, new kitchens or homes for example.
So if you already have 3D data or you’re interested in creating some to publish as a complete virtual environment just get in touch – we can help with content creation, hardware & software and installations.