As described in the video above Virtual Reality (VR) is a fully immersive, three-dimensional computer simulated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. It provides the audience with the feeling of being a part of the virtual environment, giving the viewer the opportunity to preform actions and manipulate objects.
To experience Virtual Reality you use head mounted displays (HMD) which through the use of sensors allows you to look 360 degrees around your virtual environment with the turn of your head. There are several devices that can be used to experience VR, some of these include: Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Sony Playstation VR, Google Cardboard, Samsung’s Gear VR, and Zeiss’s VR One.
There are two main methods used to create VR content:
1 taking a 360 degree immersive video
2Making a 3D animation.
360 degree videos are are useful to capture footage of real world events such as concerts and awards ceremonies. 360-degree spherical cameras are used to create 360 degree videos. The best known options are 360Heroes or RICOH THETA. However people also use panoramic photos and video taken on smart phones to create 360 degree content. Although it is the easier and cheaper way to create VR, viewers are stuck in the same position and only able to pivot on the spot.
3D animation enables viewers to freely look and move around the space they are in just like they would in the real world. The easiest method to create 3D animation is to use Structure Sensor camera which you attach to a tablet. Structure Sensor works like a scanner capturing things from the real world and creating 3D models of it. Another way to create 3D VR experiences is through engines like Unity or Unreal Engine.
There are many applications for virtual reality, the most obvious is gaming. Virtual reality has been used in the Military, Education, Healthcare Entertainment, Fashion, Heritage, Business, Engineering and Construction, Sport, Media, Telecommunications and film. Some examples of how it has been applied in these situations include:
Military- Virtual reality has been used for training purposes. It has been used to train soldiers in adapting and reacting to combat or other dangerous situations without putting them at serious risk or injury. Scenarios include flight, battlefield and vehicle simulation and media training.
Heritage– the use of virtual reality in museums and historical settings to create virtual walkthroughs and make the communication of information exciting. The Smithsonian offers an online Panoramic Virtual Tour, as do the Louvre.
Media– including radio, television, music film, books and art. An animator Mackenzie Cauley transformed Vincent van Gogh’s work The Night Café into a 3D environment.
For my digital artefact i am going to teach myself how to use Unreal Engine in order to create some basic form of virtual reality. I will teach myself through watching youtube tutorials and utilising Unreal Engine 4’s Learn section. My artefact will consist of a blog series which describes my attempts at learning how to create Virtual Reality. I will outline my both successes and my failures as i progress with my project. I will potentially add youtube videos showcasing my attempts (most likely with lots of laughing at myself). I have yet to decide what type of virtual reality project i will attempt to create, if you have any suggestions let me know in the comments. My hopes with this project is to firstly acquire a new skill and creative outlet, and secondly to provide a helpful guide for others looking to learn VR of what to and what not to do in the development of VR. Examples of what can be done using Unreal Engine can be found on their Instagram @UnrealEngine