OpenMovieVR: First ambiVR movie!

OpenMovieVR: First ambiVR movie!

More goodies are coming to OpenMovieVR!  ambiVR “Caminandes LLamigos” will be the first open movie ever with a movie event based environment change. This will switch your VR environment based on certain key scenes in the movie, a technology we like to call ambiVR (a term coined by none other than Ton Roosendaal) . In case you purchased the OpenCamcorder (which allows you to play your own movies), you can switch to any movie environment anytime once the camcorder is plugged in. So you have an even greater variety of scenes to watch your own movies in! We are planning to bring this to all the movies we already have in our app, and of course to all future open movies too.  Let it snow Caminandes takes place in a snowy environment. So of course we had to add a little bit of real-time snow to the scene, right? But don’t worry, it will stop when you play one of your own movies. :) Recenter Scene One common feature request was the ability to recenter the scene, in case you find a different chair rotation more comfortable and don’t want to constantly turn your neck in order to see the screen. You can find the recenter button within the player controls below the TV screen once a movie is playing.  So we hope you enjoy OMVR 2.1! In the meantime we continue to work on more content. There’s a lot on our todo list: BigBuckBunny, Sintel, Elephants Dream, etc…...
VRAIS Tools

VRAIS Tools

Even though we didn’t find the time recently to put as much love into our free VR viewer VRAIS as we would like to, we still use it in our daily VR workflow. It’s one of our main tools to quickly view and test our VR renderings internally. Once we need to collaborate with others, for instance when we need to have clients commenting on our renderings, we use revizapp.com, an interactive VR review tool from our colleagues Mikavaa. But that’s a different story… :) Point is, we wrote a Blender addon to make our lives easier: it’s a tool that helps you setup your scene for either equirectangular or for cubemap rendering, and, most importantly, let’s you create the cubemap stripe from inside Blender and upload the final result to vrais.io – including title, description and convergence. Installation To install the vrais tools, simply download the vrais_tools.py script to your computer and install it as a Blender Addon from your User Preferences: https://github.com/blendfx/blender/blob/master/vrais_tools.py The VRAIS Tools will appear in the Render section of the Properties editor in Blender. In order to be able to upload to vrais.io you first need to copy your private API key from your Account Settings on vrais.io. You find the Account Settings in the upper right corner when you’re logged in. That opens up the settings menu, where you’ll see a long and weird looking combination of letters. That’s your private API key. Then, back in Blender, open up the Addon Preferences and paste the key there. Usage This addon assumes that you use it from within your active scene. This is especially...
OpenMovieVR 2.0

OpenMovieVR 2.0

We just published Open Movie VR 2.0 for Google Cardboard: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.blendfx.omvr! What started as an experiment, as a virtual reality app playground, quickly became much bigger than we ever thought. We expected to get maybe a few hundred users, mainly from the Blender community, who might want to visit some of the sets from the open movies in VR. But soon we noticed that we got more and more users that never heard of Blender or the open movies at all. And apparently they loved it! Soon after we released the app for the Samsung Gear VR, we got tens of thousands of new users, meanwhile over 125.000. Awesome! We got a lot of positive feedback: Quotes “My favorite part is just how great the rooms look. Wish Netflix and Hulu could do something this polished, then I’d use those apps more. Keep up the work and excited for future videos.” Outstanding Details! So much love and work has gone into this. I can not wait for more content. Amazing graphics and don’t forget to look around! INCREDIBLE! Next level stuff! Can’t wait for more! Wish there were more movies. LOVE how the landscapes change! Please make more!!!!! Unexpected costs However, the unexpected success totally blew up our streaming costs. Because judging from the number of times people were downloading or streaming the four movies that we have online, they must have been watching them definitely more than once. And because we cannot stream Youtube in VR (for technical reasons), we had to stream from our own servers, and that started to actually cost some money. So we decided...
OpenMovieVR

OpenMovieVR

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to watch Cosmos Laundromat together with Victor, sitting on Frank’s island and watch the sunset? Or go to the “Oude Kerk”, one of the locations from Project Mango, and watch Tears of Steel there? Well, now you can do that! You just need a Google Cardboard and a smartphone (only Android for now, iOS coming later). We put together an App to watch three of the Blender Institute’s Open Movies in VR. But why?! Isn’t that totally pointless? Yes! It is! But still, it’s fun, at least we think so. Mobile VR Also, we wanted to put together a showcase for what we can do with mobile VR. Because currently that’s really our focus here at BlendFX. The Oculus and Vive etc. are certainly super cool, but the entrance barrier for the average user is quite high, whereas mobile VR doesn’t take you more than just a Google Cardboard and your smartphone. However, smartphones are still quite limited when it comes to graphics, especially if you want to do stereo, where the scene has to be rendered twice, one for each eye, with an acceptable framerate. So instead we render everything in Blender, using the spherical stereo option to create stereoscopic panorama spheres which we then import to Unity. That way we get the best visual quality possible without sacrificing too much performance. And because Unity is a game engine we have full control over the scene and can add a bit of extra 3D content that fits into the pre-rendered panorama. We did already some experiments with our first VR app...