A Whole New World of Virtual Reality

A whole new world. A new fantastic point of view. No one to tell us 'no' or where to go - or say we're only dreaming.

I love the song "A Whole New World" from Disney's Aladdin (can you tell I have young children?). The idea of opening someone's eyes to something new has always driven me – I am the tour guide on every family vacation, and I'm typically your guide to new features and workflows on Cineversity.com.

I'm especially excited to introduce users to Virtual Reality, because it's a great opportunity to immerse people in the fantastic worlds created in Cinema 4D. We hear a lot about Virtual Reality for Games, but I think the practical uses in advertising, architecture, medical illustration and education are perhaps even more exciting. VR is unique because the viewer is fully immersed in the environment, forced to give their undivided attention to the experience. There's few opportunities today that can build that type of brand engagement or so captivate individuals.

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There's two main types of Virtual Reality experiences – interactive and pre-rendered VR. With interactive VR you'll export Cinema 4D content to a game engine and the VR experience is rendered in real time and delivered via a dedicated application. This allows you to build in a lot of interactivity, but you have to limit your geometry and rendering based on the abilities of the game engine and the output hardware. Pre-rendered VR sacrifices a lot of the interactivity, but it allows you to render and treat your 3D content like any other video source. Pre-rendered VR can be viewed by anyone on YouTube or Facebook. Both types of content can be viewed on any of the various VR platforms – Google Cardboard, GearVR, Oculus Rift or HTC Vive – although the higher-end platforms are more suited to interactive VR.

Of course the key for Cinema 4D artists is understanding the possibilities and workflow for Virtual Reality content. With so many VR platforms coming out in 2016, I think we'll see a huge demand for content – especially from brands that want to appear cutting-edge. Cineversity will be producing lots of tutorials and tools this year to help you succeed in Virtual Reality, an effort that actually started last December with the release of my CV-VRCam plugin and an introductory series on VR video. This month we've published a series on interactive VR using Unity and the Oculus Rift, another series on VR video, and we’ll soon update CV-VRCam with more features suggested by our panel of VR experts.

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I hope you'll join me on this magic carpet ride, and discover how virtual reality can provide a new canvas for your 3D creations and new opportunities for your 3D business. Cineversity Premium Membership is included with every Cinema 4D MSA, so many of you already have a ticket to ride. If you have an MSA and do not already have Cineversity access, contact your Cinema 4D distributor.

Rick Barrett

Maxon US VP of Operations, Cineversity Instructor

PS: Make sure to stop by the Maxon booth at GDC San Francisco this month, or at NAB in April to chat more about VR and pick up your own Cinema 4D edition of Google Cardboard.