Busy Bees in Overalls

Television and commercial advert specialists Taiyo Kikaku Co. Ltd and the VR pros at Hololabs Inc. teamed up to create a mixed reality application called HOLOBUILDER.

This application features little workers in overalls created in Cinema 4D. The application was presented at the Contents Tokyo Exhibition where visitors could see these virtual busy bees at work.

Taiyo Kikaku is always looking for new trends and technologies that makes content more interesting and entertaining for the viewer. With HOLOBUILDER™ they entered uncharted territory that gave them the opportunity to test the possibilities of mixed reality.

 

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The application was developed together with Hololab Inc. and is designed to enhance video or live footage with additional virtual elements to create a mixed reality. This extension of reality is primarily made up of 3D graphics which can, for example, be used to make technical manuals easier to understand – such as using a mobile phone’s camera to navigate around a car’s engine and highlighting items such as the oil dipstick, filler cap, radiator, etc. Taiyo Kikaku’s goal was to explain the basic concept and make its possible applications intuitive and easy to understand for potential customers.

The first thing they had to do was explain what augmented or mixed reality is, what it can look like and what can be done with it. Taiyo Kikaku’s senior director Ryo Ihara thought that this could best be done using humor. The demo app that he created used five simple cardboard panels with which the user could interact in the real and virtual worlds. When the user looks through the VR headset all they have to do is place a card on the table to trigger a swarm of virtual construction workers that pan out from a virtual start card to other cards on the table. On their way they avoid real-world obstacles and finally start building the objects as defined by the cards graphic. As soon as they complete their project the virtual characters jump for joy and the user can pick up the card along with the virtual object that was built and view it from different angles.

Thanks to MoGraph’s ease of use I was able to experiment a lot to perfect the construction process for each object


The individual objects and the animations were created in Cinema 4D, with heavy use of the MoGraph feature. “Thanks to MoGraph’s ease of use I was able to experiment a lot to perfect the construction process for each object,” explains Ryo Ihara. At the time, the team also had to make sure that the animations were kept relatively simple for export to Unity – a restriction that has since been removed in the current version of HOLOBUILDER™. “In my next HOLOBUILDER™ application I will definitely use more assets for even more interactivity. This first simplified demo version is designed to offer a preview of what HOLOBUILDERTM will offer and show the creative possibilities it has to offer for a wide range of projects,” Ryo Ihara continues.

Ryo Ihara’s miniature virtual construction crew is a precursor of the potential that this burgeoning technology has to offer together with Cinema 4D, Unity and HOLOBUILDER™ – and can also be the start of something big for other mixed reality concepts!

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