Cinema 4D Creates 3D Content for Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift is one of the most important new innovations for the media sector. Students Nguyen (Kenji) Duong and Felix Droessler are tapping this market and are using Cinema 4D to create interactive content.

Infinite Travel is the title of the short film they created using Cinema 4D, in which the motion data of a dance performance is uniquely transformed into an animation. This unorthodox film is not only made special by the unique way in which it uses motion data but also by the way its presented: it was specially created for viewing on Oculus Rift displays. In times full of new innovations, Oculus Rift is preparing the next revolution. The head-mounted display promises to let users dive into interactive 3D worlds. The interactive nature stems from the freedom of movement users have to move their heads in a 3D environment.

As part of their course studies at the Hof university / Campus Münchberg, Kenji and Felix were asked by their professor to create an animation that was based on the Motion Bank project. The Motion Bank project, which was also initiated by Professor Zöllner, is an abstract depiction of digitized choreography, with the aim of producing a new view of movement. Kenji and Felix had to use the score from Motion Bank’s ‘No Time to Fly’ by Deborah Hay – and the resulting motion data – for their project. The team decided to portray the music’s mood in particular in the animation. In addition to the adaption for the Oculus Rift, the animation also had to be set up for stereoscopic rendering. This meant that the viewer would not only experience the freedom of movement that Oculus Rift offers but would also view the animation in 3D.

Converting the Motion Project’s tracking data was done using a plugin that was written specially for this project, which made it possible to transfer this data to objects and particle systems. In addition, XPresso and Thinking Particles were used to convert Motion Project data for the animation, which featured no human performers. With Infinite Travel, the user is taken on a journey while remaining in place. As the animation continues, the journey’s destinations emerge from the environment, which itself is constantly transforming and evolves from a medieval town to a nebulous world and ends in a steppe landscape with blue skies.

At 2 minutes, Kenji’s and Felix’ animation is quite short but considering the fact that the images’ 360° perspective and their stereoscopic set up with a position offset of 8 cm meant that a lot of rendering was involved: the images were not only large but also had to be rendered twice. Precise planning and maximum optimization of objects and materials were required to produce render times that could be realistically achieved with the resources at hand. Rendering was done with VRay. After Effects and special editing tools from the Oculus Rift developer pack were used to complete the film.

Infinite Travel is not only an interesting approach for letting viewers experience motion data in an unorthodox manner but is also an interesting experiment for the creation of new content using the Oculus Rift head mount display.

Infinite Travel directed Camera VR Version can be seen here.

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