Suck it up buttercup, you’re in dev space now….
“Well you said you wanted to learn unity and working in unity changes your category. you are no longer a mere 360 shooter and video editor, you are a dev.” When the tutorials are for older builds or the newest build introduces a whole host of bugs I have ZERO idea how to work with, that is considered “par for the course”
Lets back up a second… Its been over a year since I did any substantial updating of this blog and I feel like I’ve kinda missed out on telling you all so much!
You’ve heard about the Virtual Salish See (and beyond) project hopefully (either here or on FB/IG/Twitter/book signing) where I’m taking 50 oculus Go headsets into the community and hoping to grow a grassroots army of advocates for our precious emerald sea by way of FULL IMMERSION. Yup, 360 videos, narration, avatar educator, the whole shebang.
Enjoy a mock up created with Structure Scanner itseez3D scanned avatar and a motion sequence cobbled poorly together from Mixamo. Narration from “sea otters vs climate change” literature by Michael Werner and read by me.
Then there was the SIXR cinematic challenge where we prototyped a make human avatar educator connected to a motion capture sequence from the amazing folks at MoCap Now (huge thanks!) talking about eelgrass beds as the nursery of puget sound which really got me hungry for more motion capture and more volumetric.
Serendipitously a couple years ago when I was fleshing out the idea of VSS, I was tapped for an interview that would become a short chapter in a now released book “We Are Puget Sound” from Mountaineers Books and Braided River Publishing. My short chapter was on polluted stormwater runoff and, yup, you guessed it, Virtual Reality as a conduit for connection between our world and the vast marine seascape. Venture beyond that thin molecular division, that thin green line and experience the wonders that our oceans have to offer without expensive flights, heavy gear or even getting wet! People protect what they love, but they must know it to love it….
The book has subsequently been released and now we are in the campaign portion of things so that means that Virtual Salish See is getting out and about beyond just my small community gatherings. This past month alone saw presentations at both Patagonia store downtown and the regional Unity offices in Bellevue.
Currently I’m running the Pixvana app for device management, with 50 headsets (49 go and 1 quest) I’ve maxed out my pro account. I use Pixvana for two reasons, the ability to ‘push’ content (so I don’t have to ever side load to 50 headsets again in my life) and the ability to make interactivity without having to build it all out in Unity.
OK, where was I going with all that? Don’t worry, I almost forgot too…
Right… So everything I’ve describe here sounds all well and good. Making 360 videos, found a work around for making them interactive… But that just wasn’t enough. I’ve been dreaming of creating interactive volumetric 360 experiences that incorporates the best of all worlds, live action 360, photogrammetry, volumetric avatar, etc… Pixvana got me close but there is currently no way to turn on/off actual video layers (meaning I can’t just have my avatar clickable if you decide you want to watch a video with narration). I want fish counts, I want artifacts highlighted for helping train marine archeologists… I want to build a diving experience with user generated photogrammetry levels so that it is a platform for teams around the world who are doing amazing photogrammetry work to showcase their efforts and a way that divers can experience these amazing locations before they every visit in person. I’ve been waiting and waiting for ‘the right connections’ ‘the right people’ ‘the funding’ etc… and honestly, waiting sucks. Waiting is a dream sapper.
I don’t expect to get to the same caliber I am compared to flat video or even 360/stereo180 video overnight. I know there are people who specialize in each portion of what I’m tinkering with and are truly elites. I fully understand the concept of jack of all (trades), master of none. BUT, all that said, this avatar stuff, this motion capture stuff, and even the rudimentary 3d modeling that I’m doing to work on the photorealistic scanned avatar is SO MUCH FUN! Unity is a bit less fun to me, but its hackable. I can, through iterative process, usually get it to do vaguely what was intended, hindered more often than not by my own ignorance, but with each little success, each repeated sequence, I’m getting better (or at least don’t have to go back and re-read the manual or re watch the tutorial EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
Anyhooo… that’s all for now folks, thank you for tuning in, I’m going to start writing about my actual learning experience next, the tutorials that worked for me being on an Apple computer and surrounded by apple products and programs tends to make things a hair more challenging in this space.