Why virtual reality is perfect for creativity

Why virtual reality is perfect for creativity


In 1895 the Lumiere brothers had one of the very first movies, a train arriving at the station, and the legend that has grown up around that is that when the train came towards the audience on the screen the audience panicked and ran for the doors because they weren’t sure what they were seeing. And I think that’s where we are this past year with VR where people put it on, and hearing them react like “oh my God”. I’m sad to think that we’ll get used to it. Since we were cave painters, we’ve been using the tools of our time to tell stories, create art and invent new experiences. Even things like television and radio that have transformed our culture, none of those is as immediately impactful as putting on a VR headset. It gets all the way back to Renaissance painting they were just starting to figure out “how do we draw lines in perspective, and replicate the experience of human vision in a painting?” The thing that’s really the leap is trying to squeeze the 3D world into a 2D rectangle. That is the thing that is artificial, and we have become so accustomed of interpreting flat rectangles as three dimensions. What VR does is jump back to before that and the world of media that you can experience will now be 3D again. As we established in part one of this series VR right now is in its wild west days with lots of people experimenting and poking at this question of how to make compelling VR experiences. Now, in part two, I wanted to more deeply explore what’s VR’s relationship with creativity? What changes with this new medium, and what stays the same? If you give anyone a crayon and a piece of paper, they know what to do with it. And it feels really good, it’s really satisfying to just leave marks. What Tilt Brush is is it removes every single thing in the world except for this really satisfying mark on a page. It’s not until, like, you do a brush stroke and then walk around it that you really understand what’s happening. When I tried Tilt Brush, it felt really psychedelic. Almost like I was in a sensory deprivation chamber where I could draw whatever I wanted in the air around me. I could draw with stars and rainbows I even got to try out this experimental prototype made by the artist Tyler Heard, where you can draw something then wear it like a costume. And it moves with you like you’re this giant puppet. Gonna have to get some generic chicken dance music Just don’t cover your eyes or you won’t be able to see This is gonna be great. For real. I gotta get my butt covered. Yup, alright, let’s see what happens. I’m so curious. Ah, that’s still pretty great. I read about Tilt Brush coming from a chess prototype or something? Yeah. Can you tell that story? If you know Drew, he’ll put trail renderers on anything, and so when you moved the chess piece around, it left a big trail behind it, but he was moving it with his pen, so it’s like, “oh yeah, this is kinda cool too,” and then he took the chess board and turned it up like this tilted it up like this, you would say, The mystery. Yeah, and then drew like this, and was like “oh, this is really cool,” and then brought it over to my house the next day. To further develop Tilt Brush, they enlisted the help of some artists they were friends with, who told them what they liked about it, and what they didn’t. And so, we took, like, those experiences, and tried to just replicate it a whole bunch of times with the artists in residence program, reaching out to a lot of different artists from intentionally very different backgrounds. Sculpting, painting, illustration, writing, dancing. And the artists in residence program was really clear, every single person wanted the same things, and by like the 7th or 8th time you’ve seen, like, one of your heroes ask for the same thing, you’re just like “oh, man okay, we need to just, we need to get back to work.” Since its release, all kinds of amazing creations have been made using Tilt Brush. You can see Tilt Brush artwork displayed in galleries in the real world, and online. People have also used it to create music videos and video games, there’s even people that stick remote controls to drones and then draw in Tilt Brush that way. We came from games, and in games you really learn how magical it is to build these worlds. When you take the joy of building these worlds, and you give it to anyone, the look on their face is really what we’re going for and that’s what we want to get out of Tilt Brush. It’s just the smallest little taste of the next generation of creativity tools in VR. And it does seem like more of these tools will be emerging in the future. For example, just last week the VR team at Google launched this program Blocks, which is for easily building 3D objects, including me on the couch I usually sit on made by my friend Karen. I also played with this Daydream Labs prototype you see here, where you get to animate objects, just by playing with them, like you did as a little kid. And then there’s a program like Mind Show where you can animate characters by acting them out like a puppeteer. This isn’t a program that Google created but, Mind Show has partnered with YouTube spaces to bring this tool to creators. Like Vanessa from the channel Brain Craft She was using it to create a video about the nerve science of VR, so I tagged along to see her in action and help her make it. Hello. Just straight blogging in the wild west. Yeah, gotta fix my hair. Hello? Anyone home? I thought the wild west was supposed to be wild. I quite liked Mind Show because I feel like it’s actually something that I could use to animate, or to create a story or to do a little, like, narration, you know, for comedy or something like that So it’s like a different evolution of VR. Like there’s this emerging, you know, set of creation tools, that VR enables. You kind of think of like the tree of evolution and it’s like branched off. Right, yeah. We have these two branches of things now. Because while Mind Show is an example of using VR to tell a story in a virtual space. There’s also a lot of people interested in the question of How do we bring reality into the virtual? How do we capture our world and tell new stories about it? Two years ago YouTube first rolled out 360 Video, and now about half the time that people spend in VR is watching videos. Thanks to a variety of 360 cameras out there Including a couple of Jump cameras that Google’s partnered with GoPro and Need Technology to create. It’s not difficult to create 360 video, but to create 3D 360 video is much more difficult and you start needing solutions that look like this. It is the first camera to use the Jump assembler Now, a creator would capture with this camera, upload the footage from all 16 GoPro’s to the cloud, The cloud chews on that footage overnight and then it comes back with perfect stereo. Now, people are always like “why do I have to upload it to the cloud, why can’t I just ditch it on my computer?” The challenge is that, if you were doing it with just one processor, it’s roughly 3000 times real time, so it would take ages for your footage to stitch. But when we upload it to Google’s cloud, massively parallel processing can happen, and so within the space of a day, you can have perfectly stitched 3D, 360 video. When we capture a space using a rig what we’re really doing is presenting a portal for someone later to then inhabit that rig. You see it as a human first and then a rig, or a camera, second. So the artistry has to start with what they might see, what’s their field of view look like? And then craft how the world engages someone. A lot of what I try to figure out is stuff where film-making tries to do something in VR and VR’s like “nope, not going to work”. A traditional camera is a way for you to control what the audience sees. And to dictate, you are gonna look at this and then cut. You’re gonna look at this and you have to learn to be dancing with your audience a little bit more when you’re making spherical video. You have to subtly coerce them to look where you want them to look. I have to understand not just the stuff that I think might be interesting, but what a human being who first enters a world that they don’t understand might think is interesting. You’re just thinking about all the potential for story to exist. It will never be the same story twice. 360 video has demonstrated that it can be a powerful force for social change. Like the experience Clouds Over Sidra that came out in the last couple years. Clouds Over Sidra is a short documentary that follows a 12 year old refugee. UNICEF found that people pledged donations at twice the normal rate after watching it at a fundraiser. It makes you feel that you are there amongst these people who are suffering, and I think anything that makes you feel more like you’re in a place and can relate to the people who are there can be used for good. There was a guy, Vertov, who made a film called Man with a Movie Camera. He made a statement that said “This is a mechanical eye, that can run beside a horse or be under a train, and you can see the world unknown to you”. And now we’re in a stage where that eye is no longer out here, it’s reattached. And I think that’s what’s really special is it’s like kinda saying, “here are experiences unknown to you.” I’m gonna help you understand that, somehow. If someone was like sitting on the sidelines, haven’t tried VR yet, Not really sure if they should, is there anything you’d tell them? We’re at the very, very, very beginning of this massive transition, where instead of sitting down at our keyboards and our screens we now get to participate and interact with computers and technology, in just a totally different way. Very soon, anyone is going to be able to tell computers to do complex things without having to type at a keyboard. It’s hard to predict how it will unfold, all of the ingredients are there someone just needs to someone just needs to put it in the oven. I was waiting for the analogy. I was like “is he gonna go with stir, or bake?” And cut. Thanks for watching, this wraps up our two part series on VR, but if you’re curious for more, I have packed the video description with a lot of cool VR links, you should definitely check those out and meet Vanessa. Hi everyone. You met her earlier in the Mind Show section of this video but I wanted her to tell you about the video that she made. Yeah, I made a video called Your Brain in Virtual Reality which also uses Mind Show and it uses Nat, who does some amazing dancing in my video. So there will be a link down in the description as well It’s on the channel Brain Craft, be sure to check it out. Alright, bye. Bye. Come here, little brain. There you go. You’re heavy. Come here, baby.

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