Seeing VR as a Creative Tool changed my perspective

It has been a while since I wrote about VR. The last time I mentioned is was in a post where I said I was moving away from this new medium after being immersed in it for over a year.

The reason for my departure from Head Mounted Displays was that after my first VR experiences, the wow-factor had quickly—and totally—evaporated. I could wow newcomers with it, but my Oculus Rift DK2 and first-gen Samsung Gear VR became dust catchers on a shelf before I sold them in the end of 2015 (with a surprisingly high profit).

 

two-guys-with-many-vr-headsets-drinking-coffee
Back in 2015, when the future looked bleak…

 

More specifically, the reason I stopped caring about VR was the lack of interesting content. None of the “VR experiences” I tried—passive ones, games and certainly not 360° videos—could convince me that this medium had a future beyond Wii-like first-time wows and corporate trade shows.

I still think this is true today. None of the available or announced VR content is going to make it the next thing every consumer wants—certainly not at the current price and probably not even at any price. A $2 Google Cardboard viewer will be fun enough for kids for years to come.

There will never will be a mass market for VR as an entertainment technology: consumers aren’t going to watch full sports event with it, watch movies with it or play full games with it.

This made me believe that VR technology has no future at all. I wasn’t going to spend $2000 of my hard-earned money on a HMD and a overpowered gaming PC.

But then I tried Tilt Brush—a Virtual Reality 3D painting application acquired by Google in April—for 5 minutes. And ordered an HTC Vive and a Gaming PC (Alienware Aurora with Nvidia GTX 1070) the same day.

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Free 3D Scanning Apps Comparison: 123D Catch vs. Trnio vs. Scann3D vs. Seene

3 Free 3D Scanning Apps that don’t require extra Hardware

Photogrammetry Apps Comparison:
123D Catch vs. Trnio vs. Scann3D vs. Seene

 

3D Scanners are getting more mobile as we speak. The Structure Scanner I reviewed recently can be attached to an iPhone 6 with a special case.  And Matter and Form has developed a 3D Scanning add-on for Android and iOS smartphones—the Bevel—that will be available soon. And this summer, you can buy the first phone (allright, phablet) made by Lenovo with Google’s depth sensing technology—Project Tango—integrated.

It makes sense: we’re already capturing the world around us in 2D with our smartphone cameras while our dedicated devices lay in a drawer somewhere. So it’s natural that we want to capture 3D wherever and whenever we want and share it directly online.

But while depth sensors are indeed getting small enough to be pocketable soon, pure-software photogrammetry solutions that can generate 3D objects from regular 2D photos are getting smarter and faster, too. So I started asking myself:

do consumers actually need dedicated 3D capturing hardware on their phones if software can do the trick?

To test the current state of software-only mobile 3D scanning, I tested four different smartphone photogrammetry apps: 123D Catch, Trnio, Scann3D & Seene on the same object under the same circumstances.

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Google Cardboard Virtual Reality 360° Video VHS Tape

The 360° VR Paradox — Why 360° video is both a problem and a necessity for the success of Virtual Reality.

Every time a new technology is introduced two things happen: people try to describe it with existing terminology and they will try to use it for existing things. It’s an important phenomenon, because it helps the general public to understand new technology and lowers the barrier to start using it.

The downside is that it can stand in the way of demonstrating the full potential of a new technology. When it comes to Virtual Reality, trying to introduce it to consumers by focusing too much on something that’s currently popular—video—might result in them not seeing the actual storytelling potential of this emerging technology.

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3D Printing Filament Guide

? 3D Printing Filament Guide 2017: ABS vs PLA vs many materials


Updated February 2017


 

The next wave in the prosumer FFF 3D printing evolution isn’t about 3D printers, it’s about the plastic filament used to make 3D prints. This is a comprehensive list of available filament, plus a guide with tips on how to choose the right filament for your next creative project.

While a new prosumer 3D Printer enters the market almost every day and the printing techniques is still advancing with each generation, most are actually perfecting existing concepts, especially with Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) 3D Printers (also known as FDM printers). They’re getting better at printing more accurately at higher speeds, but the increments are getting smaller. This is not because the technique has reached it technical limits, but it’s chemical limits. The problem that withholds FFF printers to get a lot faster is that after Fusing the Filament to it’s molten state and extruding it accurately, it has to be cooled down to get solid again. Most new FFF Printers have active coolers to help with this, but there’s a limit to how hard you can blow air onto something before it will deform instead of cool—or sound like a jet engine.

When you’ve accepted that 3D Printing takes time, you can open your eyes to getting creative with different kinds of filament. And that’s where innovations are going a lot faster right now! In this post I will write about the many special kinds of 3D Printing Filament that are on the market today. Some require a 3D printer with special features to print well, but many actually work well in almost every FFF printer, maybe even yours!

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