Steve Gacconier, CEO and CCD of Janimation Gives His Take on Virtual Reality
Virtual reality hits you hard, bro.
No one would blame you if you’re already tired of the hype surrounding virtual reality. From breathless cover stories in tech and business mags to television spots featuring headwear-sporting senior citizens, the buzz has reached a pitch that some might liken to fingernails on a chalkboard. The problem, of course, is that while the hype may indeed be hyperbolic, it’s also true. From entertainment to education to scientific research to advertising, the possible applications for virtual reality are literally endless.
As hardware and software has finally caught up with the demands that VR places on both sides of the tech equation, the major industry players have all dived in head first. (Except Apple, of course, but they prefer trying to be best to being first.) From Google Cardboard and Samsung phones (which is really more 3D viewing than true VR) to the bona fide, immersive, otherworldly experiences of tethered headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, VR is ready for prime time.
And so is Janimation. Because why would I be writing this if we weren’t?
For the past 25 years, Janimation has been creating and navigating 3D worlds for commercials, video games and big-budget “major motion picture events.” But while our artists have been able to explore their own creations in true three-dimensional space, you, the viewing public, have not. And that’s why we’re so excited about the current generation of VR technology – it’s finally at a tipping point where folks outside the nerd-o-sphere can use it, enjoy it and embrace it.
Think back to when you first saw a high definition TV (I was at DDB Dallas watching a Texas Rangers game). I bet you remember exactly what was on the screen because the technology – the flat panel, the size, the resolution – was so different than anything you’d experienced before. Immersive VR amplifies that first-time experience a hundred fold.
Seriously. When we demo our own VR work, the most common response is a more common version of “blessed feces!” Followed closely by “I’ve never seen anything like this.” Because they haven’t.
But why am I telling you all this? Because you need to know. Even more than you need to know about the new sticker pack on Snapchat. Regular video isn’t going away – just like print didn’t go extinct as so many predicted – but the future belongs to VR. You will see a Star Trek-style holodeck in your lifetime.
Does this all sound expensive? Well, it is. At least for now. Development of a virtual world and the stories that take place inside it takes months. Game companies experienced in building these worlds typically take two to three years to get to market. Of course, VR experiences will vary in complexity and scope – just like every other type of production – but at this point, nothing stands in your way that time and money can’t solve.
Currently, the Janimation team will take on just one VR project at a time. Because while the results look like magic, the production is very resource-heavy. It takes a full team of experienced artists and technicians to bring these worlds to life and create a satisfying story that the user controls.
Okay, that’s great, but couldn’t I have just saved everyone a tl;dr and posted a link to a sweet, sweet demo? Well, no. Because watching a video of VR is like trying to experience driving by playing the old Atari game Pole Position. You really do need to visit our studio, strap in and take it for a spin yourself. Which you’re welcome to do anytime.
Still not a believer? Then re-read the previous paragraph and give me a call.
So in case you skipped all the way down here looking for a summary, it’s this: Janimation is now taking on large-scale VR projects. This is not a beta. Nothing like a real experience to prove the virtual kind is legit.
We are not experimenting with your stuff. We’re tested, ready and able to help you create the next wave of immersive experiences for your audience.
P.S. We still do all the things you’ve come to expect from us – live production, 3D and 2D animation, VFX, commercials, assorted shenanigans, etc.
As always, the latest work is at Janimation.com