Monday, March 12, 2018

The Future of Pre-production

That title may seem a bit presumptuous to those who have yet to sketch in VR, but for those of us on the other side, there's no going back.  For pre-production on films, game cinematics, and even amusement park rides and theatrical productions, there are so many benefits to creating this way.

Hope's Blade - vr storyboards from joe daniels on Vimeo.

Hope's Blade is an animated piece I made in October of 2017 for a presentation I gave at DreamWorks Animation, called VR for Storytellers.  I gave myself a little over a week to come up with an idea and draw, shoot, and edit it, completely done in an app called AnimVR.  It was such a blast to work this way, and amazing to work with the devs as they began to build a toolset for recording real-time cameras for editing in a timeline.  Check out more on AnimVR at

Visualising stories in VR has a number of huge benefits over traditional storyboarding and previs pipelines, allowing artists to solve difficult spatial choreography in intuitive ways.  And I'm not just talking about projects that are meant to be output for VR.  Every production can benefit from this workflow.

Since these story sketches are inherently 3D and can be viewed in the round, you can change your cameras on the fly without having to re-draw.  These dimensional story drawings can also be used to better inform the work of environmental and character modelers in a traditional Film or Game production pipeline, and concept artists can also feed art into these storyboards -- making for more useful collaboration.  And the aspect that is often most surprising to people is that even at this early point in the development of VR art tools, storyboarding this way takes basically the same amount of time as traditional methods.

If you're interested in seeing what people are doing with animation in VR, head over to the Virtual Animation facebook group.  Prepare to be inspired :)

Concept Art from "Hope's Blade"

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