A big week for VR and for 3D Artists

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Microsoft HoloLens by Mashable on Sketchfab

It has been a big week for VR. Microsoft revealed their plans for HoloLens, an augmented reality kit with some impressive features. Around the same time, Mozilla merged the VR branch of Firefox into the main build. (It used to be a separate product which tended to lag behind the regular release). Let’s look a little deeper at these two products and what this could mean for you as a 3D designer.

Microsoft HoloLens

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Microsoft HoloLens is a wearable augmented reality device. It runs applications that don’t just overlay, but actually interact with your environment. For example, take your Minecraft axe and smash a hole in your wall. Besides new display technology, I guess it also has 3D scanners on board to pull that off.

A unique feature is that the overlaid objects don’t ‘shine through’, but completely block the reality. Here’s what Gizmodo said after a hands-on:

But that’s when I noticed that I wasn’t just looking at some ghostly transparent representation of Mars superimposed on my vision. I was standing in a room filled with objects. Posters covering the walls. And yet somehow—without blocking my vision—the HoloLens was making those objects almost totally invisible.

You should look at the demo videos. I’m sure these are fake, but if this is the future, I’m in!

The HoloLens is still in heavy development. The hardware is bulky, but it’s expected to become a light, wearable device. Running on Windows 10, it will become an open platform for any developer or artist.

Firefox VR

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The Mozilla Foundation’s MozVR project aims to ‘make VR a first-class citizen of the web’. One of their first projects, Firefox VR, offers full support for the Oculus Rift. (It will support more brands in the future, but for now this was the most widely adopted device).

To give it a try, download a nightly build (which is basically an untested version that comes straight from the developers), and follow the instructions on MozVR.

We already support Oculus Rift and our own Sketchfab Cardboard, but they’re a bit of a hack. Using this integrated support it will become much, much easier to browse our entire content library on your Oculus. Sweet!

How does this affect you?

VR and augmented reality are hot right now. Once they hit mainstream you can count on an increased demand for 3D assets, so start brushing up your skills! If you’re already experimenting with VR, then take a look at our gallery of freely downloadable 3D models to add to your scenes!

I’m quite impressed with the demos that I’ve seen so far. I haven’t really seen a killer app yet though – what do you think will make VR and Augmented reality a must-have for everyone?

– Bart

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