Animator’s Guide to Virtual Reality Podcast

There’s the classic and time honoured method of Agile development: release early and release often.

There’s also an understanding that you need to fail early and fail often, too, just to make sure you’re getting it right.

So when the time came to venture into VR, I applied my experience and curiosity into the project and jumped in with both feet. I knew it would be interesting, but I had no idea how fulfilling and satisfying this new venture could be.

I have a wonderful past professional life as a theatrical technician involved in lighting and sound. Just after my 18th birthday, I hung out at the EPCOT Center HR trailer (yes, it was a trailer before it was a proper office) and begged for a job at Disney. I got that job, learning lighting and sound from the best in the business. I then went on to study Media Arts at Ryerson University in Toronto. My focus was on computer animation and experimental imaging. Professor Rob Scott introduced me to the notion of a ‘hyperlink’. Very progressive at the time! Since then I’ve worked in broadcast TV, radio, podcasting, and the web.

My point is, I’ve had the pleasure of working with so many incredibly talented people over the years across a huge professional landscape. Teachers, directors, live event producers, photographers, designers, writers… the list goes on. It’s hard to get everyone on the same page.

But it seems with Virtual Reality we might finally have something in common.

Along with the core team at www.ardee.xyz, we created a podcast unlike any of the VR or animation podcasts out there now. Sure we discuss a bit of tech, we have to, but our focus has been from the start to acclimatize animators to thinking outside of the box, to go back to their core training and re-write a few of the rules.

As one example, as Gerry Paquette, Game Development Professor at Algonquin College remarked in a pre-interview for an episode of the podcast to be released, “The director’s role is diminished significantly. No longer do they dictate what can be seen and how. This freedom now falls into the hands of the viewer. How you view a VR experience will vary based on what you decide to look at and when. Experiences in VR become more interpretative like art.”

Interactive animation isn’t new. You could argue that’s a modern POV video game. But the narrative linear storytelling experience is going to change. Additionally, all animation roles will be changing, and perhaps taking their cues from theatre, live performance, improv, and more physical based gags that happen incidentally in a sort of living Rube Goldberg machine.

I have no idea!

But that’s what makes this podcast so very interesting. You can pick through our first few episodes on www.ardee.xyz, and of course I hope you subscribe. Send your feedback to @ardeexyz on Twitter.

Subscribe on iTunes.

We’ve already demystified a few misconceptions, and my hope is that with the clutter out of the way we’ll continue to see some great things happen with animators working in Virtual Reality.

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