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VR Foundations.

So, this is new for me. I typically work in black and white chemical photography. It's not the end goal, more of a vehicle for recording an emotional performance. I am no Ansel Adams.

I got interested on the power of virtual reality from watching a DIY show, which showed homeowners the possibility of a home remodel by displaying a digital rendering of potential changes. The transformative emotional impact of this experience left a mark on me. The worlds the "contestants" were presented with were digital and man made, but instantly the architectural possibilities hit hard emotionally but with little to no pause from their brains to accept the experience as reality.

Making art for me has always been about transferring and experience or emotion. I usually do this by presenting my work as an installation. The process is often physically taxing, and you have to be considerate of the environmental position it's experienced in. So, my consideration is, can I use VR to create a transformative emotive experience and will it be more successful achieving my goals than my usual mode of presenting?

But I know little to nothing. So I started on LinkedIn Learning and found a great video course on VR Foundations by Craig Barr. Here are my takeaways:

Virtual reality affects us psychologically, through the emulation of reality, leveraging perception. Reality is a combination of sensory data and how we process it.

Technologically, virtual reality is a digital environment that can be explored and experienced by a person.

Successful virtual reality experiences exist within these parameters; it has to be believable, interactive, explorable and immersive.

Content is created by mixing real world and digital 3D materials.

3D content can be created by using a game engine. Real world material could be 360/180º content. Real world content has to use appropriate scale and proportion.

Non immersive VR existed from a fixed point, user movement does not affect viewing position. Fully immersive VR moves with the user, features surround/spatial audio and could be interacted with via controllers.

VR equipment consisted of a wearable head mounted display (HMD) and stereo audio equipment. A HMD tracks viewer head movement and position, whilst 360 audio gives a sense of space. Haptic gloves exist that give touch response, but some consumer HMDs like the Oculus quest come with controllers that give haptic feedback.

Some headsets contain foveate rendering which renders content within a headset by tracking pupil movement. The benefit of foveate rendering is that it only needs to render specific portions of graphics at one time based on where the eye is focusing, meaning that you can present better quality graphics. High performance computers can also be used in conjunction with a HMD which produces smoother content, preventing VR sickness.

Journalism and entertainment can use VR transport a user to real situations they may never experience. 360 VR experiences can surround them in a location, making them feel like they are part of the story.

Development considerations include deciding what content you want to include in a real world scale. Lighting needs to be simple, and dim, this is the least distracting and the most comfortable. Content should be placed 0.75-35m away from the viewer.

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