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Thread: Virtual Reality for Artists

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    Virtual Reality for Artists

    There are currently several Companys working on 'bringing gaming to the next level' by developing virtual reality devices such as the Oculus Rift or Sony's Morpheus.

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    Morpheus.

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    View through the Oculus Rift.

    While these devices seem to make for an unique experience playing video games with them, i was wondering if they could be useful for aspiring artists as well. And i am not talking about some abstract kind of painting in 3D space but simply for observing reference material.
    When looking at photographs of famous buildings like the colosseum or the akropolis what we see is a 2D projection which shows only a very small portion of the actual structure. And if the picture is taken from further away it loses the impressive scale of the monument and it is reduced to something resembling a miniature.

    With a virtual reality device and a accurate 3D model you could wander through the buildings and observe them from close distance as well as from far away and get a pretty good impression of the actual size and the relation of the individual parts to each other.
    I think these gadgets could be used for more than blowing away virtual terrorists, aliens and alien terrorists.

    So, what are your thoughts on this matter?
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    I think what you're describing will be a great experience for just about anyone really, not just artists. It's like google views/street view on steroids- I like to browse there and visit strange places, or places that are too far away to actually visit. It helps to make things more real, more tangible than "non-interactive" photos for instance.

    The thing is though that even if you're looking at a 3D environment in which you can navigate, it's just an illusion nevertheless. What you're actually seeing is still 2D, or, more precisely, 2D images rendered from a 3D model.

    So, yes, I think it'll be awesome and will help broaden our horizons & explore and experience stuff we are not be able to experience in that way today. But it'll never, ever be comparable to life drawing/ looking at actual, real things with your own eyes. Translating the actual visual field onto paper and observing how light and colour behave in real life will only be possible in real life- at least until we can actually tap into our brains Matrix-style and create "digital realities".
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiggeraz View Post
    So, what are your thoughts on this matter?
    I can see some advantages but I'm more worried about some glaring problems.

    1. Keep in mind that anything created for these devices is somebody else's art. Aside from the obvious issues dealing with copyright, when working from someone else's creation there will always be influences from that artist, no matter how close to the original they get. You don't want to go fooling yourself into thinking that working from someone else's 3D representation of something is the same as looking at the actual thing itself. And even with modern hi-tech computers there are technical limitations that require those artists to have more influence (for example in how they might indicate details when facing a limiting poly-count. For that reason it might be better with these things to be working from a rougher 3D block-in than a precise model, as it will force you to be the artist to work creatively to make up for what is missing, not the creator of the environment that you are looking at.

    2. With the goggles on you can't see your sketch pad/cintiq/computer screen. With them off you can't see what you are drawing from. When working from a photo (or even better, real life) you can have both at the same time. Any attempt at bringing a drawing program into a VR device like occulus rift is going to feel detatched and gimmicky. It will be much easier to run around taking screen grabs and then tracing later, and the temptation to do so defeats a lot of the advantages of being able to have a closer-to-life experience to work from.

    3. Nothing can replace drawing from life. Nothing. Not even VR. I realize that suburbia might be dull compared to the coliseum or some crumbling Gothic castle, but you will learn more from sitting in the food court of a shopping mall and trying to replicate what you see into linear perspective than you will from a VR headset. As long as that's the case you don't need any of the worlds that you would get from a VR program to learn, and once you have learned you will be able to create what you want without the VR as well. It will continue to be that way until we have full on Star Trek style hollodecks.

    edit: looks like most of what I said was already posted before I finished typing.
    Last edited by Peter Coene; August 29th, 2014 at 01:03 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Coene View Post
    I can see some advantages but I'm more worried about some glaring problems.

    1. Keep in mind that anything created for these devices is somebody else's art. Aside from the obvious issues dealing with copyright, when working from someone else's creation there will always be influences from that artist, no matter how close to the original they get. You don't want to go fooling yourself into thinking that working from someone else's 3D representation of something is the same as looking at the actual thing itself. And even with modern hi-tech computers there are technical limitations that require those artists to have more influence (for example in how they might indicate details when facing a limiting poly-count. For that reason it might be better with these things to be working from a rougher 3D block-in than a precise model, as it will force you to be the artist to work creatively to make up for what is missing, not the creator of the environment that you are looking at.

    2. With the goggles on you can't see your sketch pad/cintiq/computer screen. With them off you can't see what you are drawing from. When working from a photo (or even better, real life) you can have both at the same time. Any attempt at bringing a drawing program into a VR device like occulus rift is going to feel detatched and gimmicky. It will be much easier to run around taking screen grabs and then tracing later, and the temptation to do so defeats a lot of the advantages of being able to have a closer-to-life experience to work from.

    3. Nothing can replace drawing from life. Nothing. Not even VR. I realize that suburbia might be dull compared to the coliseum or some crumbling Gothic castle, but you will learn more from sitting in the food court of a shopping mall and trying to replicate what you see into linear perspective than you will from a VR headset. As long as that's the case you don't need any of the worlds that you would get from a VR program to learn, and once you have learned you will be able to create what you want without the VR as well. It will continue to be that way until we have full on Star Trek style hollodecks.
    Regarding 1 & 2, my general thought was not to work directly from observation when wearing the glasses but more to get the general idea of how certain buildings are constructed and look from various angles. As you mentioned it would be very jerky trying to draw something on a pad when you can't even see your pen. It would most likely be more like visiting the desired building, just without the travel expenses, and returning to the drawing board and applying the impressions.

    And i think this concept certainly isn't limited to motionless subjects like the mentioned monuments. Complicated machinery would be an interesting topic to take a look at as well. Imagine visiting an accurate virtual reflection of a factory for mechanical parts for example, this would probably give a better understanding of how every interconnected part of a huge machine works than looking at pictures of the subject. Plus it would be no big deal to make parts translucent to get a good look of the inner life of the machine.

    Of course this won't replace drawing from life. How could it? Drawing with a huge chunk of technology in front of your eyes will probably be as much fun as it sounds.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiggeraz View Post
    Of course this won't replace drawing from life. How could it? Drawing with a huge chunk of technology in front of your eyes will probably be as much fun as it sounds.
    I distinctly remember someone posting in here a few months ago with that very idea- using oculus rift for virtual life drawing
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tiggeraz View Post
    Regarding 1 & 2, my general thought was not to work directly from observation when wearing the glasses but more to get the general idea of how certain buildings are constructed and look from various angles. As you mentioned it would be very jerky trying to draw something on a pad when you can't even see your pen. It would most likely be more like visiting the desired building, just without the travel expenses, and returning to the drawing board and applying the impressions.

    And i think this concept certainly isn't limited to motionless subjects like the mentioned monuments. Complicated machinery would be an interesting topic to take a look at as well. Imagine visiting an accurate virtual reflection of a factory for mechanical parts for example, this would probably give a better understanding of how every interconnected part of a huge machine works than looking at pictures of the subject. Plus it would be no big deal to make parts translucent to get a good look of the inner life of the machine.

    Of course this won't replace drawing from life. How could it? Drawing with a huge chunk of technology in front of your eyes will probably be as much fun as it sounds.
    Ah, misunderstood the intent. That's true to some extent. Keep in mind though that a strong imagination can turn anything into that same feeling. I've seen artists take what they saw looking up at the insides of mall food courts and transform the same perspective into the interior of Gothic cathedrals. Most downtown areas in any town that is more than 100 years old will sport buildings that are copying aspects of the architecture of ancient monuments. The trick is being able to see what is right in front of your face.
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    One day the world will be 3d scanned. Then using something like google glass, may make it possible to see and draw at the same time. Me? I'll be looking for the glitches.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Spot View Post
    One day the world will be 3d scanned. Then using something like google glass, may make it possible to see and draw at the same time. Me? I'll be looking for the glitches.
    deja vu?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Benedikt View Post
    I distinctly remember someone posting in here a few months ago with that very idea- using oculus rift for virtual life drawing
    Indeed. Deja vu.

    Why people insist on introducing layers of layers of hurdles between the artist and the canvas, is beyond me. "Everything is better with technology" attitude, perhaps. I, for one, would love to remove any and all layers of indirection between me and my work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Black Spot View Post
    One day the world will be 3d scanned. Then using something like google glass, may make it possible to see and draw at the same time. Me? I'll be looking for the glitches.
    Quote Originally Posted by arenhaus View Post
    Indeed. Deja vu.
    Found your glitch in the Matrix already, Black Spot!
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    Ooh! Don't tempt me Peter.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Coene View Post
    Found your glitch in the Matrix already, Black Spot!
    Quote Originally Posted by Black Spot View Post
    Ooh! Don't tempt me Peter.
    didn't realize I was tempting you... also don't know why the word "glitch" became a link. I was just making a joke about your comment about the world being 3D mapped and looking for glitches sounded like "the matrix," (because deja vu in the matrix often indicates a glitch which means tampering by the computers) and then someone (not just me) said something about dejavu related to another comment... it just seemed like perfect coincidence...

    edit: Ok, that is really weird; I did not write up a link or anything, but apparently in that one example the word "glitch" became a link to a thread for bug reports. Did a mod do that to mess with my head?
    Last edited by Peter Coene; August 30th, 2014 at 12:32 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Coene View Post
    didn't realize I was tempting you... also don't know why the word "glitch" became a link. I was just making a joke about your comment about the world being 3D mapped and looking for glitches sounded like "the matrix," (because deja vu in the matrix often indicates a glitch which means tampering by the computers) and then someone (not just me) said something about dejavu related to another comment... it just seemed like perfect coincidence...

    edit: Ok, that is really weird; I did not write up a link or anything, but apparently in that one example the word "glitch" became a link to a thread for bug reports. Did a mod do that to mess with my head?
    It's probably just a glitch.
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