“Discovering Near-Field VR: Stop Motion with a Touch of Light-Fields and a Dash of Redirection”

  • ©Mark T. Bolas

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    Discovering Near-Field VR: Stop Motion with a Touch of Light-Fields and a Dash of Redirection

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    This new type of surrealistically compelling virtual reality uses light-field rendering and hand-crafted stop-motion puppets to create “near-field VR”. Currently, the most popular approaches for VR rendering include polygonal environments created with game engines and 360-degree spherical cameras to capture live video, which were not originally designed to leverage complex visual cues when users laterally shift viewpoints, manually interact with models, and employ stereoscopy.

    To capitalize on the unique affordances that make VR so compelling, a USC research team developed a new pipeline that leverages image-based rendering techniques for capturing and rendering stop-motion animations that are rich with microgeometry and detailed surfaces. The pipeline is computationally lightweight and integrated within the Unity3D game engine, so artists can quickly create lush models that can be plugged into a traditional virtual environment running in real time. This viscerally engaging experience is further enhanced by a redirected-walking toolkit, which enables exploration of the entire menagerie in a small physical space like a living room, or even on stage in front of hundreds of computer graphics enthusiasts.


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