The Swiss ICT Award rewards Swiss companies and individuals from the ICT industry that have distinguished themselves through outstanding achievements during the last 24 months. Artanim was selected among the five finalists for its virtual reality platform Real Virtuality. The jury was impressed by how the technology and software – developed completely in Switzerland – will allow for entirely new forms of storytelling. Aside from the entertainment industry, the VR platform is paving the way for a wide variety of applications, including museum applications, building and city tours, telepresence systems, and medical applications (anxiety therapy, rehabilitation, neurosciences, etc.).

Swiss ICT Award 2017   Swiss ICT Award 2017

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VR_I, a contemporary dance piece in immersive virtuality created in collaboration with the Swiss choreographer Gilles Jobin, was showcased at the Festival du Nouveau Cinéma that took place on October 4-15 in Montreal, Canada. For its world premiere, the piece was welcomed with great success and was awarded the Innovation Prize presented by Prim for the most innovative work dedicated to new platforms, as well as the FNC EXPLORE Performances/Installations People’s Choice Award presented by Viveport (HTC).

Back from Montreal, VR_I has been on tour and was showcased as a Swiss premiere at the Théâtre Forum Meyrin on October 12-15, then in Basel at HeK – House of electronics Arts on October 25-29 and at the commercial center of Meyrin on November 8-11. More dates coming in 2018!

VR_I VR_I @ TFM

VR_I @ HeK VR_I @ TFM

Photos © Cie Gilles Jobin

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We are very happy to announce that Dreamscape Immersive, a newly created VR entertainment company based in Los Angeles and Geneva will be commercializing our ground-breaking VR technology, Real Virtuality.  As you may remember, this technology gained quite some attention in the last couple years and was showcased at Sundance Film Festival New Frontier 2016 and Cannes Festival 2016.  Contrary to other static position VR systems, Real Virtuality allows users to truly feel immersed in a VR scene. They can walk around freely, interact with objects and other players, and truly experience worlds previously accessible only in their dreams!

Dreamscape Immersive will offer location based VR experiences. Its vision of the VR Multiplex is to create unique, irreproducible entertainment experiences that are vivid and compelling enough to bring consumers out of the house and into larger social and retail environments. For motion picture studios and other IP holders, Dreamscape provides another alternative for audiences to enjoy both original experiences and franchised properties. The first flagship VR Multiplex will be launched in Fall 2017 as part of the reopening of Westfield’s Century City Mall in Los Angeles.

Real Virtuality

Artanim’s Research Director, Caecilia Charbonnier and Technology Director, Sylvain Chagué, both co-founders of Dreamscape Immersive will serve as co-CTO’s of the newly created company. They will be joined by the third co-founder, Ronald Menzel as Chief Strategic Officer and two co-Chairmen: Walter Parkes, film producer on The Men in Black series, Gladiator, Minority Report, Catch Me If You Can and former studio head at DreamWorks Pictures and Kevin Wall, global live entertainment producer/entrepreneur (Madonna, Jay-Z, Rihanna and more). Bruce Vaughn, 25-year veteran of Disney Imagineering, who served as its Co-Executive Leader for seven years, will join as CEO.

Moreover, Dreamscape Immersive announced today the completion of its Series A financing. Initial investors include Bold Capital Partners, Warner Bros., 21st Century Fox, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), IMAX Coorporation, Westfield Coorporation, and Steven Spielberg. The venture also includes a stellar advisory group:  Yves Behar, renowned industrial designer, as Brand and Design Advisor; Hans Zimmer, Music Advisor; Dan Fellman, Past President, Domestic Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures, as Distribution Advisor; and Kevin Ratner, President, Forest City Residential West, Real Estate Advisor.

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In July 2016, the federal Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI) shared our vision that VR/AR technologies will drastically and rapidly transform industrial processes and that Switzerland must adopt a proactive stance to approach these disruptive technologies. They accepted our proposal to create a national thematic network in the domains of immersive technologies and virtual environments simulation, named Virtual Switzerland. The funding has initially been granted for the period 2017-2020 and is renewable.

 

 

Virtual Switzerland aims to spark ideas and foster synergies to grasp the full extent of virtual, augmented, and mixed realities. It means bringing together the academic and economic spheres around immersive technologies and linking R&D experts in Swiss universities with those in thriving companies, thereby promoting private as well as academic research laboratories or incubators. Four business sectors are targeted, which together encompass most of the Swiss economic landscape: medtech, architecture and construction, manufacturing, tourism and culture.

The Virtual Switzerland network was launched in January 2017. If you are working in the fields of VR/AR and 3D simulation, you may be interested in joining this network. To know more about the membership, as well as the activities proposed, please check here. You can also contact “info at virtualswitzerland.org” for more information.

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Cannes Festival 2016At the invitation of the Geneva International Film Festival Tous Ecrans, Real Virtuality was presented from May 11 to 14 at the Pavilion NEXT of Cannes Festival with the support of Pro Helvetia. A showcase was held on May 14 to present the project.

 

« Best VR installation at Cannes Festival » Dan Benzakein, Journalist, Wearable

 

Our VR installation was setup on the “Croisette”, just a few meters from the red carpet stairs! This was a great honor for us to participate to the most famous film festival in the world and this was a new opportunity after Sundance to gather feedback from the motion pictures industry and a great opportunity to make interesting contacts in the field.

 

Cannes Festival 2016   Real Virtuality at Cannes Festival 2016

More pictures of the showcase here.

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We are the winner of the 2016 Laval Virtual award in the category “3D Game and Entertainment” with our VR platform Real Virtuality! The team was at Laval during 5 days to demonstrate the system from March 23-27, 2017. More info here. Again, the VR platform was acclaimed in the newspaper:

« The immersion is so powerful and natural that we are immediately at ease in this virtual universe full of reality. »  Jean-Klébert Lauret, Journalist, Les Numériques

Laval Virtual Award 2016   Real Virtuality at Laval Virtual 2016

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Real Virtuality was selected at the 2016 Sundance’s New Frontier Festival that took place on January 21-31 in Park City, Salt Lake City, Utah. The festival is one of the world’s premiere places to debut new independent films and highlights the best in storytelling technology.

With the support of swissnex San Francisco and Pro Helvetia, Artanim showcased there a new VR scenario mixing real and virtual worlds. Users participated in a time machine experience where they were transported into different futuristic environments: a space station, Dark City and a cave.

The VR experience and the technology was incredibly well welcomed, as the following quotes can attest:

« The latest Real Virtuality experience at Sundance is an epic new level of advancement. It is as close as we can get to a holodeck for now. »  Jonathan Nafarrete, Journalist, VR Scout

« The mother lode of Sundance. The most daringly original VR presentation I’ve seen, “Real Virtuality” shows how big the medium can be » Steven Zeitchik, Journalist, Los Angeles Times

« What’s cooler than VR? Not much except maybe Real Virtuality by Artanim » James Finn, Executive Vice President, Marketing and Communication, 20th Century Fox

Several big names also tested our Real Virtuality system. Just to name one, Robert Redford, founder of Sundance characterized our experience as “Spectacular”!

Robert Redford Sundance 2016   Robert Redford Sundance 2016

Artanim Team at Sundance   Real Virtuality at Sundance 2016

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Artanim has just moved its offices in Meyrin located only minutes away from the city center and with easy access to the highway, the train station and the International Airport of Geneva. Artanim is now housed within a facility of 273 m2 with a capture stage twice bigger than before. The facility includes offices and a conference room, a sound/post-production studio and a wardrobe/make-up room with shower.

On December 15th, we inaugurated our new offices with our friends, colleagues and partners. For the occasion, we organized a real time dance performance using our Xsens suit in collaboration with the Cie Gilles Jobin (dancer: Susana Panadés Diaz).

Opening 2015   Opening 2015

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Real Virtuality was presented in Los Angeles at SIGGRAPH 2015, the leading conference on computer graphics and interactive techniques. Real Virtuality is a multi-user immersive platform combining a 3D environment – which can be seen through a VR headset – with a real life stage set. Users are tracked by a motion capture system allowing them to see their own bodies and move physically in the virtual environment.

The experience offered by Real Virtuality brings a once in a lifetime experience. Unlike other static position VR systems, Real Virtuality allows users to become immersed in a VR scene by walking, running, interacting with physical objects and meeting other people. Because user’s movement exactly match their avatars movements in the 3D environment and are streamed to the users with very low latency, there is no discomfort or interface required. The bodies of the users become the interface. The VR platform offers a “matrix-like” degree of immersion over a large area, up to hundreds of square meters:

« Humanity has essentially recreated, on the basest level, The Matrix » G. Clay Whittaker, Journalist, Popular Science

Siggraph 2015 Walking through a pharaoh tomb

The demo “Walking through a pharaoh’s tomb” created in collaboration with Kenzan was selected as one of the three finalists for the Immersive Realities (AR/VR) contest. Artanim’s team was in Los Angeles from August 9th to 13th to present the project with the support of Pro Helvetia. Watch our live presentation of Real Virtuality in front of thousands of geeks during the Real-time Live show:

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The Optitrack Insight VCS shoulder mounted

Artanim just added a new tool to its motion capture equipment: the Optitrack Insight VCS, a professional virtual camera system. From now on, everyone doing motion capture at Artanim will be able to step into the virtual set, preview or record real camera movement and find the best angles to view the current scene.

Virtual cinematography with Optitrack Insight VCS and our Vicon System

The motion capture data captured by our Vicon system is processed in real time in MotionBuilder and displayed on the camera monitor. The position of MotionBuilder’s virtual camera is updated by the position of the reflective markers on the camera rig. In addition, the camera operator can control several parameters such as the camera zoom, horizontal panning, etc. The rig itself is very flexible and can be modified to accommodate different shooting styles (shoulder-mounted, hand-held, etc.).

We can’t wait to use it in future motion capture sessions and show you some results. Meanwhile, you can have a look at our first tests in the following video.

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