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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.

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.

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

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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So you have an animation and simulation project, and want to scan people to get their high-resolution 3D meshes. At that point you have wide variety of different options based on different capture technologies, big bulky machines, hand-held devices and scanners that can take quite a while to obtain a scan. So what do you do when you don’t necessarily have a lot of permanent space, when you ideally want to obtain a scan in a single shot, and you want to do all that on a budget? Well, you build your own solution of course.

You visit your local camera vendor, and empty their basket of 64 Canon Powershot A1400 cameras, which should suffice to build 8 portable 3D scanning poles. Throw in a significant amount of USB cables, add some USB hubs, grab some wood and hardware from your local DIY store, add some bright LED strip for lighting, and you have all the ingredients necessary to build your own scanner.

 

Being the efficient people that we are, the idea of having to charge and replace the batteries for 64 individual cameras at each session did not sound like the most effective solution. So external power it is. Unfortunately the official adapter comes at a cost. And with us not being all that patient when it comes to seeing results of our labour, an ordering time of several weeks made us wonder “If we’re building the whole thing ourselves, surely we can make our own external power supplies as well”. And as soon as we have such thoughts, a “battery” assembly line springs to life, wiring up the wooden batteries and soldering the power-supply connectors.

The construction:

3D body scanner based on 64 canon A1400

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the software side the Canon Hack Development Kit (CHDK) allows us to control all 64 cameras using custom scripts. With all cameras pretty much synchronized, we don’t have to worry too much about minor movements of the scanned subject, as long as the shutter time is fairly short. The actual capture process has completed in the blink of an eye. Processing the captured images into a 3D mesh and a clean texture uses Agisoft PhotoScan software, and requires only minimal manual tweaks. For animation some additional cleanup and remeshing might be necessary in other software, but the raw results obtained are already very detailed and usable.

And there you have it. Eight very portable and storable scanning poles, allowing us to capture bodies or objects at a sufficiently high resolution and in a short time.

The first results:

 

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Sochi 2014 – the next Winter Olympic Games – is coming soon… For us, it was the opportunity to motion capture several winter sports! Indeed, we were contacted by Kenzan Technologies for the making of a 3D animation requiring different short captures of professional athletes. We spent a weekend in Zermatt to acquire the necessary data. The weather conditions were not on our side, -15° at the top, snow falls, zero visibility, not really the best conditions to go skiing with our Xsens system and a computer on the slopes! After experiencing a lot of issues, especially because of the cold, we were finally able to obtain good animation data during the weekend. We captured four athletes in the following disciplines: Nordic skiing, alpine skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboard.

Hockey motion capture with Xsens MVNSnowboard motion capture with Xsens MVNFreestyle skiing motion capture with Xsens MVN
 

Back in Geneva, we captured three additional people to complete our sample of winter sports: ice hockey, speed skating and bobsleigh. Now you are wondering… Is there a bobsleigh slope in Geneva? Well of course, there isn’t! But with some tricks, a good carpenter and a little practice, it is possible to produce the illusion… Note that for this last capture, it was not necessary to have a professional athlete!

Bobsleight motion capture with Xsens MVN

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