OZYMANDIAS: Experimenting with EbSynth and Unreal Engine

Using EbSynth and Unreal, Virtuals has released a new short film directed by Alvaro Lamarche-Toloza, adapted from the classic poem “Ozymandias” written by Percy Bysshe Shelley in 1817.

This short film was created to showcase an experimental pipeline, using the Unreal Engine and a new tool, EbSynth in order to achieve a unique look and to drastically speed up the production of 3D animation. The goal is to flesh out new efficient and accessible workflows to further expand the boundaries of real-time filmmaking.

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Virtual production for cinematographers: Part I, how to get started?

We sat down with Luc Delamare and Kevin Stewart, two DPs from LA who made the jump into virtual production, gathering their insights and discussing the ties between traditional cinematography and real-time filmmaking. Below is the first section of a two-part interview focusing on their introduction to virtual production.

If you’re interested in getting into virtual production and the Unreal Engine yourself, make sure to read our own introduction to real-time filmmaking.

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Virtuals presented its vision of Creative Media Tech in ITU ‘s annual WSIS Forum

As a media and industry collective in the crossroad between creative media and technology, Virtuals was invited by ITU (The International Telecommunication Union) to present its vision around the democratisation of content creation with the help of the latest cutting edge technology.

During the conference, the founders of Virtuals, Alvaro Lamarche-Toloza and Yingzi YUAN explained the changes brought by real-time technology to the art and business of film production as well as immersive and interactive experiences.

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Virtuals’ coverage of NewImages Festival 2020 “without borders”

Entirely dedicated to the digital and virtual worlds (VR, AR, mixed reality, mapping, binaural
sound), NewImages Festival will celebrate digital and immersive creation for five days, for
an edition without borders!
With this event, reinvented to be both on site and online, Forum des images stands up to
the challenge presented by the current pandemic. The challenge to offer a rich program, for
the public as much as for the professionals. It answers by inviting you to discover some of
the most remarkable immersive experiences – coming from the United States or Taiwan,
from the United Kingdom or Brazil, from France, Russia, Canada, or even China; with the
participation of renowned creators and professionals invited to decrypt the new writings
during the Industry Days, and by holding the XR Financing Market 100% online (coproduction market).

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Virtuals at SIGGRAPH 2020

Virtuals will be (virtually) present at the virtual edition of SIGGRAPH 2020! Do come say hi if you’re participating as well.

We will also be participating in the Virtual Beings BoF on August 24th, 10-11 am PDT to present a talk on the value of virtual beings. Do not hesitate to drop by or to contact us during SIGGRAPH to have a chat.

More info on the Virtual Beings BoF: https://vr.gree.net/lab/live/vbw/vbw2020/

See you there!

Real-time filmmaking: what can a complete beginner create with Unreal?

Still from le Dormeur du val, a real-time short made in Unreal Engine by Alvaro Lamarche-Toloza

A quiet revolution is taking place among cinematographers and VFX professionals. Real-time filmmaking is quickly taking center stage, as demonstrated by the numerous demos and write-ups about the use of Unreal and Unity in production; last spring, the first (virtual) edition of the Real-Time Conference gathered professionals from all over the world to discuss the future of the tech. People are enthusiastic, to say the least, some calling it a game changer for a number of areas, from film production to live events.

Laymen may have a hard time realizing the potential of real-time rendering and more importantly of the game engines that are behind this push. After all it’s all still CGI content, so what is so different about it?

To answer this question I decided to get my hands dirty, although I have no technical background whatsoever in 3D software. Here’s an interesting test: what could a complete beginner like me achieve with the Unreal Engine? The answer is a short film I created called Le Dormeur du val, but we’ll get back to it later.

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Digital humans, virtual humans, digital doubles… what’s the difference?

A breakdown of the portrait of Scott Eaton by Ian Spriggs, 3D artists specialized in digital humans

Digital – or virtual – humans are everywhere. They are among the major trends coming up in 2020 and are sure to decisively reshape human-machine interactions with the help of emerging and booming technologies like AI and real-time graphics.

Industry specialist Mike Seymour held a Ted Talk in 2018 in which he envisioned a future where conversational human interactions were at the heart of technology. This shift to more natural and intuitive interfaces would not only be a welcome improvement but also a necessity for many elderly, disabled, or struggling members of a society in dire need of human contact.

“Faces are brilliant communicators of emotion, and emotion is powerful. I want to give the world a better face by putting a face on technology. But we have to be aware that faces can be very powerful, influential, emotional and persuasive.”

Mike Seymour

Consequently, a lot of hype is forming up in the tech and startup world, but with hype comes confusion: buzzwords are thrown around unwittingly as onlookers mix digital humans with virtual assistants, virtual influencers with deepfakes or even robots. So what are the differences between concepts like virtual humans, digital humans or digital doubles, and can we establish a clear map of what they mean where they stand?

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Virtuals: exploring the future of virtual experiences

Japanese Virtual Human Saya by Telyuka

Hello world! We’re excited to launch Virtuals, a collective created to analyze the emergence of virtual experiences and their effect on the virtualization of society.

Virtuals will be taking a closer look at the economic and technological aspects of virtual reality, virtual production and virtual beings, bringing together a community of stakeholders who will share their knowledge and experience, creating new opportunities to collaborate and further revolutionize the entertainment industry all over the world.

1. What is a virtual experience?

Virtual experiences seek to emulate and blend with real life experiences like face to face conversations or traditional film-making techniques through innovative hardware and software. Virtualization is a phenomenon that tends to mix the real and virtual world together, slowly changing the daily life of creators, audiences and consumers who gradually and naturally spend more and more time online, interacting with virtual avatars, AR or VR experiences. A VTuber like Kizuna AI is  a good example of this trend, replicating the experience of interacting with a streamer or youtuber (including chats, donations and gifts) through an animated avatar.

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Virtual celebrities: in-depth analysis of the tech and business behind the next generation of idols

Virtual celebs Imma, Kizuna AI and Lil Miquela

Virtual celebrities, virtual influencers, VTubers… Computer-generated celebrities have entered mainstream media, striking prestigious collaborations with luxury brands. Many have speculated about their true nature and impact on the world of entertainment, but very few speak about what’s really going on under the hood. What exactly is a virtual celebrity, how are they created and what business model do they follow?

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