[Editor's Note: Peter Thor is the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Vicator, a Sweden-based company that specializes in developing leading-edge Virtual Reality (VR) applications for mobile devices and Head Mounted Displays (HMD) such as Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear VR and Oculus Rift. Peter is a member of the Matterport User Group Forum.] We invited Peter to create VR experiences with some of our Matterport 3D models and write about it.]
Photorealism and computer generated images have come a long way in the past 10 years. At Vicator, we prototype the use of Mobile VR and Desktop VR as an enabler to engage customers in unique interactive experiences. Recently we have been exploring the use of 3D depth scanned models in Virtual Reality settings – in this particular case, models captured with the Matterport Pro 3D Camera.
Lately we were handed a set of Matterport models, courtesy of We Get Around Chief Photographer Dan Smigrod. We started playing around with adaping the models for the Virtual Reality platform. Our goal was to see if it was possible to create immersive Virtual Reality applications based on the 3D depth scanned Matterport models.
Today (15 April 2015), there exists no automatic push-of-a-button to convert a Matterport 3D model directly to commercially available Virtual Reality Head Mounted Displays.
[Editor's note: Also today, Matterport did a soft launch of Matterport VR Showcase Beta viewable on Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus. See this Matterport User Group Forum thread for the Matterport video announcement and discussions.}
We used Unity 5 3D gaming engine software as our development platform and we were able to convert the models after some post-processing, adaptions and reduction of the total amount ot data.
The mesh captured by the Matterport Pro 3D Camera scanning process can be big and there are limitations in Unity in the amount of triangles a mesh can contain. We had to work around this limitation. Next step was to add some atmospheric elements such as illumination and lighting.
Next came the addition of collision detection with the floor and walls followed by implementation of the Oculus Rift Character controller and camera rig. The results are promising.
After this we approached another Matterport 3D model captured by Dan titled Before View: Bathroom-Bedroom Renovation. This 3D model includes a master bedroom, a bathroom, a smaller toilet and two closets.
The amount of data contained in this model was more suitable to be able to be converted and run on a mobile device (Samsung Gear VR using a Galaxy Note 4 and Google Cardboard using a Nexus 5). These devices are much less powered than today's high-end PC's. We successfully created versions for both of these devices and include this Youtube video from the Gear VR version in this post.
It is obvious to say that customers will be consuming digital models in an even more novel and highly immersive mode in the near future.
Desktop and mobile devices are becoming increasingly powerful; thus paving way for more detailed graphics in the specific application. When the novel graphics are coupled with audio and interactive elements, such as a dynamic outdoor environment or performing changes to the indoor light atmosphere simulating a nights (even though the capture
session was done at daytime): a multitude of oppurtunities emerge.
As a teaser of how different 3D Virtual Reality models can be blended together, we've included a ”portal” to a Matterport model positioned on the living room table in the house ”Baldakinen” which has been designed from the ground up with the help of Virtual Reality. This YouTube video is included in this post.
By using Virtual Reality as a design for architectural exploration, it enables inhabitants to immerse themselves in the house before anything has been built in a more novel way than mere 2D drawings. It has been shown that choices regarding room sizes and wall arrangements can be envisoned and experienced more intensly in Virtual Reality than on the sketch board.
[Editor's Note: To contact Peter Thor or for help with Vicator Virtual Reality solutions such as creation of Virtual Reality Applications, please visit Vicator.com.]
- We Get Around Blog (19 March 2015) The Arrival of Virtual Reality Journalism
- Matterport Blog (20 January 2015) Matterport VR Showcase App Demo Available Now on Gear VR
- We Get Around Blog (9 January 2015) Holodeck: Matterport 3D + Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus
- Matterport User Group Forum – Today (15 April 2015) Matterport did a soft launch of Matterport VR Showcase Beta viewable on Samsung Gear VR powered by Oculus. See this Matterport User Group Forum thread for the Matterport video announcement and discussions