Types of Visualization
We offer "virtual photography" (which is mass production of images by computers), "interactive 3D", "VR" and "AR" solutions.
Virtual photography is the process of creating images that look real but they are made completely by computer graphics via the act of rendering. We use our Hollywood Visual Effects experience in order to make perfect looking images for our clients.
Cheaper than real photography by a factor of 1000x.
Prototyping - creating images prior to the manufacture of the actual products.
Fidelity of virtual photos is high, looks even better than reality.
“Virtual photography” results can be perfect because we create these images ahead of time, utilizing as much computer power as necessary.
Virtual photos are also easier to adopt by ecommerce sellers because they are already used to putting images on their websites. We give them the ability to have images for every possible combination, which was not financially feasible in the past.
Goes Great with Augmented Reality
Virtual Photography is optimally combined with Augmented Reality. Thus, you have beautiful pictures of the highest quality on the website and then you can jump into an in-room experience with augmented reality.
Because of the pre-rendered nature of Virtual Photography, not all forms of personalization or extreme configurability can be achieved, such as room planning by arranging multiple pieces of configurable furniture together. If the customer requires this type of configuration experience, we recommend using Interactive 3D instead because it dynamically generates the images live, thus it is more flexible.
Interactive 3D means when there is a 3D item rendering in the webpage with which you can interact. For example, there is an "interactive 3D" watch a bit down this page, try moving it around. Interactive 3D in a web page is made possible by a technology called WebGL. Interactive 3D is a form of computer graphics and the process of making each image is called rendering.
Interactive 3D, because it has to generate a series of images per second on the consumer device, cannot be quite as high fidelity as the “virtual photography” results.
Great for Personalization and Room Planning
Interactive 3D is great when you want to create a completely personal and unique result. You can add personal touches and they show up instantly with the live interactive 3D rendering. If you are room planning, such as arranging multiple pieces of furniture in a room, interactive 3D lets you see the results immediately.
There are scene complexity limits imposed on interactive 3D because all of the 3D data has to be downloaded to the client device. This data is necessarily larger than a final image from our “virtual photography” solution.
Augmented Reality (AR)
Augmented reality (AR) is when you use your camera and see the world with some additions like glasses or furniture layered on top. The layering on top process is called "augmenting", thus "augmented reality."
Augmented reality is easy to adopt because:
- It works on just about any smartphone.
- Google Android and Apple iOS now come with it built in.
- You are not isolating yourself from everyone else.
Combining Augmented Reality with Virtual Photography is often the best approach. This allows for perfect visuals on the webpage, and the ability to see the object in a room.
Augmented Reality, like Interactive 3D, has more limits on it than “virtual photography” because it has to be downloaded to a client device (which can take time) and rendered in real-time (which imposes limitations of visual fidelity and complexity.) Regardless, individual items can still be of sufficient quality to be impressive to a client.
Great for Furniture
The easiest and most value use of augmented reality at the moment is furniture. Augmented reality is perfect to figure out if your new sofa will fit in your living room and look great against your existing wall paint and carpet.
The first mainstream successful AR game was Pokemon Go.
Virtual Try Ons
The emerging use for augmented reality is trying on things like makeup, jewelry, glasses, hats and soon clothing. These are more challenging than just putting something on the floor, but it is growing with some niches already seeing widespread adoption.
In the makeup industry, there is already a very dominant player, YouCam, with more than 100 million app installs and partnerships with many different makeup companies. There are many in-store deployments of the technology.
Interesting Fact: USDZ is Inefficient
Apple has adopted Pixar’s USDZ format for its AR efforts. While USDZ is a great format and well designed, it isn’t intended for fast transfer over the internet. Rather it is intended for use inside of an animation or visual effects studio where quality is paramount and file sizes / transfer times do not matter. Because it favors visual quality over size, USDZ files tend on average to be larger than glTF file sizes, the competing AR format. It was a strategic mistake on Apple’s part to adopt USDZ. Unfortunately, the USDZ file is the only format supported for native AR experience on iOS thus we have to use it.
Virtual Reality (VR)
Virtual reality is when you put on goggles and you no longer see any of the real world. You are in a "virtual" space that is not reality.
Virtual reality has not been that successful for a number of reasons:
- most people do not currently have headsets/goggles. VR requires specialized equipment that is hard to carry around.
- to get around that some companies that provide VR goggles in their stores. But people do not like putting things on their faces that others have put on their faces -- it feels unhygienic.
- Some people do not want to put on the goggles because it can mess up foundation/makeup.
- The VR user, once they have on the goggles, is isolated from the world around them, and this loss of control or potential for not being aware of one's true surrounds, especially in public is prohibitive to adoption.
Will Oculus Quest allow VR to go Mainstream?
There is a brand new VR headset released just in May called the Oculus Quest. It is uniquely cost effective and convenient because it utilizes inside out tracking and does not require a companion computer to use. It is quite impressive from a technology standpoint. It may be a game changer than allows for VR to go mainstream. But it is currently too early to tell. We should have sales numbers and adoption trend lines by the end of 2019 to know if the Oculus Quest changes things.