When you hear the term “virtual reality,” the first thing that most likely pops into your head is a 90s flashback to clunky looking headgear and terrible graphics. But in 2015, virtual reality has come a very long way, peaking the curiosity and interest of several different companies, including those outside of the gaming and electronics world. So what has this to do with photography? Everything. TRG Reality has been listening to the chatter and watching the development of VR hardware and the burgeoning VR industry, such as Oculus and Morpheus, for some time now, and we know that it’s a short matter of time before we are using this technology in the studio. How, do you ask? We’re so glad you did.
We are always striving to push our capabilities and remain a leader in the industry, and we see an opportunity in doing that with a product like Oculus. Right now, the people fortunate enough to test one of these amazing products are using it not only in the gaming industry, but also the medical field, the military, retail, and so much more. They understand the great potential this immersive technology will have in training and sales, but these products will eventually be capable of so much more.
Right now, the biggest [key] for TRG is to use this technology as an extension of our own CG capabilities. Currently, we can create your product in CG and then show it to you in 2D. But what if we could create your product in a 3D environment and give you the ability to interact with it or see it in a realistic manner? It may seem impossible now, but you can believe that it will be a reality sooner rather than later.
The potential uses for products such as Oculus or Morpheus are seemingly endless, but the development of the software does need some work. Still, we love to imagine all of the possibilities. Athletes could transport themselves to Boston to run the marathon or hike the Appalachian Trail. People who are restricted in movement due to illness or age can experience traversing the Great Wall of China. Doctors and nurses could simulate high-risk surgeries for the purpose of low-risk training. Those unable to travel could find themselves sitting in a Parisian café or on a Brazilian beach. Ever want to know what it feels like to be on the field with the Cleveland Browns? Oculus could put you right on the 50-yard line in the very near future! Education, avionics, architecture, the list goes on and on. All of these industries and fields could greatly benefit from using virtual reality.
But what we think is the coolest possibility is how the Oculus software could (and most likely will) completely revolutionize the kitchen, bath, and home industry. Companies like Home Depot, La-Z-Boy, or Sherwin Williams could use this technology in-house for the sale of paint colors, home organization items, furniture sales, etc. Customers would no longer have to attempt to match colors based on tiny swatches, wonder if a particular shelving unit will be enough to help them tackle their clutter, or try to decide if that sofa is too big for their living room; they could enter into a CG space and view – neigh – experience all of the options firsthand. Masterbrand could have their clients use Oculus or Morpheus to select the cabinets that look best in their very own kitchen. We could create a rendering of the person’s home, which Masterbrand could upload into their chosen virtual reality simulator. Home construction companies could also use this technology, saving them time and money on building model homes when their clients could merely put on the glasses and step into all of the home models the builder has to offer. Kichler Lighting could allow their clients to step into a room and witness firsthand how the light from their various fixtures plays off of furniture items and walls created within a CG room.
It’s truly mind boggling to think about how virtual reality could potentially help so many different companies and industries. Though the technology is not exactly there yet, these capabilities are on the horizon, and you can bet that TRG will be there waiting, ready to dive in.