Those that follow the virtual reality (VR) industry closely will have likely heard of Los Angeles-based cloud graphics studio, OTOY, over the past few months. The company is currently working on a new VR experience based on the popular Batman animated series, and has recently announced work in live-streaming NHL games with the technology. This week sees OTOY take another major step in helping to advance cinematic VR, as the studio has announced a new production tool named OctaneVR that it intends to release for free in the near future.
OctaneVR is designed to help content creators overcome issues with the use of more traditional filmed and CGI media in VR, allowing them to render ‘hyper-realistic’ cinematic VR experiences. The system allows for easy exporting of files in a format that is compatible with both Oculus 360 Photos and Oculus 360 Videos, the popular media apps now available for the Gear VR smartphone-based head-mounted display (HMD). Navigable VR menus can also be created and then used through OTOY’s own ORBX Media Player app, which is also coming to Gear VR.
Crucially, this app is designed to worth with OctaneVR so that users can test their content as they change it. The software will support commercial VR content, including the aforementioned Batman and NHL projects that OTOY is currently working on. Other than Gear VR, the app is set to arrive on Microsoft’s HoloLens and HTML5 WebVR later this year.
“Virtual and augmented reality is enabling phenomenal new experiences in education, entertainment, and gaming, but we’re really only at the beginning of this movement,” said Jules Urbach, Founder and CEO of OTOY. “With OctaneVR we’re putting OTOY’s VR technology in the hands of everyone, at no cost, to see what incredible experiences can be created in this medium, once artists are limited only by their artistry and imagination. OctaneVR can be used to render film and CG content, on par with the commercial version of OctaneRender, but we are betting that once people get a glimpse of what can be done in VR, they are not going to want to see their content experiences any other way.”
OctaneVR will be released on PC, Mac and Linux in April, with the ORBX Media Player app going live on Gear VR at the same time. The production tool will be launched for free at first and remain that way for an unspecified amount of time. VRFocus has recently spoken to OTOY about its work with the NHL, in which Urbach stated that live-steamed VR is ‘definitely’ consumer viable today. The full interview with the CEO will be published later in the week.