It's official! Paper work complete! But why I hear you ask? There are numerous reasons behind this change, which I will mention in a minute, but I first wanted to say that fundamentally nothing is changing.
Quite a headline isn't it? It is both bold, and quite infuriating! What are the negatives of 3D printing? Is it all doom and gloom?
The headline actually comes from an article on the Architectural Review website, fully titled 3D Printing Will Destroy The World Unless it Tackles the Issue of Materiality. Please go ahead and read the article. In a nutshell, the article essentially accuses 3D printing of being environmentally unfriendly, slow and generally pointless.
The first issue the article raises is that 3D printing is both time and resource intensive, compared to traditional manufacturing. Speed is very relative when looking at 3D printing. Yes the printer may "print at a snails pace", but this is a very naive argument. I know of no other process where I can manufacture something to the same quality as a desktop 3D printer in the time it takes to 3D print an object. No tooling, middle men, and no transportation is required, so that argument is flawed. For mass produced items, currently a 3D printer is going to be slower when mas producing items. However in the future there will be locally based 3D printing farms, able to produce 1000s of items in an hour, and do I believe this will happen.
Miniature 3D printed in 2 hours.
The second issue in the article argues further negatives of 3D printing, stating that 3D printing largely uses oil based plastics to produce the 3D prints. The article is correct, you can use oil based plastics, however plant based plastics are just as easily sourced, and most 3D printers can use either type of plastic. PLA plastic, derived from corn starch, is one such plastic.
Power consumption is also hinted at as a negatives of 3D printing, but the article has no data to back this up. But let's look at the obvious arguments here. 3D printing uses electricity, which may appear at first to environmentally unfriendly. But the production of electricity is becoming evermore sourced from renewable and eco friendly sources. Then there's distribution to consider. Transportation is eliminated when 3D printed parts are printed on site. This alone could be considered very environmentally unfriendly. Formula 1, renowned for pushing advances in technology, has its self openly stated that 3D printing is the future of F1 . Formula 1 teams see manufacturing by 3D printing at the race circuit as a key advantage in both speed and time.
Ready for the rubbish dump?
The final arguments for the negatives of 3D printing from the article revolve around the impact which accessible, cheap desktop 3D printers have on the environment, sustainability and society as a whole. We've already mentioned the false claims made with regards to the environmentally friendliness of 3D printing, so by claiming that 3D prints will simply clutter our rubbish dumps, is rather unfounded.
Recycling failed prints into filament for 3D printers is one area of development to boost the eco credentials of 3D printing. So perhaps ideas such as this could actually reduce landfill waste?
The sustainability of 3D printing is perhaps one area which will develop and become more focused in years to come. Sustainability is a huge focus for society in general. 3D printing will become more sustainable and responsible as the technology advances.
The final argument in the article looks at how society could embrace 3D printing. Will 3D printing move beyond 3D printing novelty items to produce useful and desirable items? Hobbyists may well be using 3D printing to create novelty items. But why do people do this? Intrigue, fun and experimentation would be my guess. Eventually we will develop ideas and processes to ultimately produce useful and desirable items. I believe we're at the first step of 3D printing. Having fun and creating pointless, novelty items is all part of the process. People need to familiarise themselves with 3D printing. They need to make errors, break things, but smile at the same time. We should focus on the positives of 3D printing. Talk about how 3D printing saved a child, gave a duck a leg, or simply how it could put a smile on your face!
If you're a gamer, virtual reality guru, or just want a glimpse of just how immersive virtual reality will be, then spend a minute and watch this 360 Virtual Reality Chair...
I'm excited by tech like this; for me it seems to offer a lot of solutions for many issues is virtual reality.
Firstly, many folks complain of motion sickness when using the virtual reality headsets. Theoretically a virtual reality experience is so immersive that the users brain is tricked into believing what it sees. At the same time the users brain has little or no connection between the physical and virtual worlds.
For example, in a virtual world the user can turn a corner, but they don't physically move. Users may then experience motion sickness. The virtual reality chair's solution is to physically turn the user 360. The chair also features pedals so the user can control speed distance and orientation with their feet. Both of these features link the physical user to the virtual world.
There are VR treadmills (check out this video for more info on virtual reality treadmills), which allow the user to physically walk. They look impressive, but in my opinion are perhaps a step too far for the home user. However these could be very useful for training simulations and serious gaming where it's important to mimic real life as close as possible.
For the average user, a 360 virtual reality chair may be an ideal solution. Standing can be tiring, and for virtual reality to become mainstream the tech needs to be as easy and comfortable to use as possible.
The chair could be used for various genres of virtual reality, such as driving simulations. But also let's not forget that the majority of users are use to sitting when gaming. Users may eventually become accustom to standing, however right now sitting would be the obvious solution.
Without doubt the 360 virtual reality chair has a future. The chair may solve issues with motion sickness which is a massive plus. The chair is ideal for virtual gaming in many genres. Add a steering-wheel or a joystick and the chair could give amazing virtual reality experiences.
Users can buy the chair for only $599. A virtual reality set-up with a high end headset and PC isn't cheap, so adding a chair isn't unthinkable.
This 360 virtual reality chair may be the first step towards a complete VR home experience. In years to come the technology will advance, and inevitably these chairs will be fitted with hydraulics, heat, wind and maybe even odors! Imagine that!
For now check out www.rotovr.com to learn more. Get in touch with your ideas and thoughts, and maybe even some predictions for the future!
Viver Green Housing Development, a project which we recently completed, has been a great success in helping our client to successfully sell many of their properties, even before the diggers arrived on site!
It's great to hear from our clients when the work we produce has been a real success. To be able to sell properties before work begins is incredible, and it shows what a great architectural design, marketing and of course great CGIs can do!
We produced 15 architectural visualisations and one CGI animation for Egg Homes, which were used in web and printed marketing. To see the all the images please check out the Viver Green Housing Development page.
There will be a video blog coming soon, showing you behind the scenes of how we created the images and animations. Until then, if you have any questions, would like to know more, or even have a development that needs to be visualised, then please get in touch!
I love this industry, and Google's new augmented reality (AR) makes us very excited! Why though? Augmented reality is when a virtual image, text data, etc is overlaid into the real world. The easiest way to do this is to point your smart phone at a tracker (a unique image), and your phone recognises this tracker and overlays the virtual image into the real world on the screen of your phone. Ikea did this very sucessfully with their app, check it out here http://www.gizmag.com/ikea-augmented-reality-catalog-app/28703/
The only problem with this method of AR is that the camera on your device needs to see a tracking image (like the Ikea catalogue). Google Tango doesn't! Now that's impressive!
How it does it is probably something very technical, and I assume it uses some kind of 3D scanning to gauge depth and distance, but developing hardware isn't our thing, so I'm only guessing. What I do know is that this is a real game changer for AR. By removing the need for tracking images means we could, in theory, overlay virtual worlds into the real world much much easier. It's also interesting to read that Tango can also measure. Imagine if we take the Ikea concept, but say develop a feature where a user holds their Tango device at a room, and the app then selects tables which would fit in the space. There'd be no need for that tedious process of measuring a space, reading the dimensions in a catalogue, and then hoping it all fits OK!
Augmented reality has huge potential in education and marketing. The need to engage and excite people is very important and AR can help. It can make seemingly dull experiences very exciting. Take kids to a museum and they'll probably look forward to their pack lunch and gift shop, but if you make the experience exciting and engaging they'll probably forget all about their cheese sandwiches! In Google's promo video the kids visit a museum, and use Google Tango AR to see a T-Rex come to life, and also display further info for them to read and learn. This may not engage or excite a group of OAPs, but the beauty of digital content is that each AR experience can be tailored different users.
If we look at the area we primarily work in, marketing architecture and products, augmented reality could really be a great tool to use. Imagine walking around a house or residential development with a Google Tango style app. Whilst the parents are using it to learn about the boring stuff like energy efficiency, crime rates, or even the choice of carpet colours, and the kids could see where their new school could be, learn about local clubs and groups, or how high the new swing goes in the near by park!
Google Tango is a very interesting development, and we'll be watching it very closely. There's only one device at the moment that's Tango enabled, and that's the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, but I'm sure more will follow very soon. Imagine the Samsung GearVR with Google Tango, my mind's already blown!
We have been playing, tinkering and mainly having fun with virtual reality, all in the name of research of course! The sheer number of apps, videos, experiences and games already available is amazing, and we've only really scratch the surface with our research. However one piece of virtual reality content really stood out, and that's "6x9: A Virtual Experience of Solitary Confinement"
Created by The Guarding and The Mill (see more info here), this virtual reality experience is a great example of how a virtual reality experience should be! It places the viewer in a horrible 6x9 cell, and gives us a glimpse onto just what solitary confinement may be like. Let's just say it's not very pleasant!
6x9 is one VR experience that really stand out for us and does so for few reasons. Firstly it's based on interesting and engaging content. Real convicts who have been in solitary confinement talk about their experiences. Even if 6x9 had been a news article, or a pod cast it would have still grabbed my attention.
Secondly the visual experience is good. OK the graphics aren't photo-real, but to me that doesn't matter. The room is dark, dirty, and not a very nice place to be all. The room changes, weird effects happen to suggest different feelings or even hallucinations that an inmate would have. The user is guided through the experience, and one thing I like is that you can look behind you, but the content is delivered in front of the user, so you can sit comfortably on the sofa without having to break your neck or stand up and turnaround to see the content! Sometimes you almost forget about the quality of the CGI as I found myself listening to the audio or reading the graffiti style text.
Thirdly, and perhaps the most important reason why this works so well in my opinion, is that the creators have taken great content, and then chosen the best medium to tell the story through. In this case they've used virtual reality, and by doing so they've enhanced their content and experience. Too often I see people with the thought of "we have VR, how can we use it?". This can lead to badly built experiences, and people simply trying to force their content into virtual reality. Look at how many best selling mobile games are being butchered to use VR, simply to jump on the band wagon to be part of the VR scene. It's lazy, cheep, and will damage the reputation of virtual reality as a medium if we're not creating brilliant content.
Anyway, back on topic. The 6x9 is a lesson in how to produce virtual reality experience. Please check out the app, all you need is a smart phone, Google Cardboard, GearVR or something similar. There's also a little trailer if you can't get your hands on a VR headset....
Enjoy (if that's even possible in a 6x9 cell?).
Over the next two weeks we have Josh joining us on placement from college. He's learning the art of CGI, and has interests in all areas of the industry, from architectural visualisations, to computer gaming!
With us, Josh will be tinkering with some virtual reality projects, having fun with 3D scanning and getting his hand dirty with 3D printing. I just hope we don't teach him too many bad habits!
We're always up for trying new things, so we thought we'd try our hand at video blog posts as an alternative to our usual written blog posts!
It's something we've never done before, but we think it could be a great way to show everyone our work, how we do things, our thoughts and perhaps just a little more of us!
As with previous blog posts, we'll be talking about projects, workflows, developments, industry news and much more. We'll also be sharing our screen with you, giving you an insight into how our CGIs are made.
It's going to be raw, unfiltered, and we really don't know how it will go, it could be great (wishful thinking), or it could be suicide! But there's only one way to find out.....
So we hope you'll join us, and if you have any topics or questions for us, please drop us an email and let is know!