Our first meetup event was led by Amir Tamadon, VRSquare’s CTO and co-creator of Cubity. With over 10 years of experience with 3D modeling and advanced visualizations, Amir had an insightful perspective on the future of mass media. He opened the conversation with a short rundown on the history of media.

Mass media and advertising have shown various shifts and improvements across time, while static 2D images were once the go-to form of media communication, audio messages via radio soon became available and mainstream, followed by television, video games and soon after the web. The introduction of the internet and the web changed how we access and view content, as it has the power to integrate image, audio, text, and also opened the doors for 3D visualizations. According to our speaker, immersive 3D content is the next mass media, and while it comes with big promise and potential, it also has its challenges.

History of marketing channels

These big shifts in mass media brought about changes in marketing and advertisement. Print (like in newspapers and magazines) introduced written content ads and 2D images. Radio was the first mass-media that introduced near real-time delivery and was quickly adopted. Marketers took note and began advertising their products and services through audio messages. With the advent of television, TV advertisement commercials became mainstream. And now the internet has changed the way we produce and consume marketing and advertisement content. But nothing has changed mass media the was the internet did, and digital media with real-time visualizations has the potential to make an even bigger impact in marketing and our daily lives!

3D content has become available in websites to display products and services in a unique way. Take Ikea as an example, with their Home and Kitchen planner, you can build and design your dream kitchen (or another room) and visualize it in 3D, to get a realistic vision without making a single purchase or building anything. Ikea has also enhanced the user experience by launching an AR app that lets users envision how furniture will look like in their home. Using AR technology, Ikea furniture is overlaid into your living room through your smart phone. Ikea is one of many companies that have invested in real-time technology to improve their products and services.

The next generation of content

3D content has already reached the web and our smartphones, but according to Amir, truly smart and immersive experiences are the next big wave of content. As of now, 3D visualizations aren’t engaging enough, even advanced VR Headsets like the Microsoft HoloLens require joysticks to interact with 3D content. As Amir mentioned, in the future, 3D visualizations will be smarter, more immersive and easily accessible.

Imagine you want to buy a sofa that fits and matches your living room. Just how we use our smartphones to pull up google for a quick search, in the future we’ll turn to AR technology. Using AR technology, the Ikea app lets you drop virtual furniture into your living room, helping you find the perfect sofa for your space. But the Ikea app (and many other AR apps) still rely on your smartphone camera and touchscreen to interact with users. As Amir mentioned, the future of real-time media will be a completely immersive technology, letting you interact with 3D content in a yet to be discovered way.

Future trends

As the next mass media becomes more sought after in industries outside of entertainment and gaming, Amir believes the future of smart immersive content depends on advances in UI/UX, hardware and software, and speed in 3D content generation.

Hardware and software

For smart immersive 3D content to be available to the masses, hardware has to significantly improve. Currently, we see many companies (like HoloLens and Oculus) launching constant updates and improvements in devices. In addition, more and more tools are being created for 3D modelers to improve their content creation and visualization workflow.

UI/UX

The 3D landscape will completely transform the typical UI/UX, going from a static 2D interface to an immersive and interactive one. This makeover will completely alter how we interact with content, with the typical keyboard, mouse and touchscreen completely removed, it’ll no doubt be exciting!

Speed in 3D content generation

Creating 3D content optimized for real-time experiences in a timely manner will be more important than ever. Take this real world-case as an example, it’ll cover the importance of optimizing 3D content for real-time visualization. Cleaning up 3D content usually comes down to carefully balancing the act of reducing file size while maintaining enough detail and texture of a model. Too much detail increase file size, and you simply won’t be able to run it in real-time applications. Too little detail, and the 3D experiences loses its life-like nature, making it unrealistic.

Real-world example, Williams & White blade sharpening machine

Williams & White relies on 3D product visualizations to showcase their complex machinery to clients and stakeholders. The machines are big (in both file size and actual size), and simply not feasible to physically transport to tradeshows, so they turned to real-time technology. In this case, the 3D modeling team at Williams & White had 3 weeks to put together an immersive visualization of their machine for a tradeshow.

The 3D team at Williams and White was clearly overwhelmed with their project size and complexity, the CAD model was made up of 28,000 and they simply didn’t have the time or resources to groom it for visualization. The team had three options, first they could manually optimize their file. This entailed selecting the pieces they want to visualize and render, which would take 1-2 weeks, and another 3-4 to render. They could also manually optimize their file and use game engines like Unreal Engine to visualize. Both of these options didn’t meet their fast-approaching deadline, so Amir introduced a 3D asset management and optimization tool, Cubity, that could help them prepare their CAD model and meet their deadline.  With Cubity, Williams and White was able to decrease their file size from 12 GB to 300 MB, from 28,000 parts to 300 parts, but most importantly, the blade sharpening machine was optimized for real-time visualization and they were able to employ real-time technology to showcase their machine at a trade-show.

The big challenge to the next mass media

As Amir mentioned, with the next mass media, making sure 3D content is ready for real-time visualization will be more important than ever. 3D asset management and optimization tools like Cubity, that improve a 3D files performance for real-time technology, will become a central part of the 3D content workflow.

Check out our meetup page for future events!

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