Monday, February 14, 2005

cup 76: VR

Where: Lengyl Lab, University of Maine, Orono
When: 8 am feb 14 2005
Who: dozens of students
Coffee: Green Mountain's Valentine's blend
mood: exploratory

Anyone remember VR? It was going to be so cool! We'd have goggles and body suits and we'd be able to interact in a completely immersive computer environment. Some experts said that the government might have to regulate it like they do psychadelic drugs because it exposed you to an alternate reality. There was a horrible movie, Lawnmower Man, that was a huge success because it happened to have VR in it right when VR was getting popular. There were a couple of TV shows, VR5 and Harsh Realm, that flopped even though the weren't all that bad, because they came out a week later, when VR wasn't news anymore. There is one vestige of the VR hype that remains and is pretty cool and completely underused. It is called Quicktime VR and it is built right into Quictime, so if you can play Quicktime movies on your computer you can watch a Quicktime VR. Quicktime VR stitches together a series of digital photos to create the illusion of navigating in a 3-dimensional space. In the above sample, I used my coffee cup (and yes, I was drinking the coffee while I made the VR). It isn't just an animation. Go ahead, click and drag on it. Try using your shift, control and alt/option keys while you click and drag. They should all do something a little different. In class I plan on using it to archive the student's 3d work, since this can be tricky to include in a portfolio.

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