Creative Tech Week 2018 done & dusted ;)

On May 11th I was honored to give a lightening talk at Creative Tech Week around my artist journey with the Google Tiltbrush as part of my 5 day “VRaycation“.

This fish is the first thing I made in Tiltbrush; I talked about the shift from object creation / CAD mindset, to a world building one.

The narrative explored how, as an experienced 2- and 3D artist I was exploring Tiltbrush’s “special sauce”; how each medium has something it’s particularly good for, and my journey to find it.

Hint: it involved giving up on precision, somewhat of a challenge for a CAD artist – but, as I said in the presentation, it’s like karaoke: you’ll have much more fun, and the results will be far better, if you give up any attempts at being good. Plus, think about building worlds – not objects, something I surprised myself by doing initially (there’s a universe to play with, why am I making a fish?!)

For those who are curious, I ultimately ended up creating a world based on a 16th century Persian artwork, and titled it “My Garden of Eden” – complete with a handsome date in a turban (because who wants to be alone in the Garden of Eden?!).  It’s the last thing I made, on day 5 of my HTC Vive rental. Enjoy! – I’m particularly happy with the birds.

A heartfelt thank you to Hello World Communications in New York for the wonderful full room-scale HTC Vive I used (they even threw in a laptop! Their customer service is amazing) and of course, to Isabel Draves of Creative Tech Week for including me in this year’s lineup.

A video of my talk hasn’t yet been released, but when it is I will post it here as well.

Panel appearance at Creative Tech Week 2017

For those who are curious…here’s the full panel discussion exploring the future of VR and entertainment that I was a part of at Creative Tech Week 2017 back in June. Thank you to Isabel Walcott Draves and Cortney Harding for asking me to participate; it was great to be part of an event this forward thinking, and meet co-panelists Victoria Pike, Joel Douek, David Lobser and Jenya Lugina. Honored to be in such impressive company!

Upcoming appearances

Am honored to be on stage at two events this week! Very excited.

First up, I’m at the innovation festival Propelify on Thursday, where I will be fireside chatting with Beatie Wolfe  for 25 minutes about music’s interactive future (South stage, 2:20 pm).

Beatie is a musical innovator in addition to being an accomplished musician. At the forefront of pioneering new formats for music, she unites tangibility, storytelling & ceremony to albums in this digital age.

Propelify is a celebration and exploration of innovation. Techstars and Samsung NEXT are sponsoring a startup competition (maybe I should apply?!) – and Arianna Huffington is giving the keynote address. Plus, a drone race. Which personally I can’t wait to see.

Secretly I just want to be a drone racer.

Some really neat startups semi-finalists being showcased in the Startup Competition. Like this VR company –

LyraVR is a virtual reality platform that lets you compose, perform and share musical compositions in 3D. Create loops, hand place and tune your sounds in space, press play, and enjoy as your musical masterpieces come to life around you.

and this one –

Geopipe builds immersive virtual copies of the world, built by algorithms, for architecture, real estate, and beyond. Their algorithms build immersive virtual models of the real world to provide visualizations for architects, urban planners, and many others.

So many potential directions for that technology to go in! Can’t wait until I can walk through the any streets in the world with VR, without the bad buggies I always get when traveling.

*Then* on Sunday (May 21), I’m part of a panel discussing the future of Entertainment and VR at Creative Tech week. Some great co-panelists! I’m in esteemed company.

Victoria Pike is a theatrical designer and director who utilizes projection design and mixed reality technologies to create unique theatrical performances and installations. Her background in the theater, designing immersive experiences, has lead her to exploring 360 video and virtual reality as a new space for dramatic storytelling.

Joel Douek is an award-winning composer and instrumentalist whose music has underscored many films and television productions, including in some of the most prestigious documentaries of the last few years – those of naturalist Sir David Attenborough. From big-screen IMAX features such as the BAFTA-winning film ‘Flying Monsters 3D’ and the Everest adventure: ‘The Wildest Dream’ (feat. Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes), dark thrillers such as “Manhattan Night” (feat. Adrien Brody, Yvonne Strahovski) and “The Tall Man” (feat. Jessica Biel), Douek’s music has brought many a scene to life.

David Lobser is an internationally recognized, award winning animation director. He uses algorithmic, procedural generation techniques to create lush virtual worlds. He is interested in pushing computer animated effects into the realm of the intricate, messy and imperfect in order to articulate complex feelings and sensations. He has an extensive background in commercial animation and visual effects, has taught animation at Harvard University, and is presently the senior artist in residence at NYU’s Media Research Lab.

Jenya Lugina is a Creative with a deep understanding of technology. He constantly explores the newest developments and best ways to use them to push artistic boundaries and devise innovative solutions for clients such as Pfizer, Merck, Def Jam, HAVAS, Gold Crest Films, Cessna, Nissan, Fuji, Sony and Hasbro. He has worked as a Technology Consultant as well as a Creative Director, creating content for video, web, and interactive installations, using tools that include stereoscopy, autostereoscopy, and virtual reality to produce new ways to communicate messages.

Cortney Harding is a professor, author, and consultant working at the intersection of music and virtual reality. Harding works with technology companies to partner with music artists and labels to create immersive, groundbreaking virtual reality content. Her knowledge of both the music and technology industries position her to uniquely create experiences that move both industries forward.

Harding is the author of “How We Listen Now: Essays and Conversations About Music and Technology”, published in January 2016 and available here. Harding is a professor at the Clive Davis School of Music at NYU. Harding has been a frequent speaker at conferences like SXSW, Further Future, Canadian Music Week, SF Music Tech, and the Right Tech Summit.

Location: NYIT Auditorium on Broadway 1871 Broadway NY NY 10023

Reality, Virtually Hackathon

So stoked….I am going up to MIT Media Lab‘s all day workshop this Saturday, to learn about programming in Augmented and Virtual Reality as part of their Reality, Virtually Hackathon…while I freely admit that a portion of the nitty gritty programming will undoubtedly be over my head, I’m going to get a crash course and overview of the essential process, by all the companies who are the big players in the space.

I’m well chuffed, as they say in the UK.

Companies presenting include Unity, the programming language used to create both Augmented Reality, and Virtual Reality; Microsoft – who is involved because of the Hololens; Google’s Tango, which is technology that helps devices understand where they are spatially, and in the world , and others.

Here’s the full agenda. Don’t fall asleep 😉

Reality Virtually

Augmented Reality is projected to be a $120 billion market by 2020 in the US alone; I’m looking at starting a company there next. Fascinating technology with a ton of potential applications, far beyond mere gaming. It’s advantage is that it overlays digital onto the real world, vs having to be completely immersed in one as Virtual Reality is, so it can be used throughout the day and in many natural environments – you don’t have to choose when to use it.

Harvard Business Review has a short article just published about the Mainstreaming of AR…it has been around since 1968, but 2016 is when it’s starting to take off because of hardware.

AR is less sexy than virtual reality, but has more potential for growth IMO because 1) you don’t need a lot of hardware/gear for it 2) you don’t need to have a dedicated space for it 3) people aren’t getting sick from using it (although I have no doubts that will be remedied) and 4) you don’t need to immerse yourself in it completely, shutting out the world. Although I do seem to recall people said much the same about television when it launched (it will “never take off” since people have to sit and watch it, not doing anything else).

So much for predictions and futurists.

I’m going up to Boston to take part in MIT Media Lab’s Reality Virtually hackathon this weekend – we’ll see what that’s like; hoping to meet people, network, and get a real sense for what’s happening out there.