FirstStage has been developed on top of a four year European R&D project into natural user interfaces for previs
Based upon the outcomes of over €3m of research budget and 343 expert person-months of research and development, FirstStage delivers a pioneering, naturally accessible and intuitive tool for use by non-technical creatives.
Interaction isn’t acheived via deep menus and complex timelines, it uses the visual benefits of 3d VR to deliver a natural user experience with virtual world enhancements.
A Natural User Interface
The research outcomes have informed the many design decisions that have been incorporated into FirstStage, from colours and user interface presentation, through to the movement required to access and utilise tools, or negotiate virtual space.
Fundamental to all those decisions has been to make the tool:
- easy to use, through a natural 3d approach to accessing information, creating and editing, unlike the complex menu-driven approach of current 3d engine tools.
- efficient, making the process of previsualising scenes faster than exisiting methods
- effective, by ultimately offering an appropriate level of precision and control
This has resulted in a tool that can be used inside any small room space, that offers traditionally 2d user interfaces in a visual 3d, minimises game controller interaction methods, and where possible encourages the user to use their hands and body movement to do things.
No matter what technical skill level, this is a tool for anyone to naturally use, and enjoy the benefits of a physically active software interface.
Perambulate around the stage using arm, leg and body movement, animate using mocap, and pick things and manipulate them in one or two hands.
Simple game controls
Use a simple four button game controller for choices like, selecting objects and tools, snap to grid and undo/redo.
Look at your watch to interact with a virtual touch-screen tablet and change tool settings.
Realtime 3d timeline
Select moments in time by moving things on their visual timeline.
Distance grab to move whole characters around the stage, and proximity grab to directly move bodyparts in 3d
Peruse available assets via a 3d carousel of assets filtered by categories and tags.
Lift your hand up to your eye as if to look through a camera and press a button for the camera to appear, then grab the side controls to adjust focus, aperture and lens parameters.
Voice comms, visual head and hand representation and real-time updates for multiple users makes collaboration in VR feel very natural.
VR is finally here to stay
The cost and weight of VR kit is reducing significantly and the solutions are getting more user friendly, and those trends will continue.
VR provides a solution to remote collaborative working, does not demand large spaces to be practical, and provides a more healthy and physical approach to traditional software solutions.
- Global augmented or virtual reality (AR/VR) spending projected at $12bn in 2020, set to grow to $72.8bn in 2024.
- Unit shipments of VR headsets forecast to reach 12.5 million in 2020.
- Experts suggest that due to the efficiency improvements that VR offers, industrial use is forecast to be three times larger than that of consumers by 2023.
- By 2023, the global business uses of extended reality (XR) technologies is forecast to increase to a spend of $35bn in the manufacturing and construction industry alone.
- 35% of business executives surveyed had adopted AR/VR technology into at least one business unit, with 13% having adopted the technology across multiple units.