FirstStage is a vr-based 3d animation previz tool that speeds up blocking and layout process, by turning it from slow and linear, to dynamic and realtime.
A virtual sandpit for developing and finalising ideas, you can quickly stage sets, build proxy models within the tool, key pose characters and props, animate using keyframe, puppet or mocap, and block out your camerawork, all in real time as a creative team, then export into your workflow.
Save time, explore ideas and realise the benefits of virtual previs, now!
Why previs and why FirstStage?
Animation can be a slow and complex linear process, iterating between creating and animating scenes and getting feedback until the final cut is approved.
FirstStage offers an opportunity to initiate and develop your ideas within one flexible collaborative tool, where all key voices can work together on set developing sequences from the ground up, as if a film crew within your animation, then export to your workflow when the idea is a fully formed layout ready for final edits.
Scenes can be blocked out without waiting on 3d models, using placeholder library assets or quickly sketched in 3d. Characters can be quickly posed and camera placed to layout sequences. Keyframe images and data can be output to use in your preferred storyboard software, or alternatively, the team and stakeholders can join up in your animated world for a demonstration of the how and why those keyframes join together, encouraging realtime feedback and edits.
Containing it’s own 3d sketching tool, any proxy assets built with FirstStage can be saved to the Asset Repository, then exported by artists to update in their preferred 3d modelling software before reimporting and auto-updating within the scene.
Static poses can by developed into basic animations via keyframes, steering or puppeteering to establish sequence timings, and even full body motion capture can be recorded in the tool using the standard VR trackers, or via more sophisticated means such as mocap suites. At any point, the animated scene can be exported for faster final animation edits in your preferred 3d animation software and then imported back into FirstStage for the team to review issues and explore solutions as a team.
So FirstStage offers an accessible open-ended platform to initiate and develop ideas to the point of approval.
In this context FirstStage seeks to deliver an affordable and accessible open-ended platform to initiate and develop ideas in real-time to the point of scene approval.
“From an artistic point of view, Directors gain a higher level of freedom in interacting with the content and their decision making process is completed within one single entry point: FirstStage.”
Head of Computer Graphics, Arx Anima
Enjoy more creative freedom and make decision faster
How easy is it to use?
FirstStage has been developed on top of a four year European R&D project into natural user interfaces for previs
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.
- Natural movement
- Simple games controls
- Wristpad tablet
- Realtime 3d timeline
- Character posing
- Asset Library
- Handheld cameras
- Collaboration interactions
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.
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Initiate, develop and approve ideas as a cohesive team
“The level of interactivity increases as joint sessions between several stakeholders are naturally promoted by the tool. FirstStage increases productivity while mixing off-line preparatory tasks with on-line sessions.”
Head of Computer Graphics, Arx Anima
What can you do and create?
Create and analyse your set
FirstStage offers a number of frictionless ways to explore set design opportunities and limitations.
Import your assets
If you already have all your IP as 3d models, then import them into your Asset Repository, and select them from the Asset Library to use on set.
Set design and staging
If you need some new assets, either choose from thousands of pre-supplied 3d assets and place them immediately on stage, or if what you really want is not there, quickly 3d sketch what you need in VR and save it back to your repository to be replaced with more high fidelity models by your 3d artists, allowing the scene quality to improve iteratively in the background.
Block and layout out your scene in 3d
Once the virtual set is freely available in FirstStage, characters and props can be key posed before moving on to layout movements and establish the scene viewpoints.
Real-time and offline collaboration
The opportunity to jump onto the stage with your previs team and create, play, test and share in real-time, anytime you want, for as long as you want, is huge.
But its not just that. There is little point everyone being there watching one person do all the work, as happens with so many technically complex production tools, so FirstStage’s natural user interface allows all abilities to get creative and contribute in VR … but you can just use a screen to watch and instruct if you want.
The key here is that FirstStage manages the interactions so that you can work together and see the updates in the right order. So multiple people can contribute over any one thing, or they can operate in their standard team roles, as they would on set.
Export into your workflow
FirstStage offers the opportunity to create layouts for approval, that can be shared live in VR, or via a live feed into a shared video conference, or via storyboards created from exported stills, or via animatics using the Shot Sequencer – a simple editing tool to output your sequence ideas.
Then once everything is approved and your sequence is ready, you can export it all and create the final quality that you are seeking using your preferred 3d animation tools.