Virtual spaces, augmented reality, "room-scale" virtual reality -- these are a few pieces of our daily lives that are rapidly becoming commonplace, and they're also terms that don't really mean that much to most people. Here is what they all really mean for us though: the near future is us, literally stepping into photos.
The ability to not only look at photos but to step into them is one of the exciting new spaces to explore for SKÝ FÓLK. Will Christiansen, the owner of SKÝ FÓLK recently worked with the team at Valve to shoot & process the panoramic images that shipped with the HTC Vive VR headset which is powered by Valve's SteamVR platform. The idea was to create several images that would act as staging-area backgrounds inside the virtual environment that the Vive provides, like a desktop background wallpaper on your computer or mobile device except you get to stand in the middle of it and explore it as if you were there.
If you'd like to learn more of the project done with Valve and would like to have a look around the images that you can stand inside, check out the VR section of our site! I recommend grabbing the nearest Vive headset and switching between the backgrounds inside it, they are specifically designed to feel great in that environment and all of these photos are available through SteamVR and the workshop.
So, what's next? What does the future look like? A few problems to tackle are about people's perception of space inside VR, what tends to happen is very distant objects ad the horizon are correctly perceived as far away by the viewer but as objects get closer to the viewer, we need to perceive actual depth and mass to the objects we look at and we need to be able to look around at the environment as if our eyes were looking at real 3D life, the nature of photography has been two-dimensional for far too long and that alone isn't ultimately going to give us what we want because a 2D object in 3D space is perceived as infinitely far away. In our quest to share beautiful experiences, we are taking photography! We are currently working inside of 3D game engines like Unity and Unreal, applying techniques that can extract 3D models/textures from multiple photographic exposures of an object/scene called photogrammetry and compositing both normal, panoramic photographic elements with 3D models/textured extracted from several (hundreds of photos) photos of an environment to allow people to step into photos in a more realistic way. Look for future posts on VR and photography as we explore this area further.