Perhaps no project to date shows the potential of Quill—Oculus’ VR illustration and animation tool—quite like The Remedy. Created by veteran animator Daniel Martin Peixe, The Remedy is a roughly 10 minute long story which establishes a very effective comic book-like experience by stringing together various Quill scenes to tell a complete narrative. Peixie shared with us a glimpse inside of the production process which brought the film to life.
Daniel Martin Peixe is a character animator and illustrator at Walt Disney Animation Studios. With twenty years of experience in 2D and CGI animation, his recent work can be seen in critically-acclaimed films like Tangled (2010), Zootopia (2016), and Moana (2016). Peixe has been a mentor for the professional online animation workshop Animsquad since 2017. He is the writer, director, and creator of the VR short film The Remedy (2019), created entirely within the Quill VR illustration tool.
How to Watch The Remedy
If you haven’t had a chance to watch ‘The Remedy’, we recommend doing so for context. The short is available in Quill Theater on Oculus Quest, here’s how to find it:
The Remedy project started with the idea of using Quill illustrations as if they were comic book panels. Looking at my own Quill illustrations, I kept thinking, ‘I wish I could press a button and see what happens next!’ I also wanted to experiment using traditional cinema editing in VR, mostly for action scenes. I pitched this idea to the Quill team and to my surprise they were already thinking of ways to expand the timeline toolset in the next update, aiming to make Quill a full fledged VR storytelling suite!
Soon after, I was officially commissioned to work on this project—a short story in VR using the latest Quill 2.0 beta with the timeline tools—I was over the Moon! It was an amazing learning experience; this turned out to be my rough production workflow, which I’ll talk about in more detail below:
- Script writing
- Rough storyboard thumbnails in 2D
- 3D storyboarding with in VR, layout and staging
- Editing storyboards in VR, using transitions, cuts and adjusting timing
- Organizing layers and labeling each one
- Adding ‘stops’
- Sending the rough assembly to the Music and Audio team
- Visual development, research reference photos
- Final in-film text dialogue rendered in Photoshop and exported as PNG
- 2D color reference sketches before painting key scenes in VR
- Drawn and build sets and characters, speech bubbles and panels in VR
- Frame by frame animation
- Adjust final timing and transitions
- Adding special animated effects
- Send to Music and Audio team
- Final audio mix
- Optimization pass
- Technical checks for Quill Theater playback on Oculus Quest
As I started writing the story, I focused on something simple with a minimal number of characters. Also, I knew I wanted exciting action scenes but before writing those I tried to make sure there’s an emotional connection with the main character and clear motivations for the heroine to go on an adventure.
I did many different drafts of the script until I landed with something I was happy with and moved on to storyboarding. Some storyboards started as 2D sketches I did on my phone; the small screen allowed me to quickly put down any ideas I had for camera angles, scene staging etc. With these little scribbles as a reference, it was much easier later to do the VR sketching in Quill.
During this process it was important to start establishing the scale of the scenes in relation to the viewer, as well as the staging and planning for the ‘focal point’ of each scene to make sure that when there’s a ‘cut’ people don’t get lost or disoriented. I wanted the audience to be their own ‘cameraman’ in some scenes, like the one where the wagon leaves the house and you see the title. Planning all this with rough sketches was crucial, to make sure that some of the more experimental scenes would work before I jumped in and began modeling the assets.
The transform keys in Quill allow you to create smooth animations and fade in and outs, setting a couple of keyframes on the group layers. This was super useful for adding ‘camera moves’ which I did by moving entire sets instead of moving the actual Quill camera. Like the ‘escape from the volcano’ scene where the character is on a static layer animated jumping from one platform to the other and the set moves toward the audience, giving the impression that the audience is moving forward.
The ‘stops’ (where viewer input is required to continue the story) were a new concept that we weren’t sure that would work, but I had the feeling that it would make it feel more like a comic book where viewers could take in the scene around them before continuing.
Picking where to put the stops was a natural choice in some cases, for example, the establishing shot where the heroine is in front of the volcano temple entrance. The audience might feel like spending a bit more time taking in the environment. Just like a double page in a comic book, it is a big featured moment, and you are invited to explore all the details until you’re ready to move on. In other cases the stops are helpful in case you want to spend more time reading the speech bubbles. And then in other cases I chose to not have any stop or pause, because I wanted the audience to feel the thrill of the action.
Once all the story scenes were sketched out I adjusted the timing and made sure I was happy with that because it was time to deliver the project to the audio and music team so they could get started.
The next step for me was cleaning up scene by scene and adding the color, details etc. For the key scenes I did a 2D color key sketch outside of VR. That was super helpful in order to establish a clear goal for the scene in terms of mood, color palette, and lighting.
While most of the scenes in The Remedy are viewed from a third-person perspective, there were several scenes which I thought would be especially powerful in first-person. Thanks to VR, that perspective truly puts the audience in the shoes of the character. The ‘book’ scene—where the main character pages through an old book that sets up some important elements of the story—was important to me because being in a first person view it acts as a close-up shot, and the audience is welcome to lean in closer to explore the details of the book. In the ‘plant temple’ scene—where the main character finds the objective of her quest—I used first-person so that the audience could feel the same as the protagonist, admiring all the magical healing plants still growing on that orchard, and the sense of awe exploring how big is the temple. At the very end I included another first-person scene where I put the audience in the skin of the bad guy, looking up at the heroine as she holds onto the satchel—and his fate. Many of these shots would also work in 2D cinema, but in VR they become much more impactful!
When modelling assets I tried to keep an eye to the stroke count and the general density of the detail, since I knew there could be a chance for this project to run on Oculus Quest. Using the straight line tool as a base for most structures was the way to go. And also being smart about where to add detail and where to leave things more simplified. In most scenes there isn’t even a set or background, just the characters and a color gradient. This was completely intentional since I wanted the audience to focus on them and not be distracted by detail in the background.
I knew that I wanted most of the animation to be simple from the start. I didn’t plan to do full animation for this project, but I realized the action scenes needed some extra detail to really sell them. The most complex animations were achieved with a rough sketch first, with the timing and most in-betweens drawn.
Then I posed the character by constructing it from separate, previously drawn parts. I grabbed each part, and using the rough anim as a guide, I positioned them on each frame.
This allows for a very traditional animation approach, and with the use of Grab tool I was able to duplicate and deform the pieces seamlessly. The animation also becomes layered or what was known as ‘limited’ animation in certain parts, meaning that I would divide the character and while some parts of the character are still moving other parts remain still, on a separate layer.
The whole team at Oculus became really excited to learn that The Remedy, would be playable on Quest! The Quill team lead engineer was able to squeeze the whole project into a small size, and he ran some extra optimizations to make sure it would play well.
The last stretch of work was very exciting because we started to hear the amazing musical score from Facebook’s sound designer coming to life. Due to the ‘stops’ feature, sound engineers had to come up with two types of scores: the first was timed with an average guess of the time it takes to read the speech bubbles and to progress through the story—that way if you wait for too long in a paused moment, the music continues and slowly fades into the atmosphere sound effect—the second type of score was for the more linear moments with a fixed timing.
As I was finishing the last scenes, sound design was catching up with me finishing up the music. The team did an incredible job with the sound effects that make everything feel much more grounded.
This has been an amazing learning experience. I wore many hats and learned a lot in terms of storytelling, visual development, color, writing, and staging. But also huge learning in how to make the most out of Quill’s amazing toolset. I loved working on The Remedy and I cannot wait to create my next VR film with Quill!
The post Making ‘The Remedy’ – How A Veteran Illustrator Made one of VR’s Best Short Films With ‘Quill’ appeared first on Road to VR.
EOS, Ontology, Algorand Price Analysis: 27 October
At the time of writing while bearishness on the charts from the morning lows was visible, price recovery attempts towards the second half had also started.
The bearish sentiment in EOS quickly turned into a strong price recovery move, with EOS bulls regaining control of the short-term market. Algorand’s recovery still not as strong, but was also seen taking a similar path.
Ontology, however, struggled to make any gains, as it continued to be highly bearish.
The digital asset after falling from $2.750 yesterday, was seen making a recovery as it pushed above the $2.61 level of support. At the time of writing, EOS was trading at $2.664 still a percent below yesterday’s levels, despite price recovery attempts.
Parabolic SAR’s dotted lines below the price candles suggested an uptrend. Relative Strength Index too favored the bulls and was seen rising towards the 60 level.
Any further rise in buying pressure could push prices further up, as EOS bulls attempt to retake control at the $2.679 level of resistance.
For Ontology, the 20-period simple moving average (yellow) was seen ticking to the downside, way below the 50 SMA (cyan). This indicated that momentum in the short term was driving price towards the $0.50005 level of support.
The MACD also gave a sell signal as it was seen making a bearish crossover. However, during press time, ONT bulls were seen attempting to push prices towards the $0.511 level of resistance.
A further descent under the 20 SMA trendline(yellow) could delay a price recovery, as this would add to the bearishness in the ONT market.
Algorand after reeling under sufficient selling pressure finally managed to breach the $0.291 level of resistance. This could be a reversal after the digital asset displayed a descending channel pattern.
The Chaikin Money Flow Indicator was attempting to make cross above the zero line, a signal of future capital inflows being higher than outflows, however, the bearish scenario was far from over.
At the time of writing volatility also seemed to be on the decline, with a hint of convergence visible from the Bollinger bands.
Southeast Asia’s Largest Bank Is Launching Crypto Trading And Custody For Bitcoin, Ethereum, And XRP
The largest retail and commercial bank in Southeast Asia by assets, DBS, is seemingly planning to launch a digital assets platform for the trading and custody of major cryptocurrencies. According to an announcement that was posted accidentally and deleted, the forthcoming crypto offering — the DBS Digital Exchange — is backed by the Singapore-headquartered bank and regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (the country’s central bank).
The fiat-to-crypto exchange will “leverage an integrated ecosystem of solutions to tap the vast potential of private markets and digital currencies”. In particular, it will support five top cryptos including bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), XRP, Bitcoin Cash (BCH), and Ethereum Classic (ETC). Users will be able to trade these cryptocurrencies against the United States Dollar (USD), the Singapore dollar (SGD), the Japanese Yen (JPY), and the Hong Kong dollar (HKD).
What’s unique about this digital assets exchange is that it will not be holding any assets itself. Instead, “all digital assets are kept at DBS Bank, which is globally recognized for its custodial services”. The now-deleted announcement highlights that DBS has set up an “institutional-grade” custody solution called DBS Digital Custody.
Additionally, DBS Digital Exchange will also allow SMEs and large corporations alike to issue security tokens in the foreseeable future.
Before the announcement was taken down, industry leaders touted the move as another huge milestone for the cryptocurrency space. Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao, for instance, tweeted:
“Not sure if the #BTC is transferrable yet, but regardless a step in the right direction.”
Ryan Sean Adams, crypto investor and founder of Mythos Capital, postulated:
“The largest bank in Singapore just launched a crypto exchange. All banks are sidechains of Ethereum and Bitcoin. They just don’t know it yet.”
The year 2020 has seen a flurry of good news for the nascent asset class. The uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the forthcoming US elections has certainly strengthened the investment case for crypto.
DBS’s announcement comes after US payments behemoth PayPal embraced cryptocurrency last week. Business intelligence firm MicroStrategy, Jack Dorsey’s Square, and $10 billion asset manager Stone Ridge revealed substantial investments in the bellwether cryptocurrency.
With all these developments (and more on the way), bitcoin’s likelihood of surging higher in the coming weeks and months has increased significantly. Bitcoin is currently trading at $13,631.25, up 1.72% so far today.
Binance Coin, IOTA, Synthetix Network Price Analysis: 27 October
Crypto Fear and Greed Index dropped from 75 to 61 as Bitcoin was quite volatile the previous day, going as high as $13,250 and dropping to as low as $12,785. This could have spooked some traders and shifted sentiment from euphoria to a little less ecstatic. Binance Coin posted strong gains. IOTA exhibited a bearish divergence and failed to break out to the upside, and Synthetix exhibited a bearish pattern on the charts.
Binance Coin [BNB]
Using the Fibonacci Retracement tool for BNB’s early September surge from $18 to $33, some important retracement levels (white) were noted.
BNB bulls were able to defend the 23.6% retracement level at $29.75 and were even able to push the price past a region of resistance at $30.5.
The $31 mark was important, as a rise above it could propel BNB toward $31.9 and perhaps even $32.6.
The RSI also showed bullish momentum for the coin as it showed a value of 63.
IOTA formed a cup and handle pattern (white). The rim of the cup was at $0.29 (orange, dotted). However, just as IOTA reached the breakout point, there was a divergence between the price and momentum.
This divergence (pink) was followed by IOTA posting losses and can expect to find support at the $0.265 level.
At press time, the MACD indicated strong downward momentum, as the bearish crossover it had formed recently was moving beneath the zero line.
Synthetix Network [SNX]
Synthetix was forming a descending triangle pattern (white), a bearish pattern that generally sees the price break down beneath the base of the triangle.
The OBV also highlighted the lack of buying volume behind the asset, signifying that sellers were dominant.
SNX could drop as low as $2.84 or $2.6 in the next week or two if it closed beneath the base of the triangle, and beneath support at $3.36.
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