Category Archives: virtual reality

Bubiko meets Tranzient 1.0

I met Jim Simons, the force behind Tranzient, at the November 2019 edition of the London Augmenting Reality Meetup. He did a live demo of the Tranzient VR/music making app. The app not only performed beautifully, Jim composed some great little beats; on the spot of course.

The Tranzient app allows musicians to collaborate in VR, in real time. Tranzient is impressive on many levels. I wondered if Jim would be consider adding Bubiko to his "band".

Jim was open to the idea!

What you see above is less than an hour's work. Now that we know Bubiko is functional within Tranzient, we can literally play around.

Tranzient is highly recommended https://www.aliveintech.com/ . I just met Jim, but he is genuinely enthusiastic about making music in VR. If you are a musician and working in VR, you should definitely move on Tranzient. Jim is a bit mysterious about his musical past, but I am sure he was involved with some great projects. He sure makes Bubiko look good!

This version on Bubiko was made by Novaby, art directed by Stephen Black and Sayuri Okayama.

VIEW 2019 part 1

I wanted to meet Skarred Ghost.

Tony, Antony Vitillo, is the AR/VR consultant who runs Skarred Ghost, one of the top blogs for VR and AR. I met Tony online in 2016, and we have shared our problems and joys since then. I was invited to speak in Munich and Paris, and hoped that somehow I could finally meet Tony in person, in Europe.

However, Tony was going to be in China until he returned to Italy, to give a presentation at VIEW, in Torino, Italy. I had never heard of VIEW. When I saw it, I immediately wanted to go. But my trip was on a budget far below “low budget”. Perhaps I could volunteer, like I would do at AWE, in Munich. Tony said he would ask the organizers, and that was how we left it.

 I arrived in Turin on the morning of Sunday, October  21. I’d taken an overnight bus from Munich; the city felt both friendly and alien. Two officers in a polizia car asked me if  I knew where I was going. 

“Corso Marconi...”

Though the officers described the bus and train options very well, I didn’t pay too much attention. Bubiko and I were going to walk.

An hour after leaving the bus, this tranquil scene of the River Po.
Man Ray, Man Ray. Will have to dig up my Man Ray story. No, I never met him, but did meet Julia, his wife, twice.

And, walk we did.

The address turned out to be the administrative office for VIEW, not the venue. I was relieved when someone answered the intercom; and happy when Ricardo, a handsome young man walked out. He attentively listened to my volunteering idea and seemed genuinely interested in my Bubiko demo. Like the polizie, Ricardo gave me directions on how to the venue, a place called OGR, which seemed to be near where the bus from Munich had dropped me off. I thanked Ricardo, slung my bag over my shoulder, and began rolling my little suitcase down the road.

 A blonde young woman called out to me! She was the driver for OGR, and she was going to the venue. As she drove me to OGR, we talked. She lived outside of Turin, and told me how beautiful the golds and reds of Autumn were beneath the snow-capped peaks of the Alps.

Bamboo! Eco Hostel!
Just down the street from the VIEW administrative office.
Mustafa, whose nice little restaurant is very near to Bamboo Eco Hostel.
Bubiko with a group of very , very talented professional animators!

 We arrived at OGR, once a train station, now an art center.

I didn’t know what would happen inside, but I pretended that I did.

(to be continued)

Turino, 5AM...

Gaming and VR at SXSW 2019

A look at VR and gaming on the final day of SXSW 2019. There was also a cosplay competition and, at night, a party with bands.

VR experience with large display
At the Alienware Outpost, SXSW 2019
At the Alienware Outpost, SXSW 2019
Explaining VR
Founder of Radical Empathy, Billy Joe Cain
cute face on monitor
Groove Catcher prize winning VR game
many gamers and computer
SXSW 2019
gaming competition
SXSW 2019
Young man standing and using VR
artistic VR game landscape
fans watching a video game
a couple watching a video game
computer game competition
African-American woman playing a video game
One Passion portraits at Alien Outpost
Video game competition at Alien Outpost, SXSW 2019
Flyquest Announcers discussing gaming
gamer at Alien Outpost, SXSW 2019
Screen displaying game and four players

LOTUS MOUNTAIN, a VR movie

This proposal was posted on Kaleidoscope on February 25, 2019.

Shenzhen, China's Silicon Valley, on the night of Chinese Valentine's Day. Joyh, a cyborg, is finally taken out into the world by Dave, her creator.

Five years later, the two are reunited, with very different memories of that night.

 Lotus Mountain: 12 minutes 360 VR film 

Directed and produced by Stephen Black

Cinematography: Leo Wei  

Starring Alps Bethneck, Joyh and the Shenzhen 40th anniversary urban light show, with the city decorated for Chinese Valentine’s Day.  

Original soundtrack: Japanese composer Rei Shimizu, and ​Since You Were Gone​, from The Riverwalk Session album by 3how (High on Chai Productions).  

Featuring an original VR artwork by Scobot, award winning VR artist.  Sound mix by ambisonic pioneer Giovanni Lion

 Editor: Zephyr  

Status: Completely shot, soundtrack and voice acting completed.  

Needed: budget for graphics, final edit, audio mixing and promotion.  

This video was meant to be an inhouse experiment, but due to time restrictions, is being used as an introduction to​ Lotus Mountain​. A proper 4K rough cut will be ready by SXSW, as well as a detailed booklet for press and distributors.  

The assistance and support of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Kandao were invaluable in the production of Lotus Mountain.

Stephen Black is an independent artist/producer/writer committed to finishing ​Lotus Mountain.

ARphabet Tour: Secret Donut World

All of the sections of the ARphabet Tour are explained here.

A collaboration between David Severn(UK/Japan) and Stephen Black, Secret Donut World is whimsical, colorful and unpredictable. A combination of David's imagination and Stephen's spatial computing ideas, Secret Donut World exemplifies the potential of AR and MR.

At present there are a total of 50 characters and objects, many having unique spatial computing "special powers".

avante-garde art in I
Vance
Secret Donut World by David Severn and Stephen Black

All of the sections of the ARphabet Tour are explained here.

ARphabet Tour: Indiegogo Introductory video notes

All of the sections of the ARphabet Tour are explained here.

Notes for the video introducing the ARphabet Tour on Indiegogo.

Location: Boulevard of Houqian Bei

Stephen Black standing in the heart of China's Silicon Valley, holding the 2018 laminated pamphlet of Bubiko Orwell Tour highlights.

Like this test: https://youtu.be/fM2Z6kr7mAs

Points to cover:

  • 2002: After years of working in art, photography and network TV (Cartoon Network, Fuji TV, Fox, CNN+) became creative director at 3D gamemaking company, WalkerAsia
  • Walker/Asia was also doing something like Youtube, three years before Youtube.
  • CEO's unexpected demise results in non-action, despite great interest by Singapore Ministry of Education, Singapore Science Center, publishers in Hong Kong and universities in Japan.
  • SB, son of a book salesman, decides to write books and wait for VR/AR/spatial computing to become mainstream. Inspirations: his father, a book salesman and the release of the Kindle, Amazon's pioneering ebook reader.

  • Visa complications result in what will become the Bubiko Orwell Tour of Southeast Asia. SB pivots from VR to AR.
  • AR cinema becomes the focus, starring the following characters: the Dundercats (collaboration with Six Cat Studio), Secret Donut World (collaboration with David Severn) and Bubiko Foodtour.
  • AR presentations/workshops at Hong Kong PolyU, a presentation at Le Wagon and pitches to VCs at TechCrunch.
  • An invitation to participate in ARIA at MIT  becomes the inspiration for the ARphabet Tour. Debuting at ARIA will be an ARKIT/Unity collaboration with Dominique Wu/Hummingbirdsday Studios, a game featuring Green Bean Boy and co-starring Bubiko Foodtour.
  • The ARphabet Tour will also be a platform for Stephen Black to do readings and writing workshops.
  • The ARphabet Tour also aims to educate people about mango sticky rice, Bubiko's favorite food.
  • Separate from this, briefly mention the unicorn concept which has a high degree of success regardless of the global economy or 5G take-up.

All of the sections of the ARphabet Tour are explained here.

Presentations and workshops by Stephen Black at HK PolyU.

24 hours in Shenzhen (360 VR): A Project by Leo Wei and Stephen Black

Suggestions for locations and story ideas are welcome. Interesting locations at interesting times, interesting people, interesting tech; we will consider anything.

24 hours in Shenzhen (360 VR): A project by Leo Wei and Stephen Black

Shenzhen, the Silicon Valley of China, will be documented for a 24 hour period on August 18th, in a co-production by Leo Wei (cinematographer) and Stephen Black(screenwriter).The starting points for the production are Wei's experiences as a Shenzhen resident and Black's international background as a writer, artist and producer. The two will co-direct.

Leo Wei: "VR is a fresh and powerful way to share the various feelings and experiences I have had while living in Shenzhen. It will be interesting to see what happens during the 24 hours. Shenzhen is always changing."

Stephen Black: "The last time I visited Shenzhen was in 1997, when I lived in Hong Kong. Since that time, Shenzhen has grown tremendously, as everyone knows. I would like to portray not only the high tech, entrepreneurial side of Shenzhen, but also the way it may symbolize China's unseen past and future."

Leo Wei demonstrating the Qoocam at the 2018 Maker Faire at Hong Kong Polytechnic.

Stephen Black holding a Qoocam 360VR camera at the 2018 Maker Faire at HK PolyU.

AR, VR and Every R in between. An installation at the 2018 Maker's Faire at Hong Kong PolyU.

Wei and Black's first VR experience together was at the 2018 Maker's Faire at Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

Leo Wei's film and television experiences have been with Shenzhen Satellite TV, where he has been involved with productions that involved stars like Zheng Khai, Guo Caijie and Ru Changhu. He is currently the product manager at Kandao, a manufacturer of VR cameras.

Stephen Black's career has bridged television production, art and writing. He has worked for CNN, Cartoon Network, Fuji TV and Fox. His photographs and videos have been shown worldwide, including Beach Road, a 360VR film which was featured in festivals in Las Vegas, Brisbane and Singapore.He recently gave a number of presentations about AR at Hong Kong PolyU. He has written a number of books, including i ate tiong bahru, a Singaporean bestseller.

Ani-Com and Games Hong Kong 2018: Photos by Stephen Black

(If you are interested in cosplay, you may like these photos from the SXSW 2019 event.) To learn more about character goods for the Bubiko Foodtour AR project, we visited Ani-Com and Games Hong Kong. If you have a question, please ask in the comments section. I went because of Bubiko, because of Alphabet Spikes and because I wanted to see what was happening with AR and VR.

AR, VR and Every R in Between (July 7, 2018)

HAPPENING NOW: STEPHEN BLACK'S EBOOKS: FREE AND DISCOUNTED Taking place during the Maker Faire Hong Kong, was AR, VR and Every R in Between, organized by Dr. Ludovic Krundel, of the Digital Entertainment Lab, School of Design at HK PolyU. Here is a link to bios of some of the people who made the day so interesting. Plus, there was Kandao and SnapPop. Photos by Stephen Black and Bubiko Foodtour. 360VR video of the event is here! 360VR video of this is here. Day 2 is here.

2018 AR/Augmented Reality: State of the Art

HAPPENING NOW: STEPHEN BLACK'S EBOOKS :FREE AND DISCOUNTED

I recently did two workshops and two presentations about AR at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. This post summarizes what I presented, or wanted to present. Just before the presentations started, there were so many new announcements from Google, Apple and the attendees at the AWE, that not all of the following info was presented. And, a few tweaks and additions will be happening in the next few days. I would again like to thank Phil Morgan, Gino Yu, Dr. Ludovic Krundel and Hong Kong Polytechnic for their support.

AR Reference Materials

Descriptions of Workshops and Presentations

Questionnaire For Those Attending Workshops

Responses to First Day Topics: Emergency Response and Urban Planning

Followup: Head Mounted Devices

Followup: Students' Work

Followup: Food and AR

Followup: Apps and Software

Bubiko Foodtour with coconuts (an AR test)

A large part of the Bubiko Orwell Tour involve networking with AR practioners, individuals as well as companies.

Also, during the events, my ebooks were either free or discounted.