Virtual Reality and Creative Expression: A Primer
The technology industry continues to unleash new and exciting opportunities for designers to equip themselves with the products they need to create and share their art. But virtual reality (VR) may be one of the biggest leaps forward in that effort.
Virtual reality affords designers and creatives new opportunities to interact artistically with the apps they use most. After strapping on a virtual reality headset, designers are immersed in a completely virtual world where they can interact in a different way with their apps. In some cases, designers simply design for VR environments and in others, they use VR tools to build new art pieces. In either case, they’re finding that virtual reality helps them create new art.
But there’s much more to VR and creative design than using a headset. Read on for a deeper look at virtual reality and the increasingly prominent position it plays in the broader design work creatives engage in.
Understanding the many faces of virtual reality
Virtual reality can be perceived as a catch-all term for technologies that allow you to interact with visual elements in a unique way. But there are some differences in technologies you should understand.
Virtual reality places you inside a completely graphical world that you can explore, interact with, and work with. Augmented reality or mixed reality (the terms are interchangeable) is slightly different in that it places virtual elements over the real world. So when wearing a headset, you’ll see your actual environment and graphical elements overlaid.
The differences are important to understand because of the different ways in which they’re used. VR technology is generally used for video games and apps that require you to immerse yourself in the virtual environment. Mixed reality is about context and helping you to visualize your creations, like product designs and art pieces, in the actual environment so you can see for yourself how they would look if they were brought to the physical world.
VR while you work
As a creative and graphic designer, you may have a need for both VR and mixed reality.
Often times, virtual reality headsets and associated VR technologies are used to help you create virtual environments like a video game. You’ll typically use a virtual reality headset and design software to get the job done, and operating in the virtual environment with the headset will prove critical.
Mixed reality headsets are usually employed by companies to enhance an employee’s existing work. They can be used by creatives and designers to visualize a piece of art they’re working on or to evaluate how their graphics could impact the real-world environment they’re creating in.
Most companies believe that mixed reality and virtual reality headsets will play a major role in the future of work. And increasingly, creatives and designers are being called on to work in those environments.
Apps are ready
One of the nice things about designing with virtual reality or mixed reality is that there are plenty of applications available to designers to get the job done. And many of those applications are those you’re already familiar with and use for your other work.
Adobe has been one of the foremost software makers in the virtual reality space for quite some time. The company offers a host of VR features in its Adobe Premiere Pro and Adobe After Effects programs. You can also use Adobe Photoshop to make quick adjustments to your VR imagery.
SculptVR is another popular app that lets you create virtual worlds and share them with friends. Vermillion is a painting simulator that lives in a virtual environment and allows you to create artwork as if you were doing it in real life. The options for using software in a virtual environment are growing by the day.
New headsets keep getting better
As consumers and companies continue to adopt virtual reality technologies, companies like Acer are innovating at a rapid pace to deliver the products customers want.
A variety of headsets are now designed to work with Microsoft’s Windows and its Mixed Reality platform. With help from Windows Mixed Reality, you can also use headsets to surf the internet, watch videos, and otherwise engage in a typical Windows experience.
Microsoft has said that it wants to expand what you can do with its Mixed Reality experience and new headsets will only further accommodate those updates. But getting a high-quality headset now is a good first step in starting your journey in virtual reality.
Having the right PC for the job
In order to get the most out of any virtual reality or mixed reality design process, you need to have the right PC.
Since designing virtual reality or mixed reality content is resource-intensive, you’ll want to have a more powerful computer that runs the latest processor and graphics cards. Acer sells a wide range of high-powered laptops and desktops that should fit the bill. Also be on the lookout for a computer with plenty of RAM (32GB is a good starting point). And since you’ll need high-quality visuals, opting for a 4K monitor is a good idea.
If you’re unsure which PCs will get the job done, Acer offers several machines that are VR-ready and certified to work with your headset of choice. The Predator Helios 300 is a high-powered laptop that will boost your VR experience. The Porsche Design Acer Book RS is another powerful laptop that can accommodate full virtual reality experiences. And if you’re looking for a desktop to work with VR, the Predator Orion 3000 will give you all the power you need.
The mixed reality and virtual reality space is rapidly evolving and new innovations are coming each day. And as long as you have the right computer and the right headset to facilitate your experience, you’ll undoubtedly discover the sky is the limit for creative expression in virtual reality.
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