Progress of first.stage
15. March 2018
On the 14. and 15. of March our development team met with the application partners for a workshop, assessing the curent state of the prototypes and discuss future development. We had two very productive days full of dicussion and planning. The outcome is a development and evaluation roadmap for the next half year. We are looking forward to present you interesting new features in the near future.
8. March 2018
Demonstrator Release 7
You can now capture performances with the RoKoKo Smartsuit. No need for a studio with an expensive camera rig for optical tracking, the Smartsuit uses inertial tracking to measure poses. And now you can stream live data straight from the suit into the first.stage software. Even small productions can now afford to include motion capture and computer-generated imagery.
Arx Anima is already testing the Smartsuit within their evaluation project.
23. Feb 2018
Landestheater Linz testing the latest Prototype
Our project partner TOG (Landestheater Linz) is currently testing and evaluating our latest VR prototype. With their support we are constantly improving our software in terms of functionality and usability for the application area theater and stage production. Learn more about our partners and progress.
19. Feb 2018
Empowering Creative People: Virtual Reality for Previsualization
Our paper: Empowering Creative People: Virtual Reality for Previsualization got accepted to the CHI Conference.
Previsualization (previs) is an essential phase in the design process of narrative media such as film, animation, and stage plays. Digital previs can involve complex technical tasks, e.g. 3D scene creation, animation and camera work, which require trained skills that are not available to all personnel involved in creative decisions for the production.Read more about the paper
15. Feb 2018
Prof. Rainer Malaka Presenting first.stage in India
31. Jan 2018
Review Meeting in Vienna
We just had our intermediate review meeting at the premises of YourMom in Vienna! We were happy to host two experts from digital media and HCI together with our EU project officer, presenting them what we have been working on the last 20 months. The day was filled with presentations and demonstrations where we presented our VR prototypes, Rokoko Suit integration in VR, multitouch demonstrators, and even our latest OptiTrack system. We received a lot of valuable feedback and will now continue with further development, dissemination and evaluation of our tools.
23. Jan 2018
Arx Anima Testing the Newest Prototype
Our partner Arx Anima performed further test with the latest demonstrator release 6. They integrated some of the assets of their project Nebular which they will later use for evaluation within a complete production project. In the tests, camera and posing functions are tested. See two of the videos, documenting their tests above.
22. Jan 2018
Demonstrator Release 6
Using the new “Through The Lens” camerawork, you can now place cameras on set and then precisely frame your shots: pan & tilt the camera simply by dragging the view; choose the lens from wide to telephoto; and even add dutch tilt (roll) if you want. Once your shots are framed, you can then set up camera moves between the shots and the camera will track between them as the scene plays out. You can also preview any camera from anywhere in the scene simply by looking at your wrist.
6. Dec 2017
Vogel Audiovision Testing the Demonstrators for Use in Film Production
Testing, testing, testing ... That's the task of Vogel Audiovision as partner of the First Stage project. And, of course, the continous response about the experiences for the partners, who work on the development of the tools and constantly deliver updates.
There are two areas in which the tests are currently going on:
On the one hand, the program-elements that come from Uni Bremen and Moviestorm are tested on concrete projects. For example, an exhibition project, transferred to the virtual world, is being used as a stage in which the various pre-visualization tools are being tested. That i.e. means the placement and the integration of people and their movements in the virtual set is tested as well as the different tools already available in the tools like basic camera functions and of course the quality of the navigation.
At the same time, the motion suit, developed by the Danish partners RoKoKo is intensively tested. Movements of real people who use the suit are transmitted as tests on different computer-animated avatars. Subsequently, these files will then be included in the pre-visualization software. Our task in the near future is also to check how perfectly this integration works and how user-friendly the operation is. The experiences are passed on to the partrners in a constant dialogue to support the purposeful development and continous improvement of the tools.
4. Dec 2017
Arx Anima Presenting Lotte - Their Evaluation Project
The Evaluation of our software within the Workpackage 6 will be done in real production projects performed by the application partners in order to evaluate if the tools developed within first.stage are easier to use and make the production more efficient. In addition the integration into the exiting production pipeline will be evaluated.
Arx Anima have outlined the project Lotte which they will use for the evaluation. The Lotte project will be a whole production that will be performed with the first.stage software and in a traditional way to compare the processes.
4. Dec 2017
Demonstrator Release 5
In this build a new asset rack as well as a new stage is included.
- Asset rack replaced by Asset Browser accessed by pressing both menu buttons at once.
- Navigator re-rigged - touchpad handles teleport and trigger grabs a world handle.
- New stage: Mohren provided by Vogel.
- Scale and rotate handles should be accessible again.
29. Nov 2017
Vogel Audiovision Presenting Their Evaluation Project
The Evaluation of our software within the Workpackage 6 will be done in real production projects performed by the application partners in order to evaluate if the tools developed within first.stage are easier to use and make the production more efficient.
Vogel Audiovision will include their assets for the previs of the Mohren Biererlebniswelt into the first.stage software and will previsualize a commercial for the exhibition within the evaluation.
8. Nov 2017
Demonstrator Release 3
This release includes improvements to path behaviour and some simple posing of puppets.
- Cannot create a new scene with an old name
- Projects open unexpectedly
- Library menu should not show in the Office
- Very early rough stage for the Landestheater Linz
- Removed several old retired tools: Puppeteer and Sketcher
- Fixed issue where you cannot change out of the Tape Measure tool
27. Oct 2017
Arx Anima Testing the First Prototype
Our partner Arx Anima performed the first tests with the latest demonstartor release 2. They tested interactions for travel, task selection and asset placement and provided us with valueable feedback that we will integrate into the next build of the demonstrator.
26. Oct 2017
Interview with the Negative Space Movie Blog
Our research partner University of Bremen gave an interview on the opportunities virtual reality can bring to the previs process and on the current progress of the first.stage project. You can watch the interview on the film blog Negative Space. (German only)
23. Oct 2017
Demonstrator Release 2
This release includes Vehicles and Pedestrians, Waypoint Paths, Basic Cameras, Simple Timeline Transport Controls and Choice of Stages.
- Cameras should now work in Old Town
- Fixed issue with pointer click acting outside initial element
- Issue with login focus fixed
- Fixed issue with walk paths being accidentally duplicated
13 - 15. Nov 2017
Central Meeting Copenhagen & Meeting with our Advisor Sid Fels
The first.stage consortium came together in November 2017 for a regular central meeting and also to present our progress to our advisory board. For this, we were happy to welcome Prof. Sidney Fels from the University of British Columbia (UBC) Vancouver as our regular advisory board member. Additionally, we welcomed the actor and director Johannes von Matuschka and the stage designer Christoph Rufer to our meeting.
Our three guests were able to try out our tools in detail and test the RoKoKo Smartsuit. They provided us with very valuable feedback and ideas for our future development.
3. Sept 2017
Newspaper Article about first.stage
There is a nice article about the first.stage project in the local newspaper of Bremen, explaining the idea and goals of our project to the broader public. Our goal to make previs accessible to smaller, low cost productions as well as the focus on natural user interfaces is described very well.
31. July 2017
First Demonstrator for Animation and Editing Methods and Tools Released
We released the first demonstartor for Animation and Editing Methods and Tools. This demonstrator is one of three demonstrators in the Workpackage 3. The functionality includes creation of projects, travel in the scene, simple path based animations, and basic camera work. The demonstrator is now in a state that basic previs tasks can be done and our partners can start testing the functions in their application context. The demonstrator is now available to our partners and first tests in the process of Workpackage 6 will be performed soon.
31. July 2017
First Demonstrator for Asset Creation Released
We released the first demonstartor for Asset Creation today. The demonstrator is availabe to our partners for testing and you can see some its functionality in the video above. It is one of two demonstrators within the Workpackage 2. The functionality includes browsing and selection of asset from a library, asset placement in the scene and custom creation of assets. In addition some physical simulationed assets are availabe in the asset library and can be used to fill the scene with compelling visuals.
20. June 2017
Central Meeting in Linz
Our second Central Meeting was held at the premises of our partner Vogel Audiovision in Linz from 20th to 22nd June 2017. During the meeting the latest features of our demonstrators were presented to all partners and first short tests were performed by persons from the application partners. The partners also discussed further steps of the software development and the upcoming evaluation. In addition our partner Rokoko presented their Smartsuit in detail and the integration into the demonstrators was discussed. We are excited to present live character animation directly integrated into our software in the near future.
31. May 2017
Natural User Interface Concept
In first.stage the focus lies on natural interaction with technology in order to enable none-technical creatives to create, present and communicate their ideas. Natural ways of interaction that utilise innate abilities and existing skills of artists for key tasks in previsualisation are the focus of the research done in first.stage. Within Workpackage 1 we therefore developed a Natural User Interface Concept that combines technical requirements which were previously gathered with the possiblities offered by natural interfaces like Touchscreens and Virtual Reality. On object oriented interface like presented in the image above will ensure that tasks can be performed similar with different input modalities and minimal learning is required when switching between devices. This is important as creatives prefer to perform different tasks like layout and camera work on different devices that best support the needs for this specific task.
4 - 5. May 2017
FMX Conference Visit
The FMX Conference is Europe’s most influential conference dedicated to Digital Visual Arts, Technologies, and Business. Every year, VFX specialists, Animation experts as well as Games and Transmedia talents come to FMX to present cutting edge achievements, state of the art tools and pipelines, fascinating real time technologies, and spectacular immersive experiences.
Our partner Rokoko had booked a booth on the FMX to present their Smartsuit but unfortunatly were not able to attend. Our partners University of Bremen and Arx Anima took the opportunity to go to the FMX instead in order to talk to people from the Digital Visual Arts scene and present the first.stage project as well as attend interesting presentations. The talks in the Virtual Production Track revealed that using game engines to produce high quality previs for professional film productions like Star Wars or Wolferine is a widely adopted approach. This proves that our approach to previs software is heading in the right direction.
15. May 2017
Demo Live Stream
The University of Bremen did a demo session, presenting the current state of the first prototypes in a live stream to all partners of first.stage. Especially the application partners were able to have a look at the current progress of the development and ask questions and give feedback. Three prototypes were presented during the session. A prototype on camera work, showing the use of a virtual camera and view finder in Virtual Reality. A second prototype with an interactive theater stage model of the Musiktheater in Linz of our partner Landestheater Linz and a replica of a real stage design. And last, the protoype on asset creation and placement.
29. Feb 2017
Previs Software Requirements Defined
In order to better understand the needs and requirements of our four application fields: Film, Animation, Theatre and Visual Effects each application partner investigated the needs of professionals in their field for previs. By conducting interviews with professionals we gathered interesting insights into the requirements for a professional previs application. In addition we performed a workshop on the requirements of all our partners. Combining all these requirements, sorting them into different categories, prioritizing all requirements and deriving the core functionalities was done in context of Workpackage 1 and we now have a common set of core functionalities which we will use to build the software for first.stage.
22. Nov 2016
Central Meeting Madrid
Our first Central Meeting with all partners was held at the premises of our partner Next Limit Technologies in Madrid from 21st to 23rd November 2016. The main focus of this meeting was to define the requirements for our software and decide on the functionality that will be build for the first prototypes. In the context of Workpackage 1 we performed a workshop with all partners to get a common understanding of the requirements from the different application areas. Using a MOCOW Analysis, the workshop provided us with a list of commom requirements that build the basis for defining the core functionality. In addition we dicussed our workplan and ideas for future workpackages.
2. Nov 2016
Press Release of University of Bremen
The University of Bremen made a press release about the first.stage project and its goals:
When a screenplay is finished, several more steps must follow before the actual shooting can begin: The preproduction phase includes visualising the scenes, creating the set and casting the actors. During this creative and agile process, members of the production team and actors develop and exchange ideas regarding the story, graphic design and time sequences. New solutions in the area of digital visualisation and interaction can open up the process for non-technical staff and simultaneously make it affordable for small production enterprises.Read the whole Pressrelease
17. Oct 2016
University of Bremen Visits Application Partners
Thomas Münder and Thomas Fröhlich from the University of Bremen travelled to Linz and Wien, Austria in order to collect requirements for natural previs tools from professionals of our project partners TOG, Arx Anima, and Vogel Audiovision. In a series of interesting discussions, observations, and interviews, we were able to elicitate how these professionals work and what they need in a previs tool. Our insights will directly feed into the production of the first deliverables of work package 1. The application partners will now continue to collect further requirements from a wider range of professionals to enlarge our knowledge about how users work and what they need in order to be productive in the most natural way. Thanks for having us, it was a great time and we learned a lot!
1. June 2016
Start of the first.stage Project and Kickoff Meeting in Bremen
On the 1st and 2nd of June 2016, the first.stage consortium first came together at the University of Bremen for a two-day program full of presentations, discussions, and planning. In very productive sessions we laid out an initial plan where we integrated our different backgrounds and expertise to form the future of first.stage. We are looking forward to researching and developing tools that empower creatives working with 3D content in a natural way! The next meeting will be in Austria, where we will collect user requirements with professionals from film, animation, stage, and visual effects!