Research Publications

Empowering Creative People: Virtual Reality for Previsualization

Muender, Thomas; Fröhlich, Thomas; Malaka, Rainer (2018)

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. Interaction techniques such as virtual reality (VR) enables users to interact with 3D content in a natural way compared to classical 2D interfaces. As a first step, we developed VR based prototypes and performed an exploratory user study to evaluate how non-technical professionals from the film, animation and theater domain assess the use of VR for previs. Our results show that users were able to interact with complex 3D scenes after a short phase of familiarization and rated VR for previs as useful for their professional work.

Soon to be published
Extending Augmented Sandboxes with Virtual Reality Interaction

Stabbert, Timo; Fröhlich, Thomas; Alexandrovsky, Dmitry; Malaka, Rainer (2017)

Augmented sandboxes are often used as educative tools to create, explore and understand complex models. For the use case of a water cycle simulation, we extend the interaction space of augmented sandboxes into virtual reality to overcome limitations of current systems that include non-interactive 2D projections and shadow problems. We present our ongoing research and the prototypical setup of our VR sandbox consisting of a triple Kinect setup, depth sensing, VR, and hand tracking using Leap Motion. The setup shall help us to explore the space of haptic redirection. Further, we discuss our water cycle simulation use case and interaction scenarios that facilitate VR interaction and visualization.

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Play While You Work: Productive Play for Digital Content Creation

Fröhlich, Thomas (2017)

In this paper, I present my ongoing dissertation project in- vestigating playful interaction techniques for productive pur- poses. The objective to find out how users can effectively create digital content while actually playing. Building upon and extending the notions of gamification, serious games and games with a purpose, I focus on productive aspects of play where not a task is extended with playful interaction, instead I aim to create playful environments where play is the main activity, while at the same time, productivity can be achieved as a direct result of the game or play activity. A first user study revealed that the approach has a high hedo- nistic value, low learning curve and creative self-perception. At the same time, the work results are comparable to stan- dard tools in a reproduction task.

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Productivity & Play: A First-Person Shooter for Fast and Easy Scene Design

Fröhlich, Thomas; von Oehsen, Jan; Malaka, Rainer (2017)

Building 3D scenes for games can be a difficult task, especially for beginners and other non-experts wanting to contribute their own ideas in an easy way. Tools for map or world creation are often complex to understand and use, don’t support the creative process of building a scene, and decouple design from player experience. To overcome these problems, we present a First-Person Shooter (FPS) game for level creation using game mechanics for all tasks, making the process more easy and enjoyable while also providing direct experience of the work from a player’s point of view. We evaluated our approach in a preliminary study where we compared our game to a simplified version of the Unity editor, representing generic world building tools, and found that users enjoy the our game, find it more usable, and feel more creative.

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All publications of the first.stage project can be found on OpenAIRE

Deliverables and Demonstrators

Demonstrator for Asset Creation (D2.1)

first.stage Partners

Simple demonstrator for evaluation of features. Browsing and selection in asset libraries, simple physical simulations, and digital crafting are presented.

Animation and Editing Methods and Tools Demonstrator (Mock-up) (D3.1)

first.stage Partners

Simple demonstrator for evaluation of NUI interaction featuring basic scene (and shot) layout, as well as basic character, effect and camera animation and simple editing functionality.

Requirements Definition for Animation Productions (D1.1)

Arx Anima

Report summarises requirements of animation film production in respect to previsualisation.

Soon to be published
Requirements Definition for Film Productions (D1.2)

Vogel Audiovision

Report summarises the requirements of film production in respect to previsualisation.

Soon to be published
Requirements Definition for Stage Productions (D1.3)

Landestheater Linz (TOG)

Report summarises the requirements of show production in respect to previsualisation.

Soon to be published
Requirements for Visual Effects Based on Computer Simulation (D1.4)

Next Limit Technologies

Report summarises the requirements of VFX in respect to previsualisation.

Soon to be published
Core functionality (D1.5)

first.stage Partners

Report outlines the core functions of the previsualisation tools.

Soon to be published
NUI Concept and Interaction Guideline for Previs Software (D1.6)

first.stage Partners

In this report the specification is concluded and an interaction guideline for the previsualisation software is developed.

Soon to be published

Newsletter & Press

Filmen beginnt im Kopf – und in 3D

negative space, 25. September 2017

We were happy to present first.stage to the nice people of negative space who visited University of Bremen in September 2017. They produced a nice video showcasing the project vision and status. Follow the link to the full story.

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Schnelle Rohfassung für große Effekte

derStandard.at, 9. September 2017

Interview with Kai Erenli from our project partner Arx Anima about previsualisation and the first.stage project. Follow the link to the full story.

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Newspaper Article about first.stage

Weserkurier Bremen, 3. September 2017

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.

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Second slide
Press Release University of Bremen

University of Bremen, 25. August 2017

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.

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first.stage Newsletter 2017

first.stage Partners, June 2017

“Fast and easy previsualisation for creative industries“ is an H2020 project funded by the European Commission and planned with a duration of 36 months with 8 partners from 5 countries.

During the last three decades information technology has facilitated a paradigm shift in almost all areas of human life, from manufacture, technology, science to sociology and art. Cutting edge computer animation has become a staple in almost all high budget triple-A productions. But information technology has yet to extend its reach beyond the movie blockbusters to smaller productions, and to media that are only slowly adapting to new technologies. One of the areas in which information technology would be very helpful, but no efficient solutions are available is previsualization. Previs, for short, allows directors and other creative people to develop ideas, break boundaries and convert their artistic vision into reality. This is not to say that there are no tools available for previs at the moment. Their main drawback is the high degree of technical expertise required to operate them. This, in effect, means that any production needs to hire an expert in this area specifically for this purpose. This is not feasible due to monetary restraints and the fact that this abolishes one of the major benefits generated by previs, saving valuable time. The first.stage project has taken up the challenge to develop new solutions to allow creative people utilise previs for their project.

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