Neoscape helps people and brands create and explore new spaces, new environments, and new experiences. And as technology advances – especially real-time technology – people want new ways to tell their stories. Therefore, we thought it would be helpful to provide a glossary of terms, designed to help make sense of a growing number of options. We’re excited to see how this technology will provide benefits for our clients.
Augmented reality is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. A view of reality is modified by a computer and as a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality.
Augmentation is conventionally in real-time, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive. Artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world.
Uses: discovering/exploring in a pre-real environment:
Augmented reality is usually in real-time and in context with real events, such as sports scores on TV during a game. With real estate, it can be useful to see the total building or space from an elevated perspective. For example, imagine the entire building or an entire building unit (sans ceiling) as an interactive element on display. Anyone with the right technology (phone, glasses or tablet) can take in the entire space at a glance from their point of view. Splitting the building open, looking at floor plans and space and visualizing materials and colors in the natural lighting of the environment helps people better understand when presented in this manner. Replacing an entire wall with a new paint color or material in the available lighting and in the entirety of your view is very impactful.
Another important aspect of augmented reality is its ability to maintain the constructs we currently rely on in a social environment. For example, when in a meeting people find it important to make eye contact. Augmented reality provides users with the ability to keep that basic level of interaction. Being able to see a virtual object and see everyone else in the room makes the wearer of this technology more comfortable.
In contrast to augmented reality, virtual reality replaces the real world with a simulated one – an alternative existence. Virtual reality can recreate sensory experiences, which include virtual taste, sight, smell, sound and touch. It replicates an environment that simulates physical presence in real world or imaginary places.
Most virtual reality environments are shown on a computer screen or with special displays, and some simulations include additional sensory information and focus on real sound through speakers or headphones targeted towards VR users.
Uses: discovering/exploring in a pre-real environment:
In architecture and real estate, virtual reality can give depth and scale for a surrounding space by tricking our brain into thinking it is actually in the curated space. We can tap into its spatial abilities to understand how the space feels, and how its layout can help or hurt with location memory. By simulating and now also stimulating, we can experience how a space feels and ensure we consider and deliver its ultimate, designed use.
With wearable technologies a device needs to be worn or used to experience the virtual or augmented experience. Here are a few popular wearables used for real-time:
Type: AR, Wearable
Google Glass is a wearable head device and falls under the augmented reality category. At the beginning of 2015, Google announced that it would stop producing the Google Glass prototype. It is currently only being supported for Enterprise use. Glass displays information in a hands-free format with a screen – similar to eye glasses. It has Internet capability can take photos, videos and more.
Related to: Microsoft HoloLens
Type: VR, Wearable
Google Cardboard is a simple technology – literally a cardboard box – used for holding a phone up to your eyes like a View-Master to create a virtual reality experience. It uses the onboard gyroscope and accelerometer of your phone to simulate moving the view as you turn your head and look up and down.
Related to: Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear, Project Morpheus, HTC Vive, Microsoft HoloLens,etc.
Type: VR, Wearable
Oculus Rift is part of the reason the hysteria of virtual reality and wearable technology kicked off. Oculus Rift was funded by a Kickstarter campaign and bought by Facebook in 2014. When it came on the scene, the Oculus Rift reignited the virtual reality experience. It plugs into a computer’s DVI and USB ports and tracks head movements to provide 3D imagery.
Related to: Samsung Gear, Project Morpheus, HTC Vive, etc.
Type: AR/VR, Wearable
Microsoft HoloLens is the first, fully untethered, see-through holographic computer headset. It is half virtual and half augmented reality. The device merges real world elements with virtual ‘holographic’ images, seamlessly integrating with your physical places, spaces and things. You can look at a game while also seeing the real world surroundings around you.
Related to: Google Glass
As each of these technologies continues to advance we will discover new uses for the tools – bringing new real-time technology tools into the marketing strategies around real estate, architecture and design. At the same time, finding the right tool will be a vital part of telling the right story. We’re looking forward to experimenting together.
Yelena Kamenetskaya, senior digital artist has been with Neoscape for five years. We know Yelena likes to dress up and in honor of Halloween this week, she shared her favorite Halloween costume (Selene from the ‘Underworld’ movies) – which she handmade herself! Her skills at Neoscape extend beyond sewing to lighting, texturing, camera work, fx work and digital painting. Meet Yelena here and learn more about her favorite Neoscape projects, her favorite game show and what it’s like being a senior digital artist in our Boston studio.
What has been your favorite project you worked on at Neoscape? Why?
My favorite project so far has been the Medal of Honor Museum film we recently completed for Safdie Architects. It’s fairly easy to love different projects for their aesthetic and the challenges they present us with. However, the Medal of Honor Museum stands out because of its national importance and the value it shows for our heroes.
What is a typical day like for you?
My day usually starts off with a few hits of the snooze button, some leisurely reading on the commute to the office, and a hot cup of coffee. I like to review everything that needs to be done for the day first thing in the morning and decide on priorities. For the rest of the day my focus is on creating renderings and films, reviewing progress with my team, attending meetings, and helping out with an occasional green screen shoot.
What is your favorite part about working at Neoscape?
My favorite part about working at Neoscape is the steady stream of challenges that our clients present us with. Every new project is an opportunity to try something new, explore, and learn from both what works and what doesn’t. To push the limit and grow as an artist and a person.
You’re chosen as a contestant on your favorite game show. What show is it?
That would be ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’. Time to brush up on random knowledge.
Halloween is this week. What was the best Halloween costume you’ve ever had?
When I was in college I dressed up as Selene from the ‘Underworld’ movies. I actually went fabric shopping and spent two weeks hand-sewing the corset because I didn’t want to buy a cheaply made one, and have to say it looked pretty formidable when put together with the rest of the costume. I still have it to this day.
Twenty years ago, we set out to create new ways for people to see the world. At Neoscape, we continue to be fueled by a desire to look at things differently, combining creativity, craftsmanship and a passion for storytelling to bring the built environment to life, while pushing ourselves to explore innovative solutions to complex problems.
For our 20th anniversary this year, we launched our new brand and celebrated in style with clients and friends at Stage Nightclub in downtown Boston with a Vegas-themed party. They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but here’s a peek at the festivities:
Thank you to all who attended, and cheers to the next 20+ years!
The 7th annual Architecture and Design Film Festival (ADFF) took place in New York this month, showcasing some of the best architecture and design films of the year. As well as exhibiting a virtual reality experience for Bjarke Ingel's new W57 apartment building and submitting our film The Dryline, we created an ident to be played at the beginning of the award ceremony.
With ‘Design Directs Everything’ as the theme our concept was to create a live action and 3d animated ident that would describe the abstract process of design from a first person perspective, using architectural forms with simple textures to evoke a captivating design conscious environment. Here's how our idea looked on the storyboard.
After carefully selecting objects for the desk (some were borrowed from designers in our studio and others from our favourite London design shops), we carefully laid them out, creating a designer's dream work space. Filming took place over a two day period, capturing the objects from a variety of wide and close angles.
Combining live footage and 3d animation
The shapes we created resembled specific architectural forms, including joints, sculpture and conceptual buildings. These were modelled in 3d and combined with the live footage using careful motion tracking and compositing techniques.
And Here's the final ident...
To find out more about any of the fascinating architecture films that were on show, visit the ADFF website.
Casey is based in our New York City studio but has spent some time in our Boston headquarters, often seen admiring our studio gym and holding meetings in our container conference room. When asked why Casey became a motion graphics artist, he let us know the film Akira, an animated movie, inspired him to pursue a career in the creative field. We’re sure glad he did and has been with Neoscape for five years.
Here’s a bit more about Casey, his role at Neoscape and what he does outside of work.
What does working as a motion graphics artist entail?
A motion graphics artist at Neoscape does a bit of everything like film editing, sound editing, some graphic design, 2D, 3D animation for logos, callouts, VFX and transitional elements used in our films. There is also compositing, some storyboarding and shooting film for client interviews, b-roll and sometimes helicopter shoots. I’m also proficient in After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, 3ds Max, Adobe Audition and 2D / 3D animation and audio / video editing.
You currently work in Neoscape’s New York studio, but have also worked in the Boston studio. What have you liked about working at each?
Boston Likes: co-workers, the gym inside, the locker / shower inside the office and the container conference room is awesome.
NYC Likes: co-workers, smaller office, smaller team, a lot of lunch choices, the extra responsibility and the commute is a lot shorter.
What are your top two favorite movies?
Drive (2011) and Akira (1988)
Akira was one of the first animated movies I saw as a child and its one of the reasons I got into a creative field. Drive is simply the coolest movie I have ever seen: great cinematography, awesome characters and acting and of-course an awesome soundtrack. I watch both films every couple months as a source of inspiration.
What do you do for fun when you’re not working at Neoscape?
I enjoy playing video games, hanging out with friends and family, and going to the movies and live music shows.