PresenZ is a new patent pending technology that revolutionizes Immersive 360° CG movies.
It enables interactive parallax in pre-rendered 360° movies. So head positional tracking can be taken into account while viewing a pre-computed CG movie.
PresenZ allows to have the image quality of a Sci-Fi blockbuster together with the complete immersive feeling of a real time game engine. Right now, It is the only functional system we are aware of able to do that.
The goal of an immersive 360° movie is to give the viewer the illusion to be physically “in” a movie scene, being there on the locations, among the actors.
CG stands for Computer Graphics, and means that the movie images are generated by computers.
To achieve this, like in Virtual Reality, the images presented to the viewer’s eyes must be perfectly coherent with his head movements. So when the viewer looks up for instance, he will see the sky of the movie location he is currently “in”.
Like a regular theatrical movie, the viewer cannot decide where he is going or modify the plot.
It’s like being a passenger in a ride, not the driver in a video game.
Our head is almost always in motion. Taking into account only the rotation movements is not enough. To achieve a comfortable and believable immersion feeling, the viewer head rotations and translations must be used.
Standard 360° movies are taken from a single point of view, so they cannot support parallax. When the viewer shifts his head to see what’s behind an object, the perspective doesn’t change. This quickly breaks the immersion feeling and brings discomfort and even cybersickness.
Our technology, PresenZ offers the same image quality than 360° movies but also allows for interactive parallax. It makes it possible to see an object from different angles or get closer and see the details of it.
But more importantly, it truly gives you the feeling of being present in the scene and avoids cybersickness.
Stereocopic quality: IPD, roll and poles
The stereoscopic versions of standard 360° movies, have two pre-recorded images, one for the left eye and one for the right eye, thus allowing a depth feeling.
Since PresenZ allows to shift the viewing point we have perfect stereoscopy by design. At playback time, we just create two different viewing points corresponding to the left and right eyes of the viewer.
So with PresenZ, the Interpupillary Distance ( IPD ) can be changed in playback to match the viewers IPD, while with standard 360° movies, this value is fixed and “baked” in the movie.
With PresenZ we also have correct stereoscopy when the viewer rolls his head. With standard 360° movies, the stereoscopy is “baked” for a perfectly horizontal head and cannot take into account any head roll.
Another problem of the standard stereoscopic 360° movies are the sphere poles. When looking completely up or down, there is a pinch problem. Again with PresenZ, the stereoscopy is perfect even for the poles.
Those differences allows PresenZ to offer a much more immersive experience than standard 360 stereoscopic movies. And above all, it avoids cybersickness and makes the experience very comfortable.
Cybersickness is similar to motion sickness.
It happens when there is a discordance between the vision and the internal ear.
For instance without interactive parallax, When you shift your head sideways, your internal ear registers that acceleration, but your vision doesn’t get any change.
The sensibility varies from people to people as well as the strength of the symptoms.
But usually it brings some headache and mild nausea that disappear after the experience.
In short: Image quality and scene complexity:
In game engines, the 3D scene is re-rendered in real-time according to the viewer head rotations and translations, so like PresenZ, a perfect immersion feeling can be achieved.
But rendering an image in real time ( at a minimum of 60 frames per second ), strongly reduces the maximal scene complexity and overall image quality.
PresenZ uses pre-rendered images, so they are computed offline and played at the proper frame rate like a regular CG movie.
Several hours of computation for a single frame can be spent to achieve a perfect image quality.
So PresenZ is not restricted in image quality or scene complexity like real time game engines.
A standard movie has a Point of View. With PresenZ, we introduce the concept of Zone Of View. It is a volume in which the viewer can move his head freely.
The idea is for the Zone Of View to cover all the positions your head can reach while staying seated. We use a volume of roughly one meter deep and width and half a meter height.
Since the HTC Vive and Oculus extended their zones of tracking, we developped solutions to enlarge the Zone of View. If the objects are not closer than 1,5 meters from the Zone of View, you can make the Zone of View much bigger without overloading the GPU at playback time. Otherwise, you can also place Zones of View beside each other. The player allows for seamless transition between the boxes.
Right now we can offer VR short experiences for:
• Marketing and promotional events.
• Showroom presentations.
• Rides for amusement parks.
In the near future: VR feature films and documentaries.
• Thanks to PresenZ, the audience has the feeling of being inside the movie with their favorite characters.
• The immersion in the movie brings a very high impact in the users’ mind.
• CG Assets from the feature film can be reuse for the PresenZ 360° movie.
• The new and unique immersion feeling brought by PresenZ makes the experience attractive, draws consumers to the experience.
• Since the experience is unique, it attracts a lot of attention and the number of contacts far exceeds the number of people actually living the experience.
• The audience has the feeling of being inside the world of the brand.
• The immersion in the movie and the interaction with it can cause very high impact in users’ mind and helps memorization.
• The sizes and volumes of the products appear as in real life to the viewer. So if those aspects are important they can really be felt by the consumer.
• Assets from other CGI commercials can be reused for the PresenZ film.
We license PresenZ to content creators.
We can also create your VR project ourselves. In this cas, we offer the full chain:
• Consultancy in VR movies, guide you for the movie concept.
• All CG animation from design to final rendering.
• Renting of the computers with VR headsets (Oculus DK2) and technical assistance on the event.
Those are the current figures, they are evolving constantly.
• The resolution for the full sphere is 4000 by 2000.
• The size of an image in PresenZ format is between 5 and 20 MBytes depending on the complexity of the scene and the amount of occlusions.
• PresenZ runs at 90Hz and has been succesfully tested at higher framerates.
• PresenZ is compatible for the moment with the Oculus CV1 et the HTC Vive.
• The movie itself plays at 30 fps.
For the bandwidth: (at 4000*2000 and 30fps):
• Right now, we are playing from RAM or M2 SSDs to get around 500 Mbytes per second.
• We will soon implement temporal compression and we will end up shortly around 30-40 MBytes per second, so a standard SSD will be able to play it and the movies will be easily downloadable.
PresenZ runs on the standard Oculus target machine and on gamers' laptops.
The system has two phases:
First phase: the pre-rendering:
We found a way to “spacialize” the computer graphics rendering and to gather just the right amount of information to cover what's visible form the allowed zone of view.
We developped custom plug-ins for Arnold Render to acheive it. They have now been ported to V-Ray but those are still under closed Beta.
Second phase: the real-time player:
At render time, a new 3D scene is created around the viewer for each frame of the 360° movie.
This 3D scene has a real volume and all colors and lightings are already computed at pre-render.
Full computer generated movies only:
Right now, the technology applies to full CG movies only. We can integrate humans captured in stereoscopy at a certain distance (from 7-8 meters) and put them on billboards in the CG world. Further developments will make it possible to integrate humans shot live very close from the viewer.
But almost everything possible in CG movie can be done with PresenZ, including complex motion captured characters like in Avatar.
Smoke, volumetric effects:
Fog and semi-transparent smoke is the enemy, the technology doesn’t like it. Dense smoke works nicely.
We can have some volumetric effects, like a cigarette smoke for instance, but a lot of it will overwhelms the system. This might be fixed in the future but we don’t have a clear development path for that limitation.