A WebVR Kitchen Tour: Immersive Tech is Bringing Vigour and New Possibilities to ArchViz
Through our communication and insight sharing with a list of excellent CG artists and studios that won or were nominated in the 2019 CGarchitect 3D Architectural Awards, sponsored by the leading render farm Fox Renderfarm, multiple professional techniques and compelling stories have been applauded by the wide audience. Whereas, ArchViz is no longer just about 3D images and videos, cutting edge technologies empower it with vigour and new possibilities. One of them is the interactive technology developed with 5G and web-based 3D, which is on its swift way to change people’s life.
The winning artwork in the Interactive Category, MasterBrand WebGL VR Tour created by Pikcells, a multidimensional content creation agency, takes us into the space without needing to download apps or plugins. Why not enjoy the novel experience, and have a look at what your favorite color for the cupboard is.
MasterBrand WebGL VR Tour
For immersive experience: https://lab.pikcells.com/pikcells/web-kitchen-fullscreen/01/
Pikcells is an innovative content creation agency based in the UK and USA, comprises digital artists, interior designs, stylists, software developers, thinkers, makers and doers. The agency has their very consistent philosophy towards art and design, despite the endless pursuit of quality photorealism, the artists and designers spare no effort to maintain the high quality with scale, while searching on distinctive design for customers and brands.
Experiment and embrace is their attitude towards the technologies flooding in the market nowadays. So their art creations are organically integrated with emerging technologies. Their winning piece, therefore, is just one of their successful interactive and immersive cases in the portfolio. They even formed an in-house R&D team that has been working on more effective solutions for clients, additionally, a more playful experience for the audience.
Showreel Winter 2020 by Pikcells
Lab site at pikcells.com
Fox Renderfarm is glad to have the chance to talk to Richard, Creative Director for Pikcells, about the distinctive features and tricky challenges of the Kitchen VR project, and also go deeper into the topic about the advanced CG technologies on marketing businesses - its application, business value, and how Pikcells will keeping breaking the limits of online 3D tech.
Fox Renderfarm: Hi, Richard, would you please give a brief introduction about yourself and Pikcells. Ltd?
Richard: I am the Creative Director and Co-founder of Pikcells. Pikcells are an innovative content creation agency, founded in Huddersfield in the UK in 2003. We're firm believers in good design being the foundation of everything we create and the teamwork hard to create some of the best photoreal CGI in the world, design and style beautiful interior spaces and make brilliant product customisation tools and AR & VR experiences.
ArchViz by Pikcells
Fox Renderfarm: How do you feel about winning The CGarchitect Architectural 3D Awards?
Richard: The CGarchitect awards started around the same time we did and we’ve always aspired to win something. The standard is extremely high with some of the best work from around the world being entered so we were delighted just to have made the shortlist. Winning the interactive category was genuinely a real surprise, we hadn’t even prepared a speech!
Fox Renderfarm: Could you give a brief introduction to this amazing interactive kitchen space? And what was the inspiration for it?
Richard: The idea of creating a really realistic online 3D space has been something we've discussed internally for a while so when our client asked us to create something to showcase the future of interactive tools we put this vision into action.
We took an existing CG scene and closed off the area behind the camera, adding additional furniture and props, then optimised the geometry, baked the light then built the custom shaders and configuration code. Finally, we designed the UI to work on all devices including VR headsets to provide a seamless experience.
It's something we are very proud of as it showcases what our team is capable of and pushes the envelope for online 3D tech.
Fox Renderfarm: Why did you choose this interactive project to participate in the competition? Which part of the work do you like the most?
Richard: We’ve worked on a number of interactive tools in the last year, mostly projects for our clients where we’ve had to meet certain requirements. The flexibility of this brief along with the fact that ( as far as we know ) this is the world’s first web-based VR kitchen configuration tool, made it the obvious choice to submit to the competition.
Fox Renderfarm: This 3D online kitchen tour brings a very novel experience to the audience with VR and interactive technologies. What do you think is the biggest breakthrough in this tool? And what leads you to these creative ideas?
Richard: Until recently VR required high-powered desktop machines connected with wires to the headset, but the newer hardware and web-based 3D applications allow us to create light-weight environments with additional interactive elements. Also, the visual fidelity is something which we feel is a real breakthrough, usually these kinds of interactive tools use crappy lighting methods whereas we have opted for fully GI lit baked light maps which really enhance the quality.
Fox Renderfarm: How long did it take to finish the work?
Richard: As the project required some experimentation it did take a little longer to complete, roughly 2 to 3 months of development and some minor alterations to the UI until we had a final working product.
Fox Renderfarm: What software, renderers, plugins did you use in this work?
Richard: The 3D side of the project was created with 3ds Max and Corona renderer, the same software we use for our CGI. Our artists create a low poly, optimised scene and render to textures. Our developers then take over with the interactive side of the project and use the WebGL framework and some custom coding to complete the tool.
Fox Renderfarm: Did you meet any difficulties, and what did you do to solve it?
Richard: The biggest difficulty with the interactive kitchen was creating a low poly environment optimised enough to deliver a convincing visual on any device. Unfortunately at the time, the best way to do this was by brute force manual modelling.
Fox Renderfarm: We found that Pikcells is more than architectural visualization, it devotes to utilizing various forms of interactive and immersive CG technologies in interior design, styling, and commercial campaigns, etc. Could you introduce the project that you are proud of the most?
Richard: Another of our favourite interactive projects from last year is an online property marketing tool created for Vita Student. This is also a first of its kind and features 3D building models online which can be explored by potential students. They can then explore the floor plans and rooms as 3D models before entering each apartment type and communal areas with a guided 360 tour. The availability of each apartment is linked to the database to give real-time feedback on which are already taken.
Vita Student Accommodation by Pikcells
For immersive experience: https://www.pikcells.com/portfolio/vita-student-webgl-tour
Fox Renderfarm: How do you think these cutting-edge CG technologies influence marketing?
Richard: In terms of marketing, there are so many benefits for businesses to embrace emerging tech. Not only does it promote a brand as being the pioneer of their field, but businesses can instantly see benefits in terms of engagement with their customers as they present them with all the information they need to make an informed decision. Additional benefits include cost savings associated with not having to produce large quantities of samples and brochures and the ability to quickly amend a product offering in line with trends.
Fox Renderfarm: What’s the development vision for Pikcells?
Richard: We plan to keep pushing the limits of online 3D tech, investing in WebAR and WebVR while continuing to build our team and improve how we do things.
Fox Renderfarm: Any other things you want to share with CG enthusiasts?
Richard: Just that we are always on the lookout for enthusiastic, passionate 3D artists to join our team.
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