Vivek Aiyer, Founder and CEO of Appearition spoke to one of India’s leading newspaper The Hindu, on Immersive Technology and what it takes to be an AR-VR creator:
How do you get in on the action in this futuristic industry of AR and VR?
The augmented (AR) and virtual reality (VR) market is expected to reach $162 billion by 2020 from a mere $6.1 billion in 2016, predicts IDC. Although these immersive technologies have been around for a while, it is only recently that the enterprises and industries have adapted these in their processes.
Globally, it is one of the fastest growing computing platforms. This means, thousands of jobs will be created, and several other skill sets will widen.
What it takes
“An AR-VR content creator should have an innate sense of curiosity and the ability to convey through a visual medium,” says Vivek Aiyer, Founder and CEO of Appearition, a global AR-VR based company. These technologies are a medium for problem-solving and process enhancement. More than software and hardware, these technologies are human- based and hence understanding the audience is very important.
A content developer of AR/VR would be extending from other disciplines, 2D illustration and animation and 3D modelling and animation. Gamification and content development for games plays a huge role in picking up skills. One can either be a gaming content developer or enterprise AR-VR developer. Content developers would be expected to align their skills within the tools a company has selected to use as the AR/VR engine, that is, most often Unity (C# / JS) or Unreal (C++ / Blueprint), native (JAVA / JS / XCode). They should be proficient in the use of the tools that deliver 2D content, such as Adobe After Effects, Adobe Animate, Animatron, Moho (Anime Studio) and so on.
Artists using 3D modelling software to build objects must be well-versed in rigging, the process of creating a skeleton for a 3D model so that it can move. There are various tools in 3D creation and animation which an AR/VR content developer should be able to use, such as Maya, 3DS Max, Blender, Motion Builder, Arnold, and so on.
Creators should aim at developing a vertical scrolling-based storytelling, the basis of VR content creation. India has a great advantage in the content space.
In terms of the digital assets, the only difference between AR and VR assets is how the app developer implements them at the time of rendering.
Profiles that suit
Any normal design degree, with good coding skills and strong written and oral skills will form the core of an AR-VR creator. “It is important to develop a core base of knowledge on the mentioned skills which can then be applied across the immersive technology.” Creating a compelling content is the need of the hour in this space. The industry not only requires programmers, but also content creators. For instance, IIT-M teaches its Applied Mechanics students the basics of Haptics through several subjects like psychophysics or bio-mechanics. In the near future, there is a possibility of a dedicated degree in this space.”
Building a portfolio
“As a student, it is important to build a wide knowledge base. Get into the habit of reading journals and technical documents, stay abreast with the latest technology news,” says Aiyer. Technology in this space is ever evolving; hence; it is important to keep oneself updated, skill-wise.
He says, “Build a portfolio by trying to come up with solutions for problems. AR and VR in the enterprise space is all about providing a utility-based solution and not a fun work element.” It is important that students think on contextual data.