This is part 4 in a series about using VR to create holographic experiences today.
Part 1: Where are all the holograms?
Part 2: 3D depth and immersive holograms in VR
Part 3: Best VR apps for reliving your memories as 3D holograms
Part 4: Volumetric holograms you can experience today
Table of contents:
Augmented reality holograms are the closest we can get right now to our sci-fi future. The basic option is to place a 3d model (scanned or sculpted) into your space (from online libraries like Sketchfab). This is great for cultural heritage artifacts, ruins, and the like. Depending on how the model was created, you may be able to animate the models for game-like experiences or recreations of people or animals you can interact with.
The problem with most of the assets on Sketchfab is that they are static. There are some that are animated, but it’s just a model moving in a certain path. The best-looking holograms are, in my opinion, made using volumetric video. Just like photogrammetry lets you take photos from many angles to create a full model (effectively, a photo with volume), the same camera setup can be used to capture movement. Some hardcore engineering work is then required to play back the part you’re looking at from the right angle and at the right scale. When done right, it’s like magic. It’s a video, but it’s viewable from any angle.
Finding volumetric video online
There are a number of companies that specialize in producing this kind of content for games, TV, and movies, that have demos that you can try on your VR headset today. There’s not really a “Youtube” of volumetric video yet, especially with the content being expensive and complex to produce, but there’s a selection of demo clips if you know where to look:
- 8th Wall – 8th Wall is a platform by the company Niantic (creator of Pokemon Go) for hosting augmented reality experiences. Most of their demos are advertising content, but there are a few fun ones. Samples from their gallery:
- Arcturus – Arcturus is a company that captures performances for virtual and augmented reality. Their online demos are hosted on 8th Wall.
- Welcome to Holostream (sample capture of adult male)
- Crescent – Produces content, site is Japanese
- 8i – 8i is a company that creates volumetric video content. They have a demo app on Steam that puts you in the middle of action scenes that could be from a movie. They also have a great demo of Shihori singing Harmonizer. It’s easy to imagine the future of paying for “private” concerts by big-name performers that stand life-sized in your own living room performing for you:
- Volumetrix (AR portal, primarily athletic captures, site is Japanese)
- Sample gallery – Be sure to click and drag around to see different views
- Evercoast – Evercoast is a company that creates volumetric video content:
Though the demo selection isn’t very wide yet (mostly just advertising for capture services, there’s still some fun stuff out there. As technology like this becomes more accessible to a wider audience, I imagine there will be more content available, until eventually people share volumetric videos (perhaps at lower quality) as a somewhat common thing. In the meantime, create 3D immersive videos and photos using the tips and techniques in the other articles in this series. Any other thoughts? Leave comments below!
Disclosures and footnotes
- We may earn a commission for purchases using our links.