Disney Animation was showing Cycles, which is their first narrative VR short film that they produced during private screenings in Park City during Sundance. It’s a beautifully-produced piece that explores the connection to place, memories and nostalgia in a way that only VR can. It was a part of an internal innovation initiative within Disney where lighting artist Jeff Gipson’s pitch was greenlite allowing him to direct the piece.
I had a chance to talk with Gipson as well as with senior software engineer and technical director of Jose Gomez. Gomez mentioned that he’s also working on other virtual production initiatives within Disney meaning that there are many ways in which VR technologies are changing the production pipeline within Disney. They wanted to use production quality formats within real-time game engine of Unity, and start to do the types of hand-crafted flares that are hallmarks of Disney animation within this project.
Gipson and Gomez shared their creative journey and challenges of the project, and this will no doubt be one of many more immersive projects and experiments from Disney. It’s also going to get Disney to think about how to distribute these types of immersive experiences.
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