#790: VR Artist Goro Fujita: Transformative Moments in Quill with 3D Drawing & Animation

goro-fujitaGoro Fujita is an artist in residence at Facebook, and he’s been creating virtual reality art and animations since 2015 when he started working at Oculus Story Studio as an art director. I had a chance to talk to him at F8 in 2018 where he told me about his journey into creating spatial art and experiential stories with Oculus Quill as his main tool of choice. He shares his turning points and transformative moments that including adapting to creating spatial perspective through sculpting & painting in 3D, working the emotions of scale, meeting characters his been drawing in 2D for his entire life within VR for the first time, being able to embody animation movements, creating weather in VR, and creating rhythm sketches as a reference for character animation.


Here’s Fujita’s Worlds within Worlds Quill drawing that went viral

This is a listener-supported podcast through the Voices of VR Patreon.

Music: Fatality

Rough Transcript

[00:00:05.452] Kent Bye: The Voices of VR Podcast. Hello, my name is Kent Bye, and welcome to The Voices of VR Podcast. So I'm doing a bit of an experiment on The Voices of VR here. I'm going to be releasing 10 episodes of talking to different artists within virtual reality, having them talk about their process. And I'm doing this just because I'm coming up here on publishing 800 episodes on The Voices of VR. I have another like over 400 interviews that I haven't published and so I just want to start releasing like batches of topics on specific themes. I reach out to my Patreon supporters and ask them which of these different 16 topics would you be the most interested in and Interestingly enough, the top one that they voted for was artists talking about their process. So as I go out and do these different interviews at these different conferences, I've been gathering on a wide variety of different topics. And over the years, I've consistently been talking to artists about their artistic process. And in large part, because I think that it's the artists who are really pushing forth and innovating what's even possible with the medium of virtual reality. And so I'm going to be starting off here with Goro Fuchida. This is an interview that I did with him at the F8 conference back in 2018. And Goro has been at Aqua Story Studio, and then now he's an artist at residence at Facebook. And so from the very early days of Quill, he's been an artist who's really been trying to push the limits of what it means to create art in a spatial medium. And so he's somebody who just goes in there and experiments and creates all sorts of different animations. So at SIGGRAPH this year at 2019, Goro actually premiered one of his pieces there. It was called The Last Oasis. It was this whole room-scale experience where you're in a Quill experience and they had actually optimized Quill to be able to put it onto the Oculus Quest to be able to see these experiences. And so this is a conversation that I had with him like over a year ago back in May of 2018 and He talks about some of the biggest turning points for him as an artist working in this medium, some of these aha moments that he had in terms of what it means to make this type of spatial art. So that's what we're covering on today's episode of the Voices of VR podcast. So this interview with Goro happened on Wednesday, May 2nd, 2018 at the F8 Developer Conference in San Jose, California. So with that, let's go ahead and dive right in.

[00:02:35.058] Goro Fujita: So I'm Goro Fujita. I'm an artist in residence at Facebook. And my background comes from animation initially. So I went to school for 3D animation and then graduated as a 3D animator. And back then I was actually in Germany. I grew up in Germany, lived there for 25 years. And I worked there and then after graduating as an animator, I worked there for about two years in advertisement and feature film industry. But at the same time I got super interested in creating digital painting. So digital painting back then was kind of like an underground movement still. And then first people started painting in Photoshop and I was like, wow, this is amazing. And I met this guy at school who painted in Photoshop and I was like, and how can you actually paint digitally, right? And that's when I first got in touch with painting and got really interested in it, but I still finished as a 3D character animator. And then working professionally, I was still painting as a hobby. And then more and more, I got job offers in both industries, animation and vis dev and concept arts. And that's when I started applying with both portfolios, right? Animation, demo reel, and like digital painting. Then miraculously in 2008 I applied to DreamWorks Animation and they actually picked me for art, for the art department. That was my first big career change where I was like, wow, a company like DreamWorks picks me for art and at that point I still thought I was a better animator. than a painter, you know. And that's actually irrelevant for later when we talk about it. But basically, then I became a visual development artist, stayed at DreamWorks for almost eight years. And then I started working as an art director at Oculus Story Studio. and stayed there for two years. And now I'm an artist in residence at Facebook. And what's interesting is this job now brings all of my things that I did in the past, like I did animation, right? I did digital painting. I also did video editing. And I also did motion graphics, everything, like during my time at DreamWorks, you know, I always try to also keep my knowledge in animation alive and stuff and ask for tasks. Can I do effect animation and stuff like that? And now we have this tool, Quill, which brings all of these elements together and I can do it myself. And that's like for me the magic as a creator and kind of a dream come true and I thought it would be never possible and I never dreamed of that. And now it's possible, and it's been so amazing. And that's when I did Beyond the Fence. It's like a VR short film, short experience, I would say, which was specifically designed for Facebook Spaces, the social VR platform, multi-user platform. And I basically designed Beyond the Fence for multi-user consumption. So my first ever piece that I did for multiple people to enjoy.

[00:05:31.432] Kent Bye: Yeah, well, I know that as I was watching the evolution of Oculus Story Studio, I know that Oculus had different programs from Medium, as well as the Quill that was being developed, and Skillman and Hackett had developed Tilt Brush, which got acquired by Google, and that was at the GDC back in 2015. And so you started to see this evolution of different tools, either illustration tools like Tilt Brush or Quill, and then sort of the more sculpting tools like Google Blocks or Oculus Medium. Maybe you could sort of trace the evolution of the different tool sets that you started to have access to as an artist For being in VR to be able to create experiences completely within the medium of VR

[00:06:10.737] Goro Fujita: Yeah, it starts with digital painting, right, when I use Photoshop and stuff like that. And what's interesting is back then when I did digital painting, I was actually doing 3D images where I would paint a depth map. That gets a little bit technical, but I basically painted a depth map and then would distort the image and create left eye, right eye images. And then I would just wiggle them around in an animated GIF animation. And then it looks like 3D, right? And that was in 2013. And once I started developing Quill in 2015, I believe, for our experience D'Angelica, right? And back then I realized when I first painted in Quill that I actually did something like that. It's almost like I desired to have my paintings to be 3D, right? And initially it was a little bit difficult to paint in 3D space because you're so trained to paint in X and Y, right? You're always constrained to one surface. And all of a sudden, like the six degrees of freedom, they open that third dimension to you, right? So you can actually use the Z axis as well. And that was for me like definitely an adjustment because you could tell that my first drawings I tried to paint in perspective, you know, and I tried to compensate but you don't have to because in VR perspective is given, right, because you're in VR space. So it's very interesting because even if you don't know perspective you can actually paint in perspective. But because I'm so trained in just compensating all of my characters and, you know, like paintings will look like two and a half D, like kind of skewed and flat, and I would rotate it and I'm like, oh, why am I fighting this, you know? But then it took about maybe two days to really get used to it. And then I basically unlocked that third dimension for me, like that understanding, right? And then that started to change my life. and mentioning like Oculus Medium as well, like I was one of the early adopters to use it. And for sculpting, like I also did 3D animation and 3D modeling as well. So I'm very familiar with 3D creation tools. So when I created my first sculpts in Medium, it was unbelievable because within an hour I could create like a detailed model, right? And as I progressed, I could like do daily sculpts which some people can do with 3D tools, but I wasn't that tech-savvy to be able to do that. But it totally enabled me to create something without having to deal with technical barriers like extrusions, topology, and edge loops and stuff like that. I just do it, right? And that was for me a game-changing experience in terms of sculpting, because then I can actually sculpt a character in a complicated pose, i would never do that in a 3d software right like because you want to reuse that character so you will try to sculpt it in a t-pose or something rig it and then put it in a post and then adjust the vertices to make it look nice and all of a sudden because there was no barrier anymore you can just do it in an hour right like i i'm not afraid to just do things I like so I would just go straight into the pose and I can do like gestural poses that I could never easily achieve for like a regular 3D approach. So in 3D modeling that was like game-changing for me. In terms of painting, the distinction between sculpting and painting is now getting blurrier. And the way I see it is by approach. So if your approach is more like sculpting, you see like a mass of clay in front of you, you subtract stuff or you add clay to it, you smooth things, and there's lighting in the scene. I see it as a sculpt because you feel like you're modeling clay. When you paint and quill, for example, it's just pure color. It's just a brush and color. And the processes, I feel like I paint in space versus sculpt. And that's for me the distinction between virtual painting and virtual sculpting. So when I paint, it's just magical to me that, you know, like when I paint in Photoshop, I always have a 3D set and 3D environment in mind. I know exactly where the light comes from and that's how I can create my illustrations. But now the light becomes actually physical, right? I can put it in a physical spot and then I can basically compute in my head how the light behaves. And that's like super mind-boggling to me because now I can rotate, right? So that's really cool if you draw a character and then you can actually light it by hand by painting color, right? Not by just turning on a light. No, you just paint color next to each other and then it feels 3D, it feels volumetric, it feels dimensional. And then you have it physically in front of you, you know? And then there was this magical moment that I remember forever was when Inigo, the creator of Quill, came to me and he showed me Quill for the first time. I was drawing and I'm like, you know what? Let me try to draw my character, you know? It's a robot character that I drew all my life. And I'm like, let me try to draw this guy, you know? And I drew him. And for the first time, I was meeting him almost in real life, right? It's in virtual reality, but A character that accompanied you for decades, all of a sudden is standing in front of you, and you see him in life-size, how you imagined him to be, and he's holding an umbrella. It's raining, right? And you hear the rain sound, and I made an umbrella myself, and I was standing under. Here the rain drops on my umbrella, and I was just looking at him, and I was in awe, right? That was the first time where I was inside my mind, inside my imagination. And that's when I was like, this is going to change the game for any artist in the world. Because it was like, this is mind boggling. It's like a character that I send out to the world, but in 2D illustrations. He would go to New York. I've never been to New York. But he sees it first. And I send him out in the world. And I narrate all those kind of stories around him. And then all of a sudden, he's right there. And that's a moment where I was like, oh my god.

[00:12:26.301] Kent Bye: Yeah, and I think one of the first big paintings that I remember that you had done in Quill was the one where you sort of zoom in and you have all these sort of worlds within worlds within worlds and you have this dimensionality of the scale that I think you can start to do experiences like you had created. Maybe you could talk about your early explorations into scale and what that means as a VR artist. There's the Powers of 10 documentary that sort of goes out into all the different dimensions and then it sort of zooms back down into like the microscopic. It sort of reminded me of that, of being able to kind of like zoom out, but it was like this fractal representation of like seeing yet another layer of emergence of characters and stories.

[00:13:03.200] Goro Fujita: And that's a really, really good question, because that was another memorable moment that I will never forget. So there was like, during my time when I worked with Quill, there's those moments where I'm like, something unlocked. And I'm like, oh my god. And then what you mentioned was my piece called Worlds and Worlds, which went viral on the internet. I think it's one of my only videos that went totally haywire. And that was like, for me, Inigo told me something. So the creator of Quill, he was like, So I was like, where's the limits? So how big can I go? And he said, oh, in theory, it's an infinite canvas. And I'm like, infinite? Yeah, right. How can it be infinite? So I'm like, let me test that out. So I started painting the human world first. So the human world, there's this guy holding, felt like, OK, what if the guy holds a little snow globe and an island in his hands? And that's another world within. So I started painting this park environment with this guy character, and I'm like, And I can make him big, right? Like the size of Godzilla or the size of in the palm of my hands, which is like already super magical that you can actually do that at any time, right? In Photoshop, if you paint something, that's the scale, right? You can zoom in and then it becomes pixelated, you know, if you zoom out. It's very different because the emotion changes. When you see something at a different scale, you perceive it differently. In Beyond the Fence, for example, in my short film, I played with exactly that element that sometimes miniature gives you a certain emotion and sometimes real scale gives you a certain emotion, right? And sometimes giant scale gives you a different emotion. So I was like, okay, let me play with this. So I was painting the park first. And then I started painting this little island. And I was painting it pretty roughly, but I was like, what if I make it huge and actually put detail in it? So I made it huge, life-size, and started painting grass. And I look up to the side, and I see this giant head looking at me. And I'm like, oh, this is crazy. And then I painted this rabbit world. And then I was like, what if I do a bug world? So I went into the flower level, put a little ant playing guitar to other bugs, insects, and I'm like, you know what, that's not enough. I feel like I want at least four levels. So I'm like, okay, I don't wanna go into the microscopic level, I could, but I'm like, okay, it would be nice if there was aliens holding the planet. So basically I zoomed out again, and the first time I did this, i remember saying like oh my god and i was you know i'm an early bird i'm always like the first one in the office you know it was still dark outside and i was talking to myself you know i zoomed out and i'm like oh my god you know this is crazy right and i remember that because it was unbelievable right and then you scale out scale out zoom out zoom out zoom out then i'm in the park and i'm like okay what if this park is actually a snow globe so i made a snow globe and i'm like okay what if aliens are holding it and those aliens are like racing around the planet right and that's how i came up with that idea and it only took me four days to do right and that's the crazy part of it that VR creation tools enable you to work exponentially faster because of six degrees of freedom. You're not constrained to a 2D surface anymore, right? So yeah, and once I zoomed out and then what you can do is you zoom all the way and you put your hand inside the ant and then you can zoom in and out however times you want and you will always zoom into the same space and I was kept doing this because I was like this is insane right and then I was like okay let me shoot a video of that and then I know that video doesn't capture what VR truly is right you know once you get into VR it always feels very different right because you feel presence and if you see a 2D screen you can never relate to it you know even now when I see like a 2D video I would say like hey I can't wait to see this in VR because I can't really imagine what it feels like until you're in there right so basically i made that video and posted it and then within seconds it was like 200 views a thousand views two thousand views i'm like what's happening and then that thing went so viral that my wife's wedding dress's tailor she texted me saying I saw your piece like the planet thing you know like I don't know how you did it and I'm like whoa this is insanity she has like nothing to do with industry nothing right she's a tailor and that's when I knew like oh it could reach much more people than just creators you know because it's content right so

[00:17:38.309] Kent Bye: Yeah, and we're here at F8. And I know that you were doing about five different hour-long demos of Quill, where you go in and immerse yourself and essentially create an entire world that has characters, and a scene, and a context, and an environment, but also animation. And I caught a bit of a glimpse of your presentation here in the press room yesterday. And I remember you saying something that was really striking. You said, if you want to animate the butterfly, you've got to just become the butterfly. And there's this concept of you just immersing yourself and really using your body to start to move and animate the scene. And so maybe you could talk about that process of really becoming these characters within virtual reality and kind of infusing your own personality and different dimensions of your embodiment that is then captured. And then you can kind of zoom out and sort of observe different dimensions of your embodiment from a distance.

[00:18:28.725] Goro Fujita: I like your questions because you're hitting all those points that I remember, you know, because those were like all those moments where something got unlocked, you know, like the engineers implement a new feature. And I was like, oh, my God, I know Kung Fu, you know, like, really, just like the matrix, because, like, you already have the skill and knowledge, but then the tool unlocks a new functionality that enables you to do it in a very intuitive way, right? And the magic of like, for example, the animation brush you were referring to, to become the butterfly, right? When I say like you, this is the first time in animation, where during the creation process, I can actually feel the rhythm and act out of the rhythm of the animation. So when I do 2D animation or 3D animation, you have to draw the keyframes first. Same with 3D, you have to pose the keyframe first. And then you have it in stepped curves, which means it's like pose to pose to pose, right? So it just jumps from one pose to another. And it's really difficult to see the timing because all the in-between movements are missing. So if you want to do like a very natural butterfly movement, it's really hard to do because you don't see the rhythm until you change all the animation curves to spline and then you do a little bit of polishing and then you start seeing it, right? So it's a long process where you do pass by pass by pass, you know, blocking pass, in-between pass, you know, cleanup pass. and now you bypass all of that, right? So you do it in real time. And what I love, what I love so much about it is because not only animators, but anyone who has seen a butterfly is able to animate it now. So recently we did like a masterclass in Paris, like I participated in a masterclass where a lot of industry professional comes to do talks and We had quill demo machines there, and I created a little tutorial for people to use. So it was one watering can with a flower. And it was one little fire pit. And then it was grass with a little bit of rotten stuff and trash in the grass. So I wanted basically to tell the people, so you water the plant first. And they're like, how do I do this? become water right it might sound weird you know but become the water and just let it flow out of the can and while you let it flow you just hit the trigger and you just flow right like water flows and then they just instantly do it right and they see the water coming out of the watering can right away and they're like Oh my god, and then they understand, right? And they start watering the plant, right? And I'm like, okay, now you watered the plant, now go to the fire pit and animate fire. But don't just paint fire, become the fire, right? And he's like, what do you mean? And I'm like, you know, you've seen bonfires, right? You've seen it. So just imagine you become the fire and move like it. So they do it, right? And then it's magic because those are like, some of them were first time animators, first time VR people, and they were able to do it, right? And then coming back to your point about the move like a butterfly, everyone knows how butterflies move, right? They're kind of like jerky little movements. And we came to that grass bed with a little bit of trash. And I put the trash there for flies to fly around. So I was like, OK, let's put the flies in there first. You know how flies fly, right? And they're like, yeah, yeah, I know. And I'm like, OK, become the fly. Push the trigger and just become the fly and fly around the area, fly around the trash as if you're interested in it. And they start moving smoothly because flies fly in a smooth manner. and then they see the flies appearing in front of them and they're like oh my god this is crazy and I'm like now really fly like a fly because flies don't just fly in circles and then they start going crazy with it you know and doing loops and stuff like that and I'm like okay now you have a fly now I want you to paint a butterfly pick a different brush make it a little bit bigger pick a different color like yellow right and now become the butterfly and they get it and that was for me like My god, without any animation experience, people are now able to feel the rhythm, do the movement, and make them actually look like the real thing. That's pure magic to me.

[00:22:55.846] Kent Bye: Yeah, as you're describing that I have this metaphor of the Greeks had two words for time one was Kronos time and the other was Kairos time and the Kronos time is sort of the linearization of like, you know setting all the keyframes first and so everything's pre-planned and scheduled and the Kairos is sort of embedding yourself in the quality of the moment in the time and it sounds like that process of like that real embodiment is really getting into the essence of that like in virtual reality you're able to get out of the abstractions that you need in order to communicate with the limitations of the technology but yet the more and more we move forward we're trying to remove all those abstractions and allow you to be completely immersed and to really embody these different movements and then as you do that, then you're able to really add that spirit or soul or personality or what do you want to call it, but it's basically like your embodied movements that's captured that has a different quality than something that was interpolated between two keyframes.

[00:23:51.658] Goro Fujita: Absolutely and I think what I wanted to add on like it's excellent because you're like segwaying into the right things that I wanted to tell you about because it's like for me I was an animator I know how to animate in 2D I know how to animate in 3D but actually the creation process in VR and how animation becomes so intuitive, it actually makes me also a better animator, because now I can feel rhythm, right? I can feel the animation. And for animators, that's like a dream come true, because that's something you strive for, right? For example, if I see dance animations, you know, like I'm actually a dancer, I breakdance. And when I see dance animations done with traditional media, it always looks a little bit stiff. I really rarely see like the full rhythm, you know, where people are just feeling in one, two three four you know like it's on beat but it feels a little bit stiff and dance is so much more self-expression than just movement right and then i was like this is crazy because actually now you can marry those two you know when i do a dance animation it can be actually my body movement right And people then might ask me, yeah, why can't you do it in motion capture? I mean, you could, right? But the beauty of it is if you, for example, I do sometimes rhythm sketches in Quill, right? So I just use the Anim Brush, you know, and recently I did like a martial arts test animation, you know, where it's like one, two, three, uppercut, you know? And I'm not a fighter. I did like a little bit, maybe six months of Kung Fu, you know, but I kind of know what it looks like because I animated stuff like that before. And now I was like basically at work, right? Like posing it, you know? And I was like, okay, it's like one, two, jab, and then uppercut. And I was doing it many times on my own, you know, just feeling out the movement. But then of course you have to draw, so you can't use the other hand to draw as well, right? So what I did is like, I memorized that rhythm and the movement, and I just scaled the movement down in my head, and sketch the movement out in a small manner, like with my drawing hand, like one, two, three, uppercut, land. And then I have like this little rhythm sketch, which is just like a dot moving around. And I use that as a reference to animate a character. And I know like one, two, I know the hits, right? And that's where I put the poses. And all of a sudden I have this super dynamic animation that does not look like motion capture because I exaggerate the movements, right? but so organic and so like powerful right and that's when I was like oh my god it's changing everything not how I paint but also how I animate and how I approach stories and everything right so now now I just can't wait to like I always tell everyone guys if I show you you're gonna be convinced because this is gonna change your life you know because it's surely changed mine

[00:26:43.405] Kent Bye: Well, when you say it changes everything, has it changed the way that you think? Because there's a principle of embodied cognition, which is that we don't just think with our brains. We think with our entire bodies. But we think with also our environment. So as we change environment, it actually changes our cognition. And so I'm just wondering if you've seen different changes in either the way that you think, or maybe it's changed the ways that you dream, more vivid visualizations that you see, and then that process of then going into the VR and then creating stuff.

[00:27:10.945] Goro Fujita: I think it's probably better to think of it unlocked new doors, right? So maybe I already had the skill, but I wasn't aware of it, right? So almost like whenever a new functionality in Quill gets unlocked, instantly I get new ideas. Oh, I could do this, I could do this, right? So it's more like it's opening new gates. So, oh, now I have this. Now I can do this that I didn't think it's possible. So in a way, yeah, maybe it enhances the way, I think. It's almost like I was constrained before, and now you open a valve. And then I'm like, oh, I can do this now. So I think it's better to think of it that way, that it just enables me to do things that I never imagined being able to do. And that happened so many times in the past three years, which is like every time I'm like, oh my god this is crazy you know and and that's like the one thing like you you might get used to vr right but you don't get used to like when when when you feel like a magician and that moment that came a lot a lot of times during the process when i was painting and quill because for example another key moment that i remember well when i created weather right so i created this storm piece And what I did is I brought in storm sound. It was this violent storm sound. And I was at work again in the morning at six o'clock. And I'm inside Quill with this crazy storm sound. And I'm just envisioning how the trees move, how the grass moves. So I start painting the environment first. painting like a little farmhouse, painting a wind vane, and then I start like moving the trees, you know, and then I match it to the sound, right? So, because storms have different nuances, right? It could be like a small storm, a violent storm, like a crazy hailstorm or whatever, you know. The sound that I had had a very specific tone to it, so I would just animate to it, and then I animated the grass. What you can do, what Quill enables you to do, is also you paint grass first, and then you make an animation out of it, and then you use the nudge tool. to manipulate the grass over time. So you can actually easily add wind animations and stuff like that, which is really difficult to do with a traditional 3D pipeline. You know, I've done that stuff before, but it's very technical. You need to understand about dynamic systems, force fields, you know, and then you have like a lot of parameters that you have to like adjust, you know, friction and velocity and gravity. And that's, to me, like the technical part was always very difficult for me, right? And now I can just feel it. I become the wind. There we have it again, right? So I became the wind, and I animated a small patch of grass. And I was like, can I actually select those frames? So I took the selection tool and then held the selection tool in there for a few seconds to make sure that I have all the frames. And then I duplicated it. And all of a sudden I have moving grass in my hand. And I'm like, oh my god, this is incredible. And then I started populating the environment with moving grass. And that's another time where I spoke out loud by myself. I'm like, this is crazy. I'm creating weather. And there was another moment where I was like, this is unbelievable that it enables you to do so many things that you haven't even imagined. I mean, like, when can you imagine that you can duplicate something moving in an intuitive way, just grab it, move it there, populate it, you know? And that was, to me, like one of those magical moments.

[00:30:47.749] Kent Bye: I don't know if I still answered your question, but yeah. So finally, what do you think is the ultimate potential of virtual reality and what it might be able to enable?

[00:31:02.002] Goro Fujita: That's a good question because I think it's still early on. I think we're still exploring that, right? And I think with Beyond the Fence, my short film, that was for me like a first step. What is immersive storytelling with multi-user? So I wanted to create something like immersive theater, right? Because I feel like linear stories, we experienced it in movies, right? So it's like, cut, it's edited, you know, and you get fed the information you need to know. And that's like a very linear storytelling model, which doesn't really work well in VR because the user is the camera. So it's like a free camera, right? So you can look wherever you want. So I was like, how can I leverage from that thing? Like, how can I leverage from it that I cannot direct the user? So that's when I came up with that idea of Beyond the Fence. Doing like an immersive theater-like piece in form of a VR storybook, where we have eight vignettes narrated by a narrator, but each vignette lives on. So basically it's an infinite loop that doesn't feel like a loop. For example, it starts linear, where you follow an action, but then it stops, but it still stays alive. So for example, When the narration stops and then the robot is still breathing, he's looking around, birds are flying. So you don't feel like the story stopped. You feel like you're just in this middle section where you can explore, right? And I wanted to see how can I leverage from that and how can I use multi-user, like I want them to talk, I want them to discover, but I also want them to follow the story, right? So that's when I came up with that model. But this is the first of its kind. And I have a lot of ideas still that I want to explore. But I think there's so much we can still learn. So it's really hard to say, where does it go? I just know that it opened up so many doors for me as a creator. And I want to explore what's out there. And some of the things that I do might not work. And some of them might. And maybe the unexpected things work. And I was actually like, I didn't know if Beyond the Fence would work until we screened it for the first time to multi-users. And then I noticed that the social behavior changes slightly when you're in there with other people. So I noticed when I just show it to one single person without me being in there, They just watch the story. They do explore on their own, but they don't do much in terms of interaction. They just watch. And then when we first showed it at Oculus Connect 4 last year, I was observing. That was a big moment for me because that's the first time where we send it out to, like, users that maybe first time VR users to see something like this. And then I see them, like, showing more empathy when they are with other people. They go down to the sad robot, you know, put their hand on top, you know, and also like when he flies away at the end, they wave. And I've never seen them wave when they see it by themselves. So that was something like, oh, this is really, truly magical. Because people feel like they're together, so they act slightly differently. And I liked also the fact that people pointed at things. Oh, did you see this? And did you see that? And oh, look, he's behind you. And they look around. And that was exactly the goal for me when I was doing Beyond the Fence. But I think that's a beginning of something. I think it's limitless and I can't wait what people come up with because already what you see, we have this virtual animation group on Facebook where a lot of creators using creative tools like Quill, AnimVR, Medium, Toothbrush to create animations and slowly people starting to tell stories. So I think it's too early to predict anything because people come up with craziest ideas. And I just want that to happen. And I just want to be surprised by content that comes out in VR.

[00:35:06.445] Kent Bye: Awesome. Well, I just want to thank you for joining me today on the podcast and sharing your story and all your different big turning points in your evolution and journey into virtual reality. Thank you so much. Thanks. So that was Goro Fujita. He's an artist at residence at Facebook. So I have a number of different takeaways about this interview is that, first of all, well, there's a number of different turning points that Goro explains in this interview. One of them is just what it means to paint in 3D. He spent his entire life as an artist doing perspective painting and drawing, and he said it took him a few days to get out of that mindset of compensating for perspective, because when you're in VR, it's much more like you're painting in 3D or you're sculpting, but you don't necessarily have to compensate for perspective because you're actually embodied in the environment. And so just to hear his process, as well as for him to start to paint some of these characters that he's spent his entire life with and to be able to actually meet them face to face for the first time and to actually feel like they are coming to life. And also just how Goro has been jumping back and forth between the painter and the animator and doing artistic visual concepting and the more artistic side. And then there's the other side, which is to actually give dynamic motion to this through animation. And so he always wanted to combine this, but he, on his career path, went down one path rather than the other, but he was always kind of interested in it. And now with virtual reality, he's able to actually combine these two passions that he has with something like Will, where he's able to rough sketch some of these characters. And it was interesting to hear that usually when you're making these characters, you're drawing them in this more neutral T pose. But as he's drawing the characters for the first time, he's able to actually draw them within the poses. And then from there, being able to actually animate things and give it some dynamic motion. And that was another one of the big turning points was learning that you can actually kind of become the butterfly, become the water, become the fire, become the wind, all these different dimensions of actually embodying the movement and to add his either rhythm sketches or his own sense of embodiment and definitely feel like it's got a different feel when you see something that is moving that you expect to be moving from a human versus what is a little bit more of like a computer generation you know, doing the keyframes and doing all these different passes. And so then he asked, like, well, why wouldn't you always do just motion capture? And there's something about the animation that you're able to give a little bit higher of an abstraction and really exaggerate some of the different movements. And so he was talking about this process of rhythm sketching, where he would make just a dot drawing and kind of make the motion that he wants. And then from that, use that as an inspiration to do other types of character animations. So The final thing that I just wanted to point out is just the piece that Gro did, the Worlds Within Worlds, which when I first saw it, it just really blew my mind because it is like one of those moments where you're kind of zooming in into a scene and you keep kind of going into a new context as you zoom in. starts off with the alien world, you zoom in, you see this person in the park, and then you zoom into that, and then you see this little rabbit in its rabbit hole, and then you zoom in even further to then go in to see this insect playing a guitar for other insects, and then he, from that point, zooms all the way out into the largest context, and it's really that powers of 10 moment where you see something at one scale and you're able to then just switch the context into all these other different scales. And so I think it was just a really powerful experience to see in 2D and he said it's even more powerful when you're able to see it within the context of virtual reality. But he said that there is this real emotional impact for being able to play with scale in that way, and that there's all these different emotional shifts and changes that happen when the scale changes. So I think that may be in part why that video, The Worlds Within Worlds, went so viral. It's just because it is so emotionally impactful to see something shift out into these other contexts. And VR is a medium where you can really start to explore that. So that's all that I have for today, and I just wanted to thank you for listening to the Voices of VR podcast, and if you enjoy the podcast, then please do spread the word, tell your friends, and consider becoming a member of the Patreon. This is a listener-supported podcast, and so I do rely upon your donations in order to continue to bring you this coverage. So you can become a member and donate today at patreon.com slash Voices of VR. Thanks for listening.

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