Oculus is most well known for their leading role in the virtual reality industry. Recently, however, they have dipped their toes into the animation industry… and when I say dip their toes, what I really mean is they did a cannonball.
Henry, a loveable hedgehog, is the protagonist of their short film. He lives in a wonderful tree house and has it all decked out in preparation for his birthday party. His birthday wish? Friends.
The entire film is done using Oculus’s virtual reality software. The audience starts off in Henry’s bedroom, but they can look around his house, watching him bake his birthday cake and interact with decorations. He does everything he can to smooth his quills and avoid pricking potential friends. Oculus wanted to show that virtual reality could be used for more than just games, seeking a family friendly outlet to show off their technology — and they succeeded. Henry is both loveable and sympathetic, and the virtual reality creates the wonderful feeling of being dropped inside a Pixar movie.
..and it should.
On Henry’s team are Kendal Cronkhite, a former Dreamworks designer; Bernhard Haux, formerly one of Pixar’s top character artists; and director Ramiro Lopez Dau, known for his work on Brave, Monsters University, and Cars 2. While it is sort of shocking that Oculus would have collected such a great team for a short film, Oculus has never been a company to half-ass anything.
Just last week, it was announced that Oculus had acquired Surreal Vision, one of the top 3D scene reconstruction teams in the world. All three founders of Surreal Vision: Richard Newcombe, Renato Salas-Moreno, and Steven Lovegrove boast PHDs and ridiculous resumes, inventing SLAM++, Dense Planar SLAM, DynamicFusion, KinectFusion, and more.
With the Oculus Rift looking at a Q1 2016 launch, it is clear that they are going to come out swinging, challenging games, movies, and entertainment as we know it.
Henry‘s film will be available for free to all Oculus Rift owners.