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Image: Universal via Financial Times
WARNING: Spoilers ahead! You may want to consider revisiting this after you have seen the film.

Cats is a feline fever dream. And quite possibly the cinematic experience of the year. Not because it is the best film, or even a great one, but because of its sheer audacity to be such an unapologetically weird movie. It is a Hollywood blockbuster film, with A-List talent, that makes little to no sense. This is quite the accomplishment, and one I was not prepared for.

Sing me a song of your story

I have never seen the musical. I only know of its prestige by word of mouth and the greater cultural ethos. …


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker

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Image via Disney
WARNING: Spoilers ahead! You may want to consider revisiting this after you have seen the film.

We’ve reached the end. The end of a saga that began in 1977 and was told over multiple generations of people. Expectations have been reasonably high, especially to those that had grown up with Star Wars, that lived through the release of the prequels, the acquisition of Lucas Arts by Disney, and the beginning of the new wave of Star Wars storytelling. …


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Entering the new year has been bitter sweet for me. On the plus side, I will be starting a new job at a company I’m very excited to be working for (more on this later), but sadly that means I will no longer be working on The Soap Collective in a full-time capacity.

Soap was borne out of the desire for Logan Dwight and I to explore creative storytelling through future tech. Our goal was to create experiences that were diverse and inclusive. Experiences that glorified traits we felt lacked significant representation in our media such as empathy, creativity, and curiosity. When we launched the company, we wanted our first piece of public work to be an original project that showcased our ethos. So in 2014 we began working on an iOS app called Role. Our pitch was, “make Dungeons & Dragons as easy to play as Apples to Apples”. We wanted to create a product that utilized the power of mobile phones to enable people to use their imagination with their friends. …


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Immersive tech is on the rise and the industry is working as fast and hard as possible to get mass market appeal. With the release of ARKit and ARCore everyone is excited to be able to build immersive experiences for hundreds of millions of users. It is without a doubt great for the XR industry as a whole, but I think it is a mistake to deem VR in trouble or out of the running.

I keep thinking about this tweet from Tony Parisi:

VR and AR have more of symbiotic relationship than a contentious one. For a majority of content creators, they have a similar workflow and use the same tools. If you know how to create VR you can create AR, and vice versa. They may differ in use cases and design challenges, but they build off the same principles of physical interaction with digital content. …


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A watch face for every occasion + space.

1. Customize your watch faces

By default your watch will come with a bunch of watch faces ready to go. …


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The inaugural IMAX VR has opened on Fairfax Avenue in LA. It has already boasted an impressive 20,000 unique visitors with ~$15,000 in weekly revenue, and that was back in April! I finally made my way over to the VR center to check out what the future of U.S. VR arcades might be like.

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IMAX VR is located at 157 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90036.

Driving down the street, you can’t miss the pixelated blue paint job of the IMAX building. It’s easily the most exciting looking spot on the block. If you happen to find street parking (🤞) you’ll only be out $1 per hour. …


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We can all agree that enums have been quite handy in Swift. We can also agree that dealing with sectioned data in a UITableView is a pain. By leveraging Swift Enumerations managing table view data can be a breeze.

The Problem

Sectioned data in a UITableView is annoying to deal with. It can get quite cumbersome to keep track of everything that is needed to render rows of table data that have multiple sections. Here is a quick list: all the data sorted by section, the current section you are viewing, the current row within that section you are viewing, the total number of sections and rows, loading / refresh state if applicable, etc. The more of this we can keep track with using less objects and variables, the better.

The Solution

1. Setting up our TableSection enum

Creating a enum is fairly straightforward. There are a couple important things to note when using an enum specifically for UITableView


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April 17th’s top VR links

SpaceX is taking SpaceVR’s cameras into orbit to deliver the astronaut experience to everyone through VR

It’s really cool to see VR being used to bring new perspectives to people. From SpaceVR’s CEO, Ryan Holmes:

“When [astronauts] go into space, they have this really deep, emotional feeling, it’s almost like they’re awakening to the universe… I saw them as being much better people, much more connected to other people [as a result of] seeing our place in the universe. …


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April 3rd’s top VR links

New John Carmack Software Doubles Oculus Home Resolution on Gear VR

With some fun new software being labeled as “Cylindrical TimeWarp Layers”, it appears that the Oculus team has been able to effectively double the resolution of Oculus Home on Gear VR. This is really exciting if this same technique can be used in other applications moving forward.

Disney Research Shows How VR Can Be Used to Study Human Perception

This research (with accompanying video) shows some experimentation with different virtual UI that enables a person to catch a ball in the real world. It’s pretty neat to see how accurate a person can be with minimal input in VR.

The Email I Send Anyone Who Asks Me How to Get Started With VR Design

VR UX designer Adrienne Hunter shares the tips she sends to people that ask her, “What do I need to learn in order to be a VR designer?”.

BONUS: How to measure VR success: 7 experts weigh in

Autodesk recently interviewed VR experts from seven companies, including The Soap Collective’s very own Logan Dwight!


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March 27th’s top VR links

Experiment: Accurate Modelling in VR

Interaction Designer Eyal Shahar has been doing some experimentation with VR. In this post (and accompanying video), he shares some of his findings on interactive free form modeling with minimal UI.

Vimeo Adds Support for 360 Videos

I’ve been wondering when Vimeo would make the leap. They’ve also added a whole section to their blog on the fundamentals of creating 360 videos. You can check that out here.

Gorillaz — Saturnz Barz (Spirit House) (YouTube — Free)

The Gorillaz join the ranks of artists putting out 360 videos! Check out their latest single on YouTube. It starts a little slow by forcing you to be in a 360 space while watching a 2d screen, but it quickly opens up.

About

Ian Hirschfeld

VR Consultant and Software Engineer at @unity3d. Making things with @SoapCollective. Curator for @hackdesign. Office hours: https://calendly.com/ianhirschfeld

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