Interview with Jake Mathew: VR Animation Keeps My Special Memories

Many of us try to record our special moments by taking pictures and videos, Jake Mathew, an animator/designer, used VR animation. His work Back To The Future Universal Ride VR brings back so much childhood memories for a generation. Join us today to know more about Jake and his animation world.

VeeR: How long have you been creating VR, and what inspired/motivated you to join this field?
 I have been creating VR animations since 2015. When I first started, there wasn’t a lot of software available to me to create stereoscopic 3D 360 animations, but by 2016 (and the rise of VR popularity) a lot of animation software had updates that supported VR animation. I am a motion graphic designer full-time, creating animations for TV commercials, TV shows, and film. So far, my VR animations have only been a hobby that I do in my free time.

VeeR: Where did you get the ideas for “Back to the Future Universal Ride VR”?
 For the “Back To The Future Universal Ride VR” video, I was inspired to make it because of my love for Back To The Future, animation, and virtual reality. This was the perfect project that incorporated all 3. When I was a kid, I remember going to Universal Studios and riding the Back To The Future ride. It was amazing. Sadly, that ride no longer exists and many Back to The Future fans willl never get a chance to experience that. I had a copy of the original ride footage, so I thought VR would be the perfect opportunity to “simulate” what the ride would have been like for them. With my animation software, Cinema 4D, I projected the ride footage on a curved screen and had the viewer be inside a CG Delorean car. I added lighting/color effects to the car interior to help blend what was happening in the footage and what was happening inside the car.

VeeR: What do you hope to achieve with these works?
 I create artwork and animations for a living and always strive to create entertaining and visually appealing pieces of work. VR is just another medium to express my creativity.

Back To The Future Universal Ride VR

VeeR: It’s common consensus that VR storytelling is vastly different from that of traditional photography. What has been your biggest challenge in VR production, and what were some of your solutions? Also, what are some of the biggest strengths and weaknesses of VR filming in your opinion?
 I exclusively make animated VR videos, never live-action film. A lot of the production problems involved with live-action VR video does not exist with an animated production. (no need to stitch together footage, no need to digitally remove wires/equipment, etc) The only problems I have are creative ones. Most of my animations I create for a living are for TV and the web where the viewer is looking at a flat screen. As an artist, I can control the composition and camera moves in my animations. But with VR, the viewer as the choose of looking all around so I have to make sure that whatever they are looking at is visually appealing.

40 Feet

VeeR: Would you like to share some tips with rookie VR directors (for example, the camera language and positioning, FOV, lighting, audio recording)?
 For my animations, I find that a static camera or a linear camera move works best. Anything camera move that is too crazy or is constantly changing speed makes me a little dizzy when viewed through a VR headset. When I am building my CG environment, I try to make everything at accurate scale to help with the immersion.

VeeR: Is there any low/mid/high price range productional gear/software that you would like to recommend (in terms of shooting, editing and stitching, etc.)?
 For VR animations, the software I use is called Maxon Cinema4D. But most major 3D modelling/animation software now supports VR cameras/rendering. As far as compositing, there are not a lot of options. Normally, I would bring my 3D animations in to Adobe After Effects for post effects/compositing, but currently After Effects does not support VR animations. (and when I say VR, I mean stereoscopic 3D 360 animations) There are a few plugins and software that supports monoscopic 360 compositing, but I am only interested in stereoscopic 3D.

To view more of Jake Mathew’s work, please go to : http://veer.tv/vr/SpinningBlade