Examples Reflecting Quality of Work
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been passionate about VFX and 3D. As a 13 year old, I would make popular explosion-lightsaber videos and was ranked top 20 on the FXHome forums under the pseudonym Billy3D (Yeah!). At USC my passion for VFX dovetailed into HCI and Interaction Design, coming full circle into VR and AR post-graduation while working at Deloitte.
A year ago, I started Imaginfinity, an Indie VR studio. Since then, my work has accumulated over 1 million views in total, averaging 176K views per video. In addition to reaching wide audiences on YouTube and Facebook, they’ve been featured on SamsungVR, Autodesk, Vrideo and VeeR.tv. Alongside, I've done my share of writing and speaking to evangelize VR to creators during this critical formative period. Most recently, Medium rated me as a Top Writer in Virtual Reality.
Note: A chunk of the 360 content below is stereoscopic 3D and is best viewed in a VR headset. YouTube links are Cardboard/DayDream compatible. If you have a Samsung GearVR, please click here!
India's 70th independence day - a 3d 360 celebration
This stereoscopic 360 project combines live-action footage with CG elements to create an experience celebrating India's 70th Independence Day. Shot in some of India's most iconic locations, from the India Gate in New Delhi to the Wagah Border in Amritsar. On Facebook 360, this experience garnered 219K views, 7.4K likes, 4.2K shares and 162 comments.
Star Wars VR Mannequin Challenge
The goal with this experience was to make something once and deliver it to a range of platforms - VR enabled or not. The 2D version of this experience reached 333K views, 4.3K likes, 1.3K shares and 617 comments on Facebook.
Check out Autodesk's coverage of this experience as a part of their "Journey to VR" series - 6 Fun Facts About Imaginfinity's Star Wars Mannequin Challenge
mixed reality mannequin challenge
For this video I collaborated with the comedic talents behind Punjabi Vines to create a short experience outlining the 6 stages of really any Punjabi party. On Facebook, this video garnered 152K views, 2.3K likes, 1.2K Share and 868 comments, becoming particular popular amongst the South Asian demographic in the UK, Canada and US geographies. During the residency I hope to create technically similar projects using more advanced virtual production techniques leveraging HoloLen's new Spectator view in concert with After Effects.
Mixed reality studio tests
I've recently setup a small mixed reality stage in my home studio. Here's a sampling of my initial tests to perfect camera calibration and compositing workflow to create a seamless end result. Cool, but why should creatives care? Here's why:
Imagine using this same technique for virtual production purposes - creating a digital set that's rendered in real-time with interactive props (tracked by attaching the Vive controller to it). An indie creator could have any digital set at their disposal. They walk away with the post already done. No James Cameron budget required!
Even a mundane livestream discussion could be turned into something fun and interactive. Having access to a large green screen stage could enable even more possibilities. Now also imagine taking the VR camera data and bringing it into After Effects to enable finer grain post production.
Halloween Snapchat Filter Comes to Life
This fun little 360 project heavily employed Adobe Fuse CC to create the Zombie character. It was also animated with Adobe/Mixamo animation library, with additional swatting animation added in Maya. Rendered with OTOY Octane 3. Adobe After Effects + Mettle Skybox Studio for Compositing and VFX. Premiere Pro for final finish and sound.
Golden Temple 3D-360 Experience
This is a short excerpt I released of my Golden Temple footage. I have far more detailed footage, something I'd seek to be converted into an interactive 360 tour of one of India's most popular destinations. However, paying client gigs have had to take presidence. The Creative Residency would afford me that opportunity to shake the dust off this footage. On Facebook, this 360 video gained 147K views, 3K likes, 1.5K shares and 176 comments.
diwali experience mashing up cg and live-action
Here's another example of leveraging my India footage to create a short 3D 360 experience blending CG and Live-Action elements. The piece starts off with a cosmic perspective from the international space station and ends with fireworks on the ground at iconic destinations across North India. On Facebook 360, this video garnered 58K views, 2.5K likes, ~1K shares and 61 comments.
This experience was luck enough not only to hit the Fresh Section but was also Trending on SamsungVR. It also made the front page of Vrideo and has been featured several times by VeeR.tv
short narrative documentary on indian national hero
This is first 3D 360 experience I created from end-to-end under the banner of Imaginfinity. On Facebook 360, it garnered 153K views, 2K likes, 1.4K shares and 66 comments.
This project helped me lock down my pipeline for dealing with stereoscopic 4Kx4K footage in Adobe After Effects and Premiere. CG character creation and animation was done using Adobe Fuse CC. Beyond the blatant 3D, there's a lot of subtle VFX at work, with the water fountain sequence being particularly noteworthy - the pond was empty and water was added in post in a stereo-correct manner. Looks great in a VR headset!
Example of how Vr enables more than just 360 video
We've touched on Mixed Reality & Virtual Production adove. This video is a good example of how VR is a novel content creation tool for existing mediums like video vlogs and instagram video. Shooting in 360 video doesn't mean outputting it as such. Think about it - with a spherical camera users can stay far more in the moment, feel safe knowing action in every direction is being recorded. Then in post production, the user can create their "directors cut," tightly framing things they feel are important. Best part, the content can be framed for any aspect ratio and resolution - 16:9 video as below, 1:1 video for instagram, 6:19 vertical video for Snapchat. I believe the future of vlogging will tend towards 360 video and spherical capture, but still delivered as traditional content given the flexibility it provides. Just like the Mevo camera does today with a wider than normal lens, eventually live streams will leverage 360 video capture, using rudimentary face recognition and voice detection to seamless cut from one speaker to another. No complex switchboard or multi-cam mixing required. One 360 camera and a smartphone will do it all.
Cupid's Span in San Francisco - a stone throw from the iconic Bay Bridge. Describing the Bow & Arrow sculpture, creators #claesoldenburg & #coosjevanbruggen wrote: 📝 "Love's trade-mark weapon naturally evokes the city's permissive and romantic reputation, while formally its taut curve resonates wonderfully with the structure of the famous suspension bridge in the background." 🏹💘🌉🏙 Follow the journey: @bilawalsidhu
vr evangelism and training content
The Creative Residency is about "equal parts creating and sharing." Below are two examples of the style of post-produced and live-presentations I like to make. Also embedded below is the style of presentation I like to deliver - rich in media, with easy to digest takeaways.
Speaking, writing and teaching deeply energizes me. However, prioritization of paying work has made it harder to focus on this as an independent creator. If selected for the Creative Residency, I welcome the opportunity to do as VR evangelism as I can, after all we need far more creatives to share their voice and vision in these formative years of arguably the final creative medium.
My writing can be found on Medium & Virtual Reality Pop. Most recently, i've been featured by Medium as a Top Writer in Virtual Reality
In the interest of community outreach, here's a recent AMA I did for CommonLounge, a social community startup: bit.ly/VRama
interactive 360 video & Ai-Powered Career Counsellor
I explored the interactive 360 video construct at the VR Hackathon @ Microsoft Reactor in San Francisco this past December 2016. Our team of 3 produced a bare-bones WebVR platform for creating branching narratives using 360 video, developing an action-comedy time-travel adventure with three distinct endings to showcase the abilities of the platform. We were awarded 1st Place for “Best WebVR Project” and 2nd Place for “Best 3D Sound.”
Having seen the potential of interactivity in 360, the following month in January 2017, I partnered with my hackathon teammate and a leading conversational designer at IBM Watson to pitch an AI-bot powered interactive 360 platform for providing personalized career counselling to high school students. The proposal is currently under consideration by the Department of Education as a part of their EdSim Challenge.
The Adobe Creative Residency would be a chance to apply the same interactive framework to creative narrative concepts, perhaps even leveraging Adobe technology such as Sensei to enable easy loop creation or Adobe NLP research to enable natural interaction with 360 content.