Post Magazine

October 2015

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Page 40 of 51 39 POST OCTOBER 2015 REALITY virtual he combined efforts of invest- ment banker-turned-film produc- er Jonah Hirsch, Hollywood VFX/motion capture expert James Knight and AMD's Roy Taylor, resulted in the creation of an immersive, 360-degree virtual reality experience depicting a historically-ac- curate recreation of the Wright Brothers first flight in Kitty Hawk, NC. AMD has been demonstrating the experience at industry events, including the 2015 SIGGRAPH in August. Most recently, AMD was presented with the Lumiere Award for its "LiquidVR" technology at the heart of the demo. Here, Taylor discusses the project and the company's role in VR. We know AMD is a leader in processors and graphics cards, but what is its position on VR? "AMD is the world's leading designer and supplier of graphics, video and VR technology. Our processors, for exam- ple, power the Microsoft Xbox, Sony PlayStation and Nintendo consoles. For content creation, they are also used by visualization companies in entertainment such as The Third Floor, VRC (the VR Company), Halon, MatterVR and others. What some people may not know is, for VR, we are partnered with Sony for Morpheus as well as Oculus and HTC/ Valve to power their headsets. "AMD believes VR will redefine every aspect of our lives. This is because it delivers the ability to explore, interact, view and consider our world and what it means to be human in ways not possible before. Every area will be affected, from education, history, medicine, industry, nature, science and even politics and hu- manitarianism. Given this scope and our ability to help, we did not hesitate to get involved in the Wright Brothers project." What was AMD's role in the project? "A crucial factor in having a great VR experience is creating and maintaining what is known as 'presence' — a state of immersive awareness where situations, objects, or characters within the virtual world seem 'real.' A crucial component of VR technology that powers the look and feel of a virtual experience is the graphics-processing unit (GPU) and AMD is the leader in this area. As VR needs as much GPU horsepower as one can possibly get, keeping the latency down is one of the key technical chal- lenges. Earlier this year we launched our LiquidVR initiative, which is part applica- tion programming interface, part tools to empower developers to create ultimate VR experiences. Together with Zypre, we created one of the first great show- cases where LiquidVR technology was implemented. This enabled [the artists] to create a more vivid and more detailed environment that otherwise wouldn't have been possible." What does the VR demo highlight for AMD? "We supplied MatterVR — the studio that made the short — with our professional graphics card, the FirePro W9100 to make the content. This is the world's only 16GB graphics card and the best and most powerful tool for creating digital content. MatterVR was able to work faster and get results faster with this technology. "Also, while our GPUs are essential to drive great VR experiences, to solve some of the challenges developers face, we also need specific software, too. AMD LiquidVR provides a set of tools to overcome hurdles such as latency, easy connection to the headset, asynchro- nous compute and rendering, and multi- GPU use. So to enable these and unlock the true potential of AMD Radeon graphics cards, AMD's LiquidVR SDK is an ideal platform for VR development. The First Flight demo represents how true collaboration between hardware and software vendors can yield a truly amazing VR experience. "We are pleased to announce that LiquidVR has just been recognized by the Advanced Imaging Society for its contribution to VR, with their prestigious Lumiere Award. We are very proud to re- ceive this award as it reflects the contri- bution we are making to entertainment." Why is VR important in post? "The movie industry is the next big opportunity to bring Virtual Reality to a larger audience. Imagine not just looking at things happening in front of you — but standing in the middle of an enormous battlefield, or looking down from the top of Mount Everest. Imagine if you could actually interact with any- thing and everything you're used to only seeing on the big screen from one angle, one perspective. It has the potential to literally change everything we're used to experiencing in entertainment." What kind of role does AMD see itself playing in the advancement of VR? "Though VR has huge potential for entertainment, [it's] poised to dramati- cally transform an array of applications, including education, social media, travel, medicine, real estate and ecommerce. Whether people watch a movie or play a game, or a medical professor is teaching her students to perform surgery in Virtual Reality, they all need extremely powerful GPUs. Through technologies like LiquidVR, developers are able to harness the extreme performance of Radeon GPUs and make these experi- ences a reality. The capabilities of today's VR technology are very good, but they still not have reached their full potential. AMD wants to play a leading role in accelerating technological advances that enable that indispensable sense of 'presence' sought by VR developers." T CREATING A VR EXPERIENCE SPONSORED CONTENT: AMD AMD, says Taylor (pictured), provided MatterVR with its FirePro W9100 to help create this Wright Brothers project.

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