Born and raised in Los Angeles California, Rob Silva is a Professor of VR technologies at East Los Angeles Community College and has over 10 years of experience developing video games and visual effects for the film and television industry. In 2015, Rob and his team won several awards for their work on Playstation 4’s The Walk: VR Experience that has been featured at VR arcades all over the world.
Q. Hi Rob, Thank you for joining us today. I love your VR work as well as both your 2D and 3D Art. As an artists and also an Instructor of VR. How do you think teaching the Virtual Reality experience should be approached?
ROB: VR is a fun and exciting new way to teach almost any topic, so it’s really up to the teacher to come up with a lesson plan that can fit their needs. Because you can immerse your viewer in any environment you can think of, the sky’s the limit!
Zspace seems to be an exciting way to teach students that really the sky is the limit with VR in Education. A whole immersive experience that can excite young and old minds alike.
Q. Best places to learn VR and why?
ROB: The best places to learn about VR are going to be primarily found online I believe, as more and more companies are seeing the need to adopt online training. For example Unity and Oculus released 20 hours of free VR Development coursework titled “Design, Develop and Deploy for VR” to help get you started on the VR learning track.
You can also check out the Game Art Institute – they offer a bootcamp with Industry Professionals to help guide you on the learning path of VR/AR Development with Unity. Schools such as USC offer actual classes in VR and and more instructors are including VR learning into their classrooms with apps such as Google’s Expeditions. Online learning platforms such as CGCircuit are also starting to offer more workshops and tutorials for VR/AR/MR.
There are also a ton of blogs and podcasts that cover topics of VR Development some of which offer not only the latest VR developments but VR/AR/MR community, meet-ups and more. Meetup.com is one meet up group that has various members professionals and hobbyists that meet up on all topics including VR. Meetups are not only a great place to learn VR but also a great place to collaborate and meet mentors in the field.
California VR meetup groups:
Los Angeles VR and Immersive Technologies Meet-Up – held at the Creative Technology Center, a cool looking 6500 sq ft production/event studio located near downtown in the Brewery Arts Complex. This meet-up is described as being for anyone interested in immersive technologies including: 3D Stereoscopic, Virtual & Augmented Reality, Unity 3D, 360-degree film & sound, and Dome & Holographic Display applications.
Los Angeles Virtual Reality Meetup – this group states they are a meetup for creators of virtual reality that are focusing on narrative and immersive qualities.
XRLA – This group has a range of VR enthusiasts, to developers, to local business using and interested in VR. Group has meetings monthly covering 360
Women in VR – group is dedicated to giving women in VR a voice, empowering the nextGen.
Virtual Reality Workshops – host workshops, hacknights, and show and tell, collaborations between VR developers, VR filmmakers, game designers.
Augmented Reality Updates, Demos and Social – This one is San Diego based but discusses topics such as Magic Leap, ARKit, ARCore, SnapAR, Facebook/Instagram Spark AR, Project North Star, Wikitude and other AR frameworks, Unity XR
But for someone looking to get introduced to VR for the first time, I suggest the VoidVR locations that let you and some friends engage with a VR world which can be very fun!
Q. List of best devices around and why?
ROB: The HTC Vive and the Oculus Rift (Oculus has both tethered and standalone headsets from the Go, to the Quest, to the Rift S) are easily the best VR experiences money can buy at this time. Although HTC’s model comes with a higher price tag, the durability of the headset and the accuracy of the motion tracking is exceptional. Also the HTC has Stream-friendly Vive, Vive Cosmos and Developer focused Vive Pro.
Google and Samsung still offer phone-based VR headsets in the form of the Daydream View and the Gear VR, and Microsoft has it’s mixed reality platform that supports a variety of different headsets.
For more information on the Best VR headsets for 2019 check here.
Then there is Colossal’s Looking Glass 8K Immersive Display that allows you to view 3D holographic displays without the need glasses or a headset, truly a leap into the future, check out the impressive video below.
Q. How is the VR/AR business currently and what are the biggest areas of growth in the near future?
ROB: Right now most of the business being done in the AR/VR sectors are being kept under wraps by the big tech companies such as Google, Apple, and Microsoft. This is probably because the technologies can be easily retrofitted to military contracts which we are already starting to see partnering up with foreign and domestic government agencies.
However as we have seen with tech in the past, once the military has found a functional way to mass deploy it to their soldiers, we will start to see more mainstream adoption of these technologies in the enterprise sector.
Q. What are the best VR experiences and why?
ROB: The VoidVR experiences are hands down the best VR experiences money can buy. The Star Wars experience lets you and a group of friends infiltrate an Imperial base as Rebel spies and leads up to a climactic battle with one of the deadliest foes in the galaxy. There are several other experiences that are also fantastic, but the Star Wars one is my favorite.
This guy takes the VR experience to the next level, literally spending a week inside of VR taking it to the next level or maybe taking it to the level of a possible future.
Q. Thoughts about what the sector needs to grow more?
ROB: I would like to see growth in the education sector since it has the most limitless potential. For example, chemistry was my least favorite subject in school. But if we had VR like today, my teacher could use VR to demonstrate to the entire class what happens when molecules fuse together. Better yet, we could actually travel backwards in time and witness historical events such as the signing of the Declaration of Independence or the Battle of Pearl Harbor to give students a deeper appreciation for the events of the past.
Thank you Rob, for taking the time to speak with us today! We look forward to your VR painting tutorial on CGCircuit. Staying tuned! ; )
SOCIAL MEDIA INFO
We hope you enjoyed our interview with Rob Silva as much as we did, to learn more about Rob please check out his social media links above. Also, feel free to check out the tutorials at CGCircuit we will be posting Rob’s new VR painting tutorial in the near future. @cgcircuit.com
If you have any questions or feedback on this blog, we’d love to hear it in the comment section below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author:
Lori Hammond, CG Circuit
Author & Content Producer
Experienced multi-talented Artist/Designer/Blogger with an extensive background in the Arts & Entertainment Industry(Animation, VFX, Game & Product Design)