In an industry dominated by Quill and Tvori, one VR animation tool was created deliberately for people who have zero background in animation.

Ollie VR is a virtual animation tool that’s designed for beginners or artists who do not consider themselves as such. The software comes with a host of tools that lets you create simple 3D animations and the process promises to be as simple as “playing with toys.”

Ollie VR was developed by a group of USC School of Cinematic Arts students. In a Cartoon Brew feature, lead and product designer Sagar Ramesh said Ollie VR is suitable for people who have no background in animation and art as well as aspiring animators who find commercial 3D tools too complex or intimidating. Sagar Ramesh said that the software was engineered to polish rough animations produced by fledging animators with the goal to empower storytellers.

Ramesh, who interned at Oculus during his college years, said all of his team members have AR and/or VR experience. They created Ollie to make animation technology more accessible, comparing the software to iMovie, which many artists perceive as a stepping-stone to advanced video editing programs like Premiere. Ramesh added that Ollie VR is targeting users age 13 to 18 years old.

Ollie VR
Photo Credit: ne-oh.com

Just like any VR tool, Ollie VR requires VR goggles and hand controllers to create 3D animations. From the app, you’ll be presented a library of animated models, lights, and virtual cameras to choose from. A floating panel lets you set the length of the animated scene. The controllers lets you move the model through several keyframes. On the screen, you could track the motion paths of your object. Currently, the animatable models are simple elements such as cars, airplanes, or boats.

Using the controls, you could also adjust different aspects of the animated scene, including the easing, opacity, squash, and timing. By manipulating a CG light in real-time using the controllers, you could also adjust the lighting of the scene. And once you’re done with your work, the animation could be saved with a virtual camera. You could also export photos, videos, and .gifs via the virtual camera.  

Watch the demo below:

According to Ramesh, Ollie’s ability to save out photos and videos of what the user has animated in real-time was created using a custom solution that saves “high-quality videos without sacrificing in-app frame rate.”

To demonstrate Ollie VR’s capabilities, Ramesh and his team created a short film called Trailblazer. The 3 ½-minute short was screened in 2D format at USC’s Norris Cinema Theater and Ollie VR took care of the 3D aspects of the film.

Ollie VR was launched in beta form last month for the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. Ramesh said Ollie is set to launch in the Oculus Store and Steam for FREE this summer. Ramesh said his fellow creators are well aware that hardware cost is one of the main reasons why many users could not access complex 3D animation tools and that Ollie VR could one day fill that gap. For now, interested users could sign up for the beta here.

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