Maya_360_motion_comic

Let’s re-invent the Comic book “page”.

MAYA the motion comic is based on the screenplay of the hard scifi novel Memories with Maya, which has been picked by Penguin|Randomhouse for a March 2015 print release, after the novel’s successful debut on Amazon.

The novel has been reviewed favorably on high profile sites such as iO9.com and Mashable and made it to the IEET’s list of publications, sharing space with other noteworthy sci-fi novels.

But… This is about the 360 Motion Comic:

I’m excited to explore this uncharted land, the challenges, and rewards of visual storytelling in Virtual Reality.  The grammar and rules for this exciting medium have not yet been defined, this is what makes MAYA an exciting project.

MAYA the Story:

MAYA is grounded in Hard science. There are no Aliens, FTL (faster than light travel), or Supermen and time-travel… oh wait! there is a form of time travel, but only because it’s backed up with science that shows how.
The story shows how our lives are augmented by technology… from Long Distance Relationships (LDRs) to what relationships will be like… even after death. “Dirrogates” – Digital Surrogates interact with real people, in the real-world and human touch is simulated through haptics. Hard science backs all this, in the story.

Read io9’s review of Memories with Maya.

Getting back…MAYA the motion novel will play back on devices such as Facebook’s OCULUS RIFT, and the story will also play out IPADS / IPHONES / ANDROID devices as well as versions for various VR devices such as Sony’s Morpheus and Samsung’s Gear VR

Virtual_reality_eyewear_360_movies

(above: Various VR devices are set to enter the consumer market – Accelerating the need for Cinematic VR content)

The hardware is not important… what is important is content, for this new medium of visual storytelling!

Why should you care?

  • After these devices come to market, then what? The content, mostly, will be games. Wouldn’t it be great to be one of the first people involved in creating a new story medium that generations will look back to?
  • IT’S LIKE RE-INVENTING CINEMA! Great stuff to tell your grandchildren some day!
  • There’s an undeniably warm fuzziness that goes with doing something new and exciting in technology. If you’ve never experienced it before, or if you want to again… swallow the VR pill and jump right in!

Most importantly, it is about being part of a collaborative effort to define a new language for visual storytelling in VR.

Visual Storytelling ideas such as…

Interactivity – If you look at the main video again, you’ll notice the scene starts with a dark room and Maya gazing out the window.
This scene will have music and her thoughts voiced out… The rest of the room is dark, just as the Story-teller or, “Director” intends it.. However: If you turn your head, wearing the oculus rift, or turn your iphone/ipad (in the final comic), the lights switch on, allowing you to explore the room.

Depth of field – This is another technique i’m exploring and there are challenges to be overcome in doing it in Stereoscopic 3D and on a full 360 sphere. This project will also be defining and contributing to the language of Cinematic VR.

An example scene from Chapter 5 of the motion comic, as proof of concept, is below. This is not what a finished page of the motion comic will be, the simulated demo below was stitched together from 14 renderings.
Going forward, it won’t be a practical way to create every “page” of the Motion comic/novel this way, that’s why I’ve chosen the Game Engine Unity, for the final product.

Try a simulated demo with mouse above: ( On mobile devices, enable Gyro on your iphone/android and click here: Maya360 room)

Downloadable Demo Scene for the Oculus Rift: 

PC version: http://www.dirrogate.com/maya_movie.zip (approx 63,5 mb)
Mac version: http://www.dirrogate.com/mayamacapp.zip (approx 74.5 mb)

More on the Tech…
The story features real world locations from diverse cities — Mumbai, India, to Singapore and Dubai. I’ve researched Stereoscopic 360 Capture devices from GoPros (in stereo config) to one-shot parabolic mirror systems. I might finally settle for the Ricoh Theta for the project.
My research and work with the help of Theta owners, across the world (no Theta in Dubai) has caught the eye of a few manufacturers, who have shown interest in the project. Below is a stereoscopic equirectangular image that can be the background of scenes in the motion comic.

Graduated_stereo_falloff_VR_filmmaking_small
(use red-cyan 3d glasses to view)

Risks & Challenges:  

  • Facebook invested $2 billion in Oculus Rift and a VR initiative
  • Facebook is actively courting Hollywood to produce Cinematic VR content.

…enough said! VR in here to stay.

Only a handful of companies… if indeed there are a handful, are exploring Cinematic VR as a new medium of visual storytelling, and certainly none I know of are working on a 360 Motion Novel/comic.
Challenges will be in capturing Stereoscopic 3D 360 images of real-world locations that will form the background or “set” as the story plays out. My experience in Stereoscopic 3D allows me to tackle these challenges confidently.

My non fiction book “THINK in 3D” has been peer reviewed by some of the best 3D film-makers out there… from the 3D director of the movie “HUGO” to movies such as “Wrath of the Titans”
Some of the reviews are on Amazon: “Think in 3D

When it comes to contributing to the language of 3D, terminology I’ve coined in 3D film-making have made their way into the 3D Dictionary published by Technicolor.

Master Media presents: MAYA – an S3D- 360 VR motion comic.

Master Media will be producing MAYA the motion comic in association with Real Vision.

Contact Clyde DeSouza: info [at] realvision [dot] ae for more on the project.