Making Things Easy: Virtual Reality – Episode 2

This “Episode” of Making Things Easy: Virtual Reality is a purely text-based post.  I have not been working in Unity over the past week, instead, I have spent considerable time researching different aspects of the project in order to enhance my theoretical understanding of virtual reality design. Here I will convey the information I have gathered over the past two weeks, including my recent epiphany about 3D scanning in virtual reality design, the history of bottle design, and lastly I will share some of my recent theoretical research on VR and how the technology is helping us to raise existential questions about the creation of our reality.

3D Scanning

Last week I was watching YouTube videos regarding virtual reality and I began pondering how efficient it could be to “scan” a physical beer bottle and import the scanned file into Unity, rather than redesigning the entire bottle within the software. As it turns out this is entirely possible, which at first was an exciting realization. As I continued to research the relationship between 3D scanning and VR I began to think I may have hacked my own project. I assumed 3D scanning would involve less labor than painstakingly designing the whole bottle using Unity software.  I also presumed that employing 3D scanning technology could save labor and perhaps enhance the semblance of the VR bottle design to the original bottle (keep in mind that I am inexperienced with Unity software, or CAD software in general).

Evidently, it is common practice to 3D scan a physical object (such as a beer bottle) and archives it in a virtual reality environment by simply dragging the scanned file into a Unity project. A number of limitations exist however that can make this process harder than it initially sounds.  Two of the key limitations are A) the high cost of 3D scanners, and B) that 3D scanners can produce substandard quality representations of an object. Both of these limitations seemed worthy of my consideration, and after deliberation, with University staff I have concluded that using a mixed-method of 3D scanning and Unity VR animation design is the ideal way to proceed. In summary, what I now intend to attempt is to 3D scan the basic outline of a beer bottle, place the scanned file in Unity, and use Unity design software to render the image and create a more accurate representation of the beer bottle than would otherwise be possible by using just a 3D scanned file.



Bottle Design

Considering one of the fundamental aims of this project is to design a bottle in virtual reality I figured to beneficial for me to research the history of glass bottle design. I ended up conducting a fair bit of research and obtained a decent introduction to the history of glass bottle production. Whilst conducting research I came across this infographic that quite eloquently depicts the history of the glass bottle. Rather than attempting to curate the information I have sourced into an awkward paragraph it seemed more productive to just share this beautiful infographic, created by Oberk Packaging Solutions.


glass bottle infographic

Virtual Reality Theory

As discussed in my previous post I am endeavoring as part of this project to gain (and disseminate) a better understanding of the relationship between virtual reality and cyber cultures. Part of this aim is to understand the potential paradigm shifts that can occur, will occur, or are occurring as a result of virtual reality technology being introduced into our affairs.

One of the more fascinating (and convincing) philosophical discussions I have encountered so far has been a research paper titled ‘Are You Living in a Computer Simulation?’ by Nick Bostrom. The paper, published in Philosophical Quarterly (2003) discusses Bostrom’s hypothesis that either A) The portion of civilizations that reach a post-human stage is close to zero; B) The number of post-human civilisations that would be interested in creating and running “ancestor-simulations” is close to zero, or C) we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation.

Hypothesis ‘C’ is perhaps the most interesting of the three. This hypothesis suggests that we are already living inside a computer simulation. It seems counter-intuitive at first, but after consideration and research, the concept seems entirely plausible. The reason that this relates to virtual reality is that Bostrom’s simulation reality is essentially the imagination of a virtual reality simulator that is indistinguishable from “real life”. As I began to explore this idea I started to ponder the idea that we may be in fact living inside Bostrom’s simulation reality. In fact, we might be on our way to creating a simulated reality of our own by way of totally immersive virtual reality technology. If this were to be the case It seems it would result in the creation of an inception type paradigm in which a superior being has created a simulated reality, and that simulated reality then creates a simulated reality of its own, and so on and so forth. Where we fit into this simulated-reality-inception paradigm I have no idea, yet the idea seems no less plausible than Bostrom’s “we are almost certainly living in a computer simulation” hypothesis. For more Information please take a look at my Prezi presentation about the philosophy and history of virtual reality technology.

Next week I will aim to publish a video in which I am either attempting to 3D scan a glass bottle, start designing the glass bottle in Unity, or both.


Making Things Easy: Virtual Reality -Episode 1


Welcome to episode one of ‘Making Things Easy’. This project follows my journey as I dive head first into the world of virtual reality animation.

Episode one essentially gives an introduction to the project. I intend to document my whole experience and create a series of short videos that depict my research and learning processes. I hope that this series can serve as an introduction to VR for people who have no experience with the technology and are curious to learn more about how to develop basic virtual reality animation.

So far I have only just begun tinkering with VR so this video essentially is a depiction of my thoughts and experiences as I download the required software (Unity) and begin to set-up the program to create an animation.


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My first creation using Unity software, titled “The Cube”. 


Over the next six weeks, I will upload more videos to this blog and produce short posts that explain my thinking, as well as ideas that I formulate surrounding the relationship between virtual reality and cybercultures. It seems so far that virtual reality technology is entirely different to any other design projects I have attempted. Trying to create a virtual reality requires a new mode of thinking for me, as I am trying to design an immersive experience, rather than a simple  2D or 3D CAD image. I suspect that virtual reality is creating a paradigm shift within cyberculture. This idea I look forward to exploring further as this project progresses.

Please leave any feedback or suggestions in the comments section below

Project Proposal: Virtual Reality

I’m coming to the end of my time as a digital media student, with less than one semester of full-time study remaining at the University of Wollongong (UOW). Over the past little while I have spent considerable time stressing out about what I am going to do with my life, and whether or not I have actually learned anything of value during my time at UOW. Luckily for me, I was coerced into creating this blog at the commencement of my studies, and throughout the past few years I have proceeded to publish any and all of my work here. As a result, I (and anyone else for that matter) am now able to look back and see what I have learned.  It seems that I have learned quite a lot and that my understanding of the media is much greater than when I commenced my bachelor degree. Still, the feeling remains that I have much more to learn. In a vain attempt to try and boost my skill set before I graduate I have decided to use the flexibility afforded by the course framework to train myself In a skill that I believe will prove both interesting and beneficial to my future as a media professional.


As was the case last year when I attempted to learn JavaScript, I have again chosen to research an emerging digital media technology that I believe will be prominent in the media landscape of the future. After deliberation with both university staff and the Twitterverse I have decided, somewhat hesitantly, to attempt to create a virtual reality (VR) experience using Unity software.


I was inspired to create a digital artefact using VR because in 2017 we are living in the moment where VR is about to become mainstream technology. This is partly because the falling costs of producing and consuming VR are making it possible for more people to access the technology. Technologies such as Google Cardboard are emerging which is far cheaper ($15.00 AUD) than the typical console devices like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The high price of headsets combined with a high barrier to entry makes the Rift and the HTC Vive a hard sell for a lot of people. As the price is coming down it seems the uptake of VR technology is becoming ever more widespread. I feel that If my prediction of VR becoming mainstream is correct then it will be important for me, as a media professional, to have a better-than-introductory understanding of the technology.
I plan to learn-by-doing as I research VR.  I am to create a YouTube series that documents me attempting to create a VR animation in Unity. VR allows people to create and experience entire computer-generated worlds, but in this instance I will be attempting something much more simple (given that I am a beginner). I will simply be attempting to create a virtual beer bottle sitting on a virtual table.


I have chosen to attempt this creation in the Unity platform in Unity as my preliminary research suggests that Unity is the industry standard VR design software. On top of this I found that Unity is free to download which is highly beneficial for a struggling uni student such as myself. As I am totally inexperienced with Unity software I am hoping that I am able to learn to use Unity and create this project in an 8-week time frame. All successes and failures will be documented and I will be creating a series of YouTube vlogs to document my experience. The blogs will serve as a diary of my research, as well as providing viewers with an opportunity to learn with me as I undertake this endeavorur. I will attempt to upload the videos to my blog on a fortnightly basis, with a brief description current progress. My end goal is to have published a series of videos that can be used as tutorials for budding amateur VR enthusiasts, whilst simultaneously documenting my research methods and creative process.

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At this time, I have gone as far as downloading Unity and making initial sketches to try and visualise my VR beer bottle. My next post will contain the first YouTube video and will  also include details and links for people wishing to begin creating VR for themselves.