How Studio05 used Maya with VR to increase production speed and design process efficiency

/ September 1, 2019

How Studio05 used Maya with VR to increase production speed and design process efficiency

When Studio05 was tasked with creating a medical training course in VR for students of a prestigious Dutch hospital, they faced a unique challenge – how do you design an app for VR when most CGI production tools are predominantly 2-dimensional? The fact of the matter is, traditional production pipelines in digital design predominantly use software based around the monitor and mouse – not the same way the media will be consumed. This adds time to the process of review and asset creation.  

When Studio05 found MARUI, the fit was immediately apparent. Here was a plugin which brought all of the spatial understanding and visualization power of VR right into Maya – one of the premiere professional design and CGI graphics programs. 3D artists and designers at Studio05 could adopt MARUI’s VR viewport and editing toolkit without leaving the familiarity of Maya, thus preserving their pipeline while still leveraging VR for their project.

The results were felt immediately. “We use [MARUI PlugIn] so that our 3d designers can quickly buildup and test VR and our environments in Maya. This speeds up our design process immensely.” A faster design process naturally means lower costs and faster milestones and project timeline – allowing Studio05 to create its medical training course ahead of schedule.

But not only was it more efficient – the course proved to be the best way for students to actually absorb the anatomical information. Using their course, “students don’t have to learn anatomy in 2d from pictures but can study it in 3d. The first test results showed a large increase in information retention.” VR itself presents a more visceral way of consuming content that more closely mirrors how we experience the real world – hence why more applications are being discovered and applied every day. And as more and more applications emerge for VR media, so too increases the demand for production tools to support that media.  

Studio05 also worked on a mindfulness app which paired VR and the Muse headband – a brainwave-reading device. Users are presented with a peaceful outdoors scene, and as they meditate and calm their brainwaves, the outdoor scene turns from chaotic and rainy to sunny and serene. This innovative bridge between the brain and visual media shows the potential of an early form of BCI – brain-computer interface. And while we’re still not quite at the level of stopping bullets a la The Matrix, using our own brain waves as an input which directly affects a virtual reality scene is a promising development in that direction. 

As Studio05 moves towards realizing new, exciting experiences with VR/AR media, they have to constantly tackle new challenges in the production of these experiences, especially given existing software and pipelines are built for consuming traditional digital media. But in much the same way that the computer shifted animation from hand-drawn to digital, so too does VR promise to forever alter and improve the production process of digital media. Studio05 co-founder Jeroen Van Der Borght mentions, “Our goal as a company is to design experiences that amaze and inspire people: Wonderment by Design.” 

As with any new technology, there are fears about the process of learning and adopting it. I asked Van Der Borght how long it took his team to learn to use MARUI, to which he replied, “Not long. It was an easy process.” Fast adoption is critical, as is comprehensive customizability. Where does Ven Der Borght see MARUI in the next 5 years? “Standard integrated into Maya.”

Share this Post