Geo Week News

February 24, 2016

What is a 4D Animation, Anyway?

Now that Sketchfab has figured out the business of serving fast, easy 3D content on the internet, they have decided to follow BIM’s example and add an extra “D.

Meet “Interactive 4D” content. The Verge says this little snippet feels a lot like a 4D animated gif, and I would be hard pressed to disagree.

The snippet of a mustachioed man initially plays like a slightly wonky stop-motion video. Mouse over the one-second clip, though, and you’ll find that you can move it around as it loops. Watch it from the side, zoom in, zoom out. Get inside the dude’s head. It’s a weird experience, but undeniably cool.

If you think people like looking at animations of cats now, wait until 4D gifs become easier to produce.

Admittedly, judging by the work that went into this small clip, that’s going to be a while. The scene was captured by TimeSlice films using an array of 53 GoPro video cameras and some house software to sync it all up. TimeSlice call this process volumetric scanning, and Callum McMillan, managing director of TimeSlice describes it as follows:

“Volumetric capture is a crucial evolution of both the still and moving image. It fundamentally changes visual content creation from a fixed-viewpoint to a free-viewpoint experience. We call this type of content Free Viewpoint Media (FVM) – content that can be viewed from any perspective.”

Makes sense, though they might have thought of a better name than “volumetric scanning.” Isn’t 3D scanning already volumetric, after all?

Regardless, each new type of content brings with it new data capture and storytelling possibilities. It’s not clear that there will be much use for it in the professional spaces we’re familiar with at SPAR, but I’ve been proven wrong before.

Here’s an example of the kind of “multicam” work TimeSlice usually does. Remember The Matrix?

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