Virtual Reality and Storyboard Artists

Virtual Reality (VR), once a figment of human imagination, has become an accessible form of entertainment due to virtual reality headsets such as Google Cardboard, Oculus Rift, and PSVR.  Famous Frames artists Rudi Liden and Philippe Collot have shared their insight as to how drawing virtual reality storyboards differs from the norm and the future of storyboarding.

Virtual reality is an immersive experience that takes video gamers to a new dimension. Whereas previous video games create a two or three-dimensional world in which users can progress within their favorite quests, VR takes the players inside the game by stimulating their sense of vision, hearing, touch, and even smell.  Currently, VR is marketed for entertainment purposes – specifically video games – using virtual reality headsets or goggles.  Despite its popularity amongst video gamers, VR is on track to benefitting several other major industries, such as cost efficient educational training/on-the-job learning and advancing medical practices.  However, in our industry, it all starts with an idea and a storyboard.  

Storyboard Artist Jobs: Briefing, Drawing and the Future of Artists

Rudi Liden most recently created a VR storyboard for a commercial project that would take its viewers on a ride from downtown L.A. to the TLC Chinese Theatre; Philippe Collot created an instructional video game tackling the subject of drinking and driving. Though the subject matter is different for each project, the artists share similar experiences.

“A decision has to be made about how you want to use the frame because technically, the far right and left side of the frame touch, and represent the space directly behind you,” said Liden.  “For the commercial [of the trip to the theatre], I extended the frame and did my best to capture about 180 degrees.”  Liden explained that the broader visuals in turn require more time and may even look strange when compared to more traditional storyboards.

Above: Rudi Liden's wide screen frame compared to the ultra wide frame of virtual reality.

Collot added, “the client wants to make sure the camera has a wide range of action, either by going left or right and up and down.  So, the images are wider to show the 180° angle or the 360° angle.”

When asked how the brief was different, Liden shared, “Aside from goggles being handed around the table, there were a handful of considerations that needed to be problem-solved, namely narrative.  Who’s the [point of view] belong to?”

Above: VR and first person POV puts you behind the wheel. 

Since VR mirrors what the human eye sees – from focus to peripherals – practicing the ability to capture and accurately recreate a 180° to 360° image would be another beneficial “tool” a storyboard artists could add to their tool belt.  Collot commented, “It is useful when artists have used goggles like the Google Cardboard and they know about the GoPro camera, 3D camera and 360° camera.”

Above: Philippe Collot's use of first person perspective in a storyboard for film.

When asked their thoughts on the future of VR changing the storyboard industry, Collot shared, “I don’t think that [VR] will change storyboarding, aside from bringing in more work.” Collot reiterates that all storyboarding is 2D.  “The narrative is going to be conveyed with a chain of images that will be linked by arrows.  Which means that a storyboard will probably need more frames and also some master layouts that show the environment where the 3D or 360° camera would be moving around.  So, [the more frames to be done] might be good news for storyboard artists.  We’ll see.”

Liden concluded, “the most obvious player in the VR world is going to be video games for the next few years.  It’s exciting, fun, and immersive in ways that traditional film and TV are not.  The overall potential, however, may change entertainment forever.”



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