Virtual reality & 3D products are on the rise, both for the consumer and commercial market. Whilst exciting advancements in the technology driving VR and 3D products have understandably positive implications for gamers and tech-mad individuals, in the commercial sector they are destined for use as interactive retail tools, mental health aids – in physiotherapy rehabilitation facilities and schools. The development of virtual reality and 3D products is also an exciting prospect for those of us in the creative sector who can implement the technology to produce radically innovative marketing materials for our clients – which can naturally have a significantly positive impact on their business. What’s on offer? Not so long ago ‘virtual reality’ meant strange chunky headsets with digital visors and dodgy holographic apparitions. But now viable tools are available for creatives which promise to enhance capability and streamline the design process for a range of professions – including artists, painters, engineers and architects. Google Cardboard is one such exciting development in the virtual reality domain. This affordable, fully immersive technology is a game-changer in a previously expensive VR playing field. Using cardboard viewers the clever system enables anyone to game, explore and watch videos in a wholly interactive way – combining cheap raw materials with some pretty mind-blowing results. With prices ranging from just £15 to around £30 from a user perspective this is a fun, no-risk way to introduce yourself to the wonders of virtual reality – so hopefully this will help to bolster the technology’s popularity in the mainstream. But more excitingly from an industry point of view potential is huge. Packaging can now be designed to be refashioned into a viewer which then offers consumers the chance to explore another dimension. Google Jump technology also allows designers to make any traditional marketing material into a virtual reality experience – widening skillsets and offering a range of additional (and exciting) options when scoping a marketing scheme. Google’s other potentially revolutionary offering for creatives is Tiltbrush. Enabling artists and designers to paint in 3D, being situated in a virtual ‘room’ allows them to create outside of the boundaries of a blank document or piece of paper. Other advantages include the many tools and effects on offer, with the ability to mimic light, colour and texture precisely. What this means is that designers working on all kinds of projects (from marketing material and websites to graphics and animations) will be able to paint in ‘real time’, but can also imagine and create artwork which wouldn’t previously have been possible with conventional software. Google however is unusually not the only (or most influential) brand changing the face of design methodology with VR technology. Independently created, crowd-funded Lixpen’s initial concept gathered momentum online before gaining enough interest to become a reality. This mind-blowing technology allows designers to create 3D drawings – effectively tracing a design in thin air with ‘ink’ which solidifies to create a structure. Meanwhile back on-screen, 3D design software Sketchup offers tools and applications for a broad range of design professionals, facilitating the creation of 3D content on beautifully presented documents. Is virtual reality technology and 3D a game changer? Should we embrace new technologies, or view them as a passing fad? Game-changers flying in the face of naysayers is nothing new. In the 1980s when 3D printers were first conceived and introduced to their target markets, many simply didn’t believe the predicted scale of impact upon a range of design industries across the board – from engineering and manufacture to architecture and retail. Now 3D printing is at the heart of our most important design industries, having greatly widened existing capabilities to enable previously radical concepts to become reality. Designers even created a replacement shell for an injured tortoise using 3D printing – proving that even conservation and veterinary science can be benefitted by the development of this previously inconceivable technology. Many creatives are already experiencing the advantages of VR – and predict that the technology they use now could be commonplace (or even indispensable) in the future. Architecture firm NBBJ is embracing virtual reality and hopes to significantly raise its profile within its sector – by fine-tuning and streamlining current offerings in partnership with VR firm Visual Vocal to make them appropriate for use by others in their industry. Their application of VR (to produce immersive, real-time ‘viewings’ of previously flat blue-prints or CGI mock-ups) promises to simplify and diversify current offerings to help architects to meet client briefs more accurately. At Awesome Creative we combine cutting edge ideas with cutting edge technology. Why not speak to us today to give your design material the edge over your competitors?