As we close out the year, we wanted to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to all those that have supported us and shown an interest in what we do and give you an overview of our experiences and observations of 2022.
It has been year of reflection for us and perhaps for you too, as, following on from the pandemic many of us have not only had to re-evaluate the way we live and work, but also the way in which we produce content and the form in which it takes. This has resulted in many of us thinking about new ways in which we can use both existing and emerging technologies in our content creation and marketing that can help make it adaptable, flexible, and future proof.
Since we started Imaginar in 2007, we have seen steady advances and improvements in the capabilities of the software and hardware that we use to create CGI/3D Images and animations, which has helped improve the process and quality of our productions. However, the biggest change we have seen over recent years is the development of immersive technology software, systems, and hardware.
At Imaginar we have been experimenting, creating demos, and offering immersive solutions to clients for well over a decade, however during this period we have seen a fair degree of reluctancy from marketers to adopt this technology. This has mostly been caused because of a fear of stepping into the unknown and committing their client’s budgets into a technology that they don’t entirely understand.
Initially Virtual Reality (VR) was the earliest form of technology that started to be adopted but was mainly contained within the enterprise and entertainment industries, in the form of training, gaming and experiences. This was mainly due to the requirement of additional hardware in the form of a VR Headset and Hardware such as PC’s or laptops that needed to have the processing power to run the necessary applications. At a consumer level many marketers felt that this was not a viable solution, in respect of rolling out a marketing campaign, as it relied too heavily on their potential or existing customers owning the required hardware. As a result, VR experiences and applications were mainly utilised for physical event-based experiences such as product launches, exhibitions, or pop-up-shops. Even today we see VR still mainly being utilised in the enterprise and entertainment industries, and much of this is due to the development of Augmented Reality (AR).
At a consumer level, Augmented Reality first hit the masses with the introduction of smartphone applications such as Pokemon GO in 2016 followed by the IKEA furniture App in 2017. The advantage of AR over VR was that there was no need for any additional hardware as most people owned a smartphone, however AR capabilities were often only found on the flagship phones that were available at that time.
Moving onto 2022 most smartphones have the capability of running these applications and AR is becoming much more accessible to the masses.
Following the ‘opening up’ after the global lockdown, we have seen a significant shift in the number of marketers and businesses that have started to show a willingness and desire to embrace Immersive technologies into their campaigns.
The pandemic created an opportunity for those who had already adopted these technologies to stand out from the crowd, and like the retail and food industry, who had already had an established online presence and delivery solutions, those early adopters demonstrated how immersive technology could influence their consumers without the need to interact with them in a physical environment.
Through AR, consumers could see what furniture, appliances, or even artwork look like in a real-world environment, in their own home or try on new clothes and accessories. They could configure their products and explore them without the need to have any physical contact, which was a massive advantage for those businesses who were unable to open their premises to trade. VR enabled people to experience their future holiday in virtual real life, or walk around a 3D rendered virtual store, exploring products. And web based virtual experiences which allows consumers to access virtual spaces straight from their web browser without the need for any additional hardware meant that they could attend virtual events, explore their new university, or take guided tours of a property that they potentially wanted to buy.
These are all examples of some of the way immersive technologies can be used and we have created many experiences and applications for our clients to help them achieve these results.
For us, immersive technology is an extension of what Imaginar was set up to do, create amazing content and make the impossible real. Much of the traditional methods of content creation, that we have used from the outset, form part of making immersive experiences and applications, such as 3D modelling, animation and VFX. However, combining this with new immersive technology and our innovative creative minds, means that we can take these processes to another level.
We have carried out a lot of consultancy work in 2022 advising agencies, businesses, brands, and organisations on the best way that they can use this technology, and this is an important part of planning a campaign that is going to utilise immersive content.
A key point that we have made to our clients in 2022, is explaining how to make their assets work harder for them. Because they are adopting new immersive technology, it doesn’t mean they have to abandon all their traditional forms of advertising such as print media or broadcast. It means that if they plan their campaigns properly from the outset and consider the platforms, they want to output it too, then their assets can be created more efficiently and with the flexibility that allows them to have multiple uses.
Why is this important? Because the asset can be built from the ground up in such a way that it doesn’t have to be created from scratch for each additional format. For example, if we were to create a 3D model for an image, it would be created as a static model with the applicable geometry. If the client then wants to create an animation of the model with moving parts, the model will then have to be built again so it can be rigged. Then let’s say it needs to be used in an AR application, it would need to be built so it is compatible with alternate file formats such as gLTF/GLB/USDZ/USD.
As you can see identifying how and where your content is going to be used is not only important from a cost point of view but also from a time point of view. It also helps to future proof your asset, so even if it won’t be utilised for a certain output now, it can be easily implemented in the future.
We have had the opportunity to work with some amazing businesses, brands and agencies, during 2022, on all kinds of projects from traditional content creation such as CGI visuals to help advertise a brands new products or animations for enterprise businesses showing how they are adapting for the future, to more innovative content such as Web based virtual events for employees and consumers, and immersive experience rooms with real time interactive displays and projections for the entertainment industry.
The pandemic seems to have evoked some more forward thinking and acceptance of new immersive technologies not only in the UK but internationally.
We are currently working on some exciting projects for clients dotted across all parts of the globe and as we go into 2023, we look forward to pushing the boundaries of creative content creation with those partners we have worked with in the past, and hopefully some of you who we may have the pleasure of working with in the future.
We hope you all have a happy holiday season and an exciting and prosperous 2023