Google Seurat: Bringing high-fidelity rendering to mobile VR with Star Wars
A new tool called Google Seurat – named after the great French painter – makes it possible to render high-fidelity scenes on mobile VR headsets in real time. Seurat enabled ILMxLAB, the branch of Lucasfilm focused on pioneering next generation immersive experiences, to bring the cinema-quality world of Star Wars to mobile VR.
Virtual reality (VR) typically refers to computer technologies that use virtual reality headsets, sometimes in combination with physical spaces or multi-projected environments, to generate realistic images, sounds and other sensations that simulates a user’s physical presence in a virtual or imaginary environment. A person using virtual reality equipment is able to “look around” the artificial world, and with high quality VR move about in it and interact with virtual features or items. VR headsets are head-mounted goggles with a screen in front of the eyes. Programs may include audio and sounds through speakers or headphones.
VR systems that include transmission of vibrations and other sensations to the user through a game controller or other devices are known as haptic systems. This tactile information is generally known as force feedback in medical, video gaming and military training applications. Virtual reality also refers to remote communication environments which provide a virtual presence of users with through telepresence and telexistence or the use of a virtual artifact (VA). The immersive environment can be similar to the real world in order to create a lifelike experience grounded in reality or sci-fi. Augmented reality systems may also be considered a form of VR that layers virtual information over a live camera feed into a headset, or through a smartphone or tablet device.
The franchise began in 1977 with the release of the film Star Wars (later subtitled Episode IV: A New Hope in 1981), which became a worldwide pop culture phenomenon. It was followed by the successful sequels The Empire Strikes Back (1980) and Return of the Jedi (1983); these three films constitute the original Star Wars trilogy. A prequel trilogy was released between 1999 and 2005, which received mixed reactions from both critics and fans. A sequel trilogy began in 2015 with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. All seven films were nominated for Academy Awards (with wins going to the first two films) and have been commercial successes, with a combined box office revenue of over $7.5 billion, making Star Wars the third highest-grossing film series. Spin-off films include the animated Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) and Rogue One (2016), the latter of which is the first in an upcoming series of anthology films.