Meet VR Expert Sean Rodrigo

Sean Rodrigo is a virtual reality artist at Continuum Studios in London, UK. We were lucky to interview Sean during the AVRA Days conference, where he gave a talk on digital art VR, checked out the Varwin platform, and shared with us his expertise in virtual reality. 

What was your first encounter with VR like?

The first time I did VR was at an arcade, and I think it was Tilt Brush. Actually, no, it was Blue Whale, which I thought was amazing, but Tilt Brush was the one that really made me think, “well, okay, this is something with a lot of potential.”

Will VR/AR eventually replace 2D screens?

I don’t think in the foreseeable future that 2D screens will go away. I’d like that to happen, but headsets have to be a lot more comfortable and a lot less intrusive – they need to feel very natural. But I think 2D screens will be around for a while – I mean, they’ve been around for a hundred years, so they are going to be around for a little longer. Maybe what will end up happening is that screens will become a part of the experience, so you end up with a screen that can be used in different ways with virtual reality. Maybe the screens will be thinner and larger so they will be easier to deal with. 

Is there anything that will never be possible to do in VR?

I don’t know if there is anything necessarily not possible. Maybe it’s the haptics and the walking around sort of thing. It’s not impossible and it’s being done at the moment but it’s not super convincing. And I think that’s a fundamental challenge – being able to be natural. I think things like photorealism will definitely happen but it’s just a matter of time.

If you were preparing a survival kit for a VR developer containing essential hardware and software tools they simply couldn’t do without, what would it include?

I’m not a developer so I’m not necessarily the best person to be asked about that, but I would include a headset that’s popular with people – not necessarily the one they like the best but the one that they think people are going to use. The Oculus Quest would be a good one. A good internet connection is necessary, and maybe some documents on user experience, because one of the biggest issues with mass adoption, I think, is that VR is not designed properly yet. It’s designed to work, not designed to be easy to use. So something like Oculus Quest is the first step to making it user-friendly, but the biggest issue is when you design something with no interface or a bad interface, it’s hard for everyone to use it. That is the problem.

If you had the power and budget to do absolutely anything for the VR industry, what would you do?

I would probably create some tools that talk to each other – or at least talk to the existing tools – that would become the Photoshop equivalent for VR. Something that would allow people to move and create things easily and then have them published. I would probably make something that would be as easy to use as possible to remove technical barriers. I’d maybe create an application that’s sort of like Unity but in VR where you can do visual scripting and put things together. So having a way of being able to create games and applications in VR without having to use code or a game engine – that would probably be the coolest thing.

Thank you for sharing your expertise with us, Sean! We at Varwin wish you all the best with your future projects! And we were happy to discover that your dream project resonates with the idea of Varwin – we have already created a platform that allows clients to build VR projects without developers, making the process as easy as possible!

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