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Termination: Future of 3D

Dive into the immersive future of 3D… it’s boiling.

By

26 February 2010

Text:/ Tim Stackpool

After sniffing around for 10 years or more, the renaissance in 3D cinema has finally come of age (now even your gran knows what ‘avatar’ means). And with 3D hitting the mainstream predictably it’ll be we at the coal face copping a broadside of unrealistic expectations. Ready for your corporate clients to request 3D for their  ‘next big presentation’? You should be. Personally I can’t wait… Imagine the excitement; the anticipation; and the crestfallen pout when they hear about the logistics and cost. “I thought you just run it through some software or something”. Yeah, well, maybe James Cameron might have that ‘software doohickey’ to run a director’s cut of Titanic through, but it won’t be part of Microsoft Office any time soon.

One thing’s for sure: 3D serves up ‘wow’ in spades, and that’s why people want to know more. But what about the nerdy glasses… can I order mine with a Ray Ban logo stuck on?

When I first saw an early new-era 3D representation in 2001 that didn’t require glasses, I was mesmerised to the point of undergoing some sort of spiritual experience (it was in Vegas, so other factors may have been at work). And while glasses are fine for home and the cinema, the real breakthrough will come when regular folk walking in the shopping mall view 3D as easily as they ignore regular digital signage today. We might not even call the display device a screen. It might be called ‘Special Projected Animated Message’ (SPAM) or ‘Character Replicated Automated Projection’ (CRAP). Either way, it will probably be more than 3D. It will simply be ‘real’.

This development could be the start of the next major change in sociology. Yeah, that’s right, AV gear will be the 21st century’s steam engine.

History tells us that entertainment systems like home cinema and gaming consoles put an end to the barn dance at the Mechanics Institute, the turkey-worship meetings at the Masonic Hall and the first date at the rollerskating rink. In the same way, modern 3D AV heralds another shift in how they relate to the world. No longer will we merely click on an icon to order a pizza or pay a bill. With 3D AV screens and technology, we might ‘reach-in’ to select our choice of toppings, or hand over ‘cash’ to the merchant virtually standing in our living room. And as for ‘personal entertainment’, well, the possibilities are as endless as they are icky, but it’s a well worn truism that the adult industry will doubtlessly lead the technology charge, as it often does.

If you’re marketing director of Dulux, avert your eyes now.

Depending on how it’s developed, these 3D representations could act as virtual fascias overlaid on our real world. The cost and effort put into shop fitting, theatrical designs and architecture could all but evaporate. Our environment could become nothing more than mammoth 3D displays that we inhabit like, dare I say, avatars in a ‘second life’. Staging and lighting for our clients’ next event could be ‘constructed’ entirely on a laptop at the office, and then merely ‘applied’ to the venue’s ‘3D environment display system’. Much of this we already do today, but we’re still constrained by 2D environments. Add technology that simulates the sensation of touch when stimulated by virtual 3D ‘textures’ and we’re well on the way to transforming our world. It would spell the end of many auxiliary construction industries. The new-world millionaires will the ‘3D habitat designers’.

And it all started with the 3D AV display. Viva la revolution!

Something on your mind? Busting to relate a stirring tale? Then send your thoughts to the editor (andy@av.net.au) – he’ll be gentle.

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