Disney Animation’s First VR Project ‘Cycles’ Debuts Next Month


The VR short will take us beyond life as we know it.

After nearly a decade of animated short films, this year Disney will premier its first ever virtual reality short film titled Cycles at Siggraph in Vancouver Canada.

Addressing the topic of what’s held in the span of a lifetime, the Cycles VR experience will take you inside the world and workings of the cycles and phases we call life. Disney Animation’s lighting artist Jeff Gipson, known for his contribution to the films Frozen, Zootopia, and Moana, makes his first ever VR directorial debut in what will be for Gipson and Disney a major enhancement to their already well-known storytelling abilities.

Much of the inspiration for this VR short came from Gipson’s recent experience helping his grandparents move into an assisted living home. “We wanted to create a story in this single place and be able to have the viewer witness life happening around them,” said Gipson. One can only wonder that while our childhood is filled with fantasies and imaginations of the future, maybe later in life we find the creations we build together and the company we keep are what truly fill the space around us.

Cycles was created by a team of 50 contributors using the VR paint and animation tool, QuillAlso created with Quill was the VR short Dear Angelica that premiered at Siggraph 2017. Created in a mere four months, it’s no surprise Disney chose Quill to create Cycles in what’s sure to be a memorable experience considering this unique combination of sound and imagery. Oculus introduced more robust animation features within the Quill tool back in February.

The VR film will premiere at the SIGGRAPH 2018 conference, Aug. 12-16 in Vancouver. It will be hosted in the Immersive Pavilion, a new space for this year’s conference dedicated to VR, augmented reality, and mixed reality. The Pavilion will also hold the VRcade, and well known, Village, an area that showcases large scale installations.

Cycles and other immersive content that we can expect to experience in the VR Theatre are sure to leave a mark on what we as viewers and creators will imagine is “possible” for the future of storytelling.

Image Credit: Disney

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