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VividQ’s Unity Plugin: Making Existing Content Truly 3D on Holographic Displays

29 June 2021

Unity has become the leading platform for creating interactive, real-time content across multiple industries from film and animation, to architecture and automotive. Today, it is also becoming the engine of choice for the newest medium for digital content – holographic displays, thanks to the VividQ Unity Plugin, released as part of our Software Development Kit.

Creators often turn to the latest display technologies to showcase digital content in new exciting ways. In the gaming industry, the rules and mechanics of game development have been constantly re-evaluated, allowing gamers to experience the best in image quality, UX and functionality. Game development is no longer exclusively kept behind corporate smokescreens, either. Thanks to the accessibility of game engines such as Unity and Unreal Engine, any aspiring developer can unleash their creativity and develop sophisticated content from the comfort of their own PC. And those engines are no longer limited just to gaming either. Unity has become the leading platform for creating interactive, real-time content for artists, designers and programmers across multiple industries from film and animation, to architecture and automotive. Today, it is also becoming the engine of choice for the newest medium for digital content – truly three-dimensional holographic displays.

Today 3D content is “flattened” for 2D displays

Game engines, similarly to CAD software, allow developers to build 3D content from simple objects to extremely complex scenes. Despite possessing detailed XYZ information, most of this content is only displayed on two-dimensional screens. This is also the case with the current crop of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) devices. Even in high-end headsets, the use of stereoscopic displays limits the experience to a simple 3D-like effect. The lack of natural depth perception in displayed content often causes nausea and eye fatigue in users. This is due to the so-called Vergence-Accommodation Conflict (or VAC), where a user’s brain is forced to adapt to conflicting focus and depth cues in 3D objects.

But what if we were to present the Unity content on the perfect 3D display? Where objects and scenes have true depth, and extend in and out of the screen in three-dimensional space. Where you can immerse yourself in the content, with your eyes focusing on different objects like in the real world. This is what Computer-Generated Holography can achieve. With the development of new, high-performance algorithms, holographic displays powered by VividQ are set to revolutionise display interfaces for game engines and beyond.

Holography brings existing Unity content to life with one simple step

Computer-Generated Holography (CGH) mimics the way we naturally observe our surroundings, at the resolution of the human eye. Holographic images can appear at any depth relative to the viewer, allowing them to integrate into the real world – effortlessly merging the digital with the physical.

Thanks to VividQ’s Software Development Kit (SDK), any Unity project can be turned into a truly three-dimensional holographic experience. The SDK contains proprietary Unity plugins that allow game developers and content creators of interactive experiences to access the benefits of CGH. The process of generating holograms from a Unity scene works by adding the VividQ Unity Capture plugin into a Unity project. This script extracts colour and depth information from each frame of the scene and sends them to the VividQ Unity Steamer plugin. This allows any Unity content to be displayed as a three-dimensional holographic image on a display device such as LCoS. It means that after installing the VividQ SDK, the user can simply open Unity, and drag and drop an ‘example script’ onto the camera. By doing this, the SDK connects the Unity content to the user’s hardware of choice, making the process effortless.

 

 

Real-time 3D content takes over the display world

Earlier this month, Unity CEO John Riccitiello spoke to The Information, sharing his prediction that “real-time 3D content will make up nearly half of all visual content by 2030, up from only ~3% now.” With the combination of real-time computation and multi-platform support, the VividQ SDK elevates experiences achieved with existing Unity content, with holography: from the renowned Pokemon Go that engaged millions of gamers around the world, to information graphics for automotive Head-Up Displays that allow drivers to access GPS information without the need to take their eyes off the road.

VividQ Holographic Operating System for AR glasses was also created with Unity plugins

Thanks to VividQ’s Unity plugins, Unity content can be easily adopted for holographic display, without the need to start a project from scratch. If you’re a game developer or immersive content creator, you can be excited because the future of 3D display is now.

Learn more about our SDK features and download SDK release notes on our Products page here.