Discover Your Next Car in VR with Substance
When it comes to hyper-realistic VR experiences, Han Yu from Afun Interactive is in the driver's seat. We interviewed him last year on his AMG Project, and today we're having a closer look at a brand-new experience created in Unreal Engine 4 using Substance Painter for texturing. As you'll see, it's a leap forward into photorealism and immersion!
Hi Han, this is not the first time we’ve interviewed you, so introductions are but a formality :) Still, could you introduce yourself for the newcomers?
Hi, my name is Han Yu. When we did the first interview, I was in Los Angeles, but now I’m living in Seoul, South Korea. Currently, I am running a company called Afun Interactive. The company is developing content to create stunning and creative AR, VR, and hologram experiences. Before this, I had the opportunity to work at The Mill (Los Angeles), Digital Domain and Walt Disney Animation Studios. I spent most of my career at Disney Animation Studios, where I was mainly involved in animation making, production, and theme park ride production.
The Afun Interactive team has produced another great-looking VR experience: the Kia Stinger VR project. How would you describe it?
The Kia Stinger project is VR content that was specifically designed for advertising the new Stinger automobile from Kia. Our team worked hard to deliver the sedan’s attractiveness, featuring a sophisticated outer design meshed with outstanding performance, with believable interactive quality.
One of the most important things in a VR project is making it look realistic. What is key to achieving such real-looking textures?
I would say that the most important aspect is probably surface quality control in order to maximize the interaction of surfaces with the lights. Surface irregularity, reflection maps, and using noise to the fullest in order to naturalize reflection map are key points.
In your opinion, what’s the most important thing in creating realtime content for a great visual experience?
When working in realtime, you cannot simply rely on using complex shaders or increase the texture size to improve the quality of your work. The content needs to be run in real time, with ordinary computer specs. Pushing resources to the limit without taking this into account will cause problems. You have to use just the necessary amount of polygons to preserve the quality and be careful not to go beyond that: all the know-how is in getting the right amount of resources to keep the balance between performance and quality.
Furthermore, you have to identify the asset’s focal point within the content and invest more resources into them, as the viewer will likely be spending more time watching these particular points.
What are your favorite features in Substance?
One of my favorite features is the smart mask. The more you combine smart masks, the more complexity you get. I believe that a simple material setup and smart mask combination is the best match.
How have you seen VR evolving since last year?
I personally think VR is currently at a transition period and that it needs more time before reaching the mainstream. Limitations in consumer hardware means that it will be some time before VR reaches all users; however, hardware will develop and the market will grow. It’s a question of time.
Do you think realtime experiences are becoming the new standard in the automotive industry?
I do, but they still need to improve. Most of the current realtime experiences in automotive are boring, and it’s not just a question of hardware limitations. As content providers, we have to make sure we deliver a better experience to improve the whole market.
What are your future projects?
We are currently working on realtime interactive animation. Look for it next February!