This VR Animation Studio is Making 3D Short Films into Virtual Playgrounds
Granola Studios are a new VR animation studio committed to revolutionising storytelling. Founded by Dominik Faber and Axel Zehden, Granola Studios works at the intersection of technology and creativity bringing artists, animators, software engineers and game developers together.
Inspired by Pixar
Dominik and Axel were united by a dream to be inside a Pixar film and be able to move objects, walk freely around the space, and interact with the characters. This dream led them to start their own virtual reality studio, and take on the mission of turning 360° short films into virtual playgrounds. Computer games have long been working with non-linear interactive storytelling, as has theatre, but cinema lacks the ability to allow the viewer to go on their own journey. Granola Studios are integrating gaming mechanics with short animations, to incorporate interactive storytelling into VR cinematic experiences. Having successfully raised the angel round, Granola Studios are set to release their first VR experience in November.
‘Marius and the Magic Library’
The first VR experience is called ‘Marius and the Magic Library’ and combines AI-powered characters with striking animation. ‘Marius and the Magic Library’ tells the story of a very special rabbit with a very special gift. Marius is a librarian, just like his Dad. On Marius’s tenth birthday, his Dad showed him why he became a librarian. He took him into the fantasy section and lifted a book from the top shelf, the dust smelled like chalk. He took a deep breath, closed his eyes, held Marius’ hand, and then he felt the library crumble around him as he realised he was in a new world, a magical world, a world where his family had a different name. But the library is different now, the books have lost their magic and Marius needs your help.
This interactive VR experience works like Jazz. There is no linear narrative but rather an overarching theme, and within the theme are multiple narratives that are improvised and directed by the individual player. VR is a unique art form that opens up exciting possibilities for making immersive and interactive artistic experiences. Unlike 3D animated feature films, VR must be interactive and therefore cannot follow a linear story line. By marrying AI with striking animation, Granola Studios are bringing characters to life to make the player empathize with the story. The player can move freely through Marius’ library pick up and throw the books, read letters, interact with the characters and carry out tasks that complete the story. Marius will be available on all VR devices in high quality through Granola Studios’ own streaming technology that depends on cloud computing.
Cloud computing and VR
Streaming VR using cloud computing will revolutionise the entire market, as this will mean that an average internet speed and hardware capacity will be sufficient to experience VR at home. Granola Studios are working on different ways of streaming VR that could enable VR entertainment to be accessible from the average family sitting room. Cloud computing is not only changing the VR market, headsets are also more affordable than they’re ever been and Microsoft has just made significant investments in VR headsets. VR is the future, and the future is becoming the present.