A dreamy scene with a curtain fluttering in the wind, flying whales, a gorgeous lantern-lit tree and a long hanging bridge out into a world of mountaintop villages above the clouds is the $35,000 grand prize winner in the three-month-long “Render The Metaverse” competition hosted by rendering company OTOY and judged by Oculus CTO John Carmack.
The winner was Benjamin Aguillon with Imagined Reality, which won both the third month of the competition’s monthly judging as well as the grand prize. OTOY is a Los Angeles-based creator of software pushing the limits of rendering technologies to create new highly immersive scenes. OTOY partnered with Oculus for the competition which saw gorgeous panoramas capturing the possibilities of VR using OTOY’s software and viewed on the Samsung Gear VR. Along with Carmack, OTOY CEO Jules Urbach and artist Alex Ross judged the competition.
You can explore 220 entries made for the competition in a gallery and see an interactive preview of the winner here that should work in the browser. Aguillon’s statement about the winning piece encapsulates the possibilities of VR:
As a child, all you had to do was to look out the window to be above the clouds.
Imagination is reality.
Dreams are worlds
And pigs do fly, or in this case, whales.
Be a child again.
Welcome to Imagined Reality.
If you check out individual images from different parts of the panorama below you get a sense of the amount of detail in the piece. It’s an inspiring work of art and does remind me of being a child and both getting lost inside my own imagination as well as playing games like Myst. It also makes me ache for a time when I can explore a world like this in VR. Imagined Reality makes it seem like our dreams are so very close to being realized.