With the global augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) market now estimated at nearly US$20 billion, it’s clear that the world of extended reality (xR) will only continue to expand. As 2020 has shown us, the application of these technologies has been useful in not only entertainment, but also education, work – and even coronavirus.
Enter NewView – the emerging platform for three-dimensional experiences, which reconfigures AR or VR technologies as more than just ‘tech’, but a new way to create and consume.
What is NewView?
The brainchild of Psychic VR Lab, Shibuya PARCO and Loftwork, NewView was established in 2017 firstly as an internationational art, culture and fashion VR competition, with submissions created through Psychic VR Lab’s own ‘Styly’ tool. It has since evolved into an entire global community, with the addition of the NewView School, as well as a host of physical exhibitions and events. See NewView 2018 Case Study here.
Forming an Ecosystem through the NewView School
Launched in 2019, the NewView School is a new type of design school based in Tokyo and Kyoto, where participants are taught about the application of xR technologies as an artistic practice. Not only does the curriculum allow participants to learn the various and essential ideas for xR expression, technical training on using Psychic VR Lab’s Styly, Unity and other production tools is also provided.
As pioneers in the industry, the instructors are those who have all incorporated digital technologies into art, music, architecture and fashion. In addition to giving lectures, they provide valuable feedback on student productions and provide guidance to increase the quality of the overall work. Guest lecturers from a variety of genres also help to nurture students with specialized teaching outside of technical xR work.
A Global Community, from Japan to the World
Crossing disciplines and countries, the NewView community is not just diverse in terms of industry. The 2019 NewView Awards jury itself was a smorgasbord of visual artists, filmmakers and animators hailing from different parts of the world – which, as judge Keng-Ming Liu told us previously, was perfect for reviewing the most cutting-edge VR works.
A maverick in the motion graphics industry, Liu is the man behind the Taipei-based production studio Bito – which nabbed a Red Dot Award for its 2017 Taipei Universiade promotional short film. Liu’s participation in the jury further cemented the strong ties between the NewView communities in Japan and Taiwan – where the competition is also popular.
That Taiwan has built its own NewView community is no accident; in order to expand into other overseas markets, Loftwork had previously chosen Taiwan as a local incubator for the project. The team set up workshops for Taiwanese creators to experiment with Psychic VR Lab’s Styly, organized an exhibition to showcase the works, and found ways for FabCafe Taipei to independently develop a program for their own community.
The NewView team has also taken the same approach to other countries in the FabCafe global network. This year, a workshop was held in Mexico’s FabCafe Monterrey, connecting Monterey’s creative community with Tokyo’s NewView team. Many of those with backgrounds in 3D modeling and architecture got the chance to experiment with Styly.
Ultra Experiences at the 2019 NewView Awards
The 2019 edition of the competition saw 254 entries from eight countries, with works such as Aki Oeka’s ‘VR Manga World for Styly’, Wyatt Roy’s ‘Piece of String’ and Ono Natsuki’s ‘ne.mui’, sharing the honor of the Silver Prize. The 2019 Gold Prize went to ‘Takkun Museum’ by Takkun, a VR landscape made from the objects, memories and imagination of a small child.
As one judge, Lu Yang, said about the work: “It has democratized this technology rather than restraining it to certain fields.”
Other finalists also went on to achieve success outside of NewView, with filmmakers like Keisuke Itoh taking one of his works to the 76th Venice International Film Festival.
The NewView award ceremony and the exhibition were hosted at the new Shibuya PARCO. The department store giant, which is often attributed to “shaping the image of Shibuya as a magnet for young people” completed its much-hyped renewal project in 2019, during which it was completely closed. PARCO’s reopening, along with NewView, is not only a return to form, but a move towards future youth culture.
Ryohei Watanabe, CMO/Executive Officer of Psychic VR Lab
The NewView Project was launched as a project to pioneer and expand the next generation of three-dimensional (XR) expressions and experiences yet to be seen. It has been an epic journey to find a landscape yet to be seen, and that’s why it takes time for people both inside and outside of the company to understand.
Kazuhiko Asami from Loftwork believed in the future we wanted to create, at a time when many people didn’t understand. Along with Ryosuke Hara and the rest of the NewView Team, everyone’s forward-thinking spirit and approach helped shape the project into one that gathers nearly 150 works of diverse expression from nine countries around the world.
In the beginning, we thought we didn’t need anyone’s help, and that we could do it all by ourselves, but now they are indispensable. In fact, it is no longer a project that only our company can handle. We’re still in the middle of the road, but I can’t thank Loftwork members enough for working with us as a team beyond the client’s boundaries, and for bringing the project to this point.