How can virtual, augmented and mixed reality technologies impact the world of animated storytelling?


Ahead of VR & AR World 2016, we caught up with Nexus’s Chris O’Reilly to find out how VR, AR and mixed reality are playing an important role in animated storytelling…

A little bit about Chris and his role at Nexus…

I’m co-founder and ECD at Nexus.  We’re an Academy award nominated animation studio and interactive storytelling company based in London. We began the studio during another big shift in the industry when desktop computing began to hugely democratise animation and VFX in the late nineties.  We set up a studio to work with in-house directing talent and built a pipeline to serve that. We began by creating TV series, commercials and short films. About six years ago we also began to work increasingly in interactive storytelling, in apps, installations and web. We were really interested in creating a studio that bought together excellent, high-level authored stories to emerging interactive technologies. Obviously VR and AR are currently the crucibles where these two are most productively coming together.

How are you using technologies such as virtual, augmented and mixed reality to tell stories?

We’ve been working over the last 18 months with the clever people at Google’s Advanced Technologies and Projects department (ATAP) with their real-time technology for Google Spotlight Stories.  We created an animated short RAIN OR SHINE which is having its official release later this year.  It’s an animated caper with gaze base interactivity.  It’s still very much a story… Spotlight is led by Jan Pinkava, an Oscar winning director formerly from Pixar. We’re now developing a whole slate of VR entertainment.

We’re busy in AR too having recently created an AR experience called The Invisible Museum for Qualcomm at CES in Las Vegas. We’re working on some exciting upcoming AR projects.


Are there any projects you’re working on that you’re particularly excited about?

We have some very interesting things in the pipeline both in VR and AR. All of them currently under-wraps! But the opportunities that are emerging are very exciting. We’ve really been thinking about what VR will become as it grows up and have developed some interesting format ideas for the medium.

How are you working with B2B companies?

Advertisers have seen the potential for VR and AR so we’ve worked B2B in that area both with agencies and sometimes directly with tech clients.

Which of these technologies are you using most in B2B – is one more popular than the others?

AR looks set to be massive for B2B as it takes people off screen and out into the real world.  Longer term mixed reality feels like it could be even more influential.

Here at VR & AR World we were really blown away by the augmented reality cover you created for the New Yorker – Is this a technology that you’re seeing a lot of demand for from clients?

Absolutely.  AR is hugely advantageous to advertisers as it connects back to the real world… either to places or to objects. It’s easy to get people involved, as the technology is right there in their hands already.

The AR content you’re producing is really interesting, the examples of your work in the VR Studio section of your site are awesome – could you explain how the technology works?

Our set up centres on the introduction of game engine technologies working along side our film pipe line.  Here’s a behind the scenes on our New Yorker project.

How do you predict virtual and augmented reality being used 10 years from now?

10 years is a long way down the line in this world! So much has happened in just the last few months. I think the broad trend will see more pervasive but less intrusive use of mixed reality and virtual worlds will have developed to be more social.

How do you see Nexus developing in the future – are there any areas you’d like to focus on going forward?

The big broad theme for us is to do with real-time animation and its ability to be the face of the emerging new digital economy.  Specific platforms will come and go but emotional storytelling and meaningful design will always remain, wherever technology takes us.

What are you looking forward to the most about this year’s VR & AR World event?

Meeting a community of fellow adventurers in this exciting frontier.


VR & AR World, ExCeL London, 19-20 October 2016

There’s still time to register for this year’s event online here!


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