After years of “what if,” the metaverse is starting to come into focus for brands, and moving to the “what’s next?” stage. Brands are racing to find a foothold and define what it means to be a company creating immersive experiences in the metaverse. No one is quite sure what that looks like yet, but as companies experiment and innovate, the growing need for 3D content and immersive experiences is accelerating, along with the demand for 3D creative tools and content libraries.
VentureBeat’s MetaBeat event welcomed leaders from Adobe 3D & Immersive — including Kellie Townley, director of art and development, Guido Quaroni, senior director of engineering and Pierre Maheut, director of strategic initiatives and partnerships — to talk about creating content for the metaverse. The three spoke about how the next generation of 3D design and development is evolving, why brands need to start equipping themselves with the tools and know-how to begin populating a thriving metaverse, challenges like standardization across platforms and more.
The 3D learning curve
To tech audiences the basic idea of the metaverse is nothing new; for brand marketers, it’s a whole new world of opportunity — a brand new audience with a very different focus and a very different learning curve.
“A lot of people come to 3D via the metaverse buzz,” Townley said. “Community and education and learning are going to be critical. 3D is notoriously pretty technical and complicated. So how do you make it approachable and a bit more simplified for people to grab onto? Because it’s not just 3D experts that we need. We need everybody to be doing 3D.”
Brand marketers will be on the front lines, taking the first steps toward a new type of 3D content creation, and will need to lean on simplified, seamless workflows, drag-and-drop interfaces, libraries of pre-made content, and lots of education and practice. Right now, most folks don’t have devices that can immediately leap to real-time interactive 3D, so bridging the gap there will be another important first step, said Guido Quaroni, senior director of engineering.
“The one thing to also be mindful of is, how do we start doing this process that’s a gradual transition over time?” he added. “I would say that it’s important right now to choose the right content at the right time for what we can do now, and then start thinking about how we can scale over time.”
To that end, one of the biggest challenges is building a real pipeline that you can replicate in the long term, said Pierre Maheut, director of strategic initiatives and partnerships.
“Aiming at quality first, rather than trying to push something as quickly as possible,” he said. “It’s an internal learning curve, to have 3D experts internally who can drive the rest of the team, up to the more 2D-content-oriented people.”
That library of 3D content will become a company’s IP and strategic asset, Maheut added, pointing to IKEA, which has been building a 3D library for the last 20 years. IKEA products are designed in 3D, marketed with 3D images, and through AR, consumers will probably be able to shop for them.
Looking ahead at the future of 3D creation
The metaverse conversation is picking up momentum, the broader ecosystem is starting to take shape, and right now it’s impossible to predict what will happen over the short term. As Townley points out, the future holds everything from creative, interactive moments in the real world to enormous innovation in fields like industrial design, where plans and maps take shape and can be molded like clay in virtual settings, and tools continue to evolve to embrace new ways of working, looking at the world, and delivering brand-new technology.
“One thing that drives me these days is assuming that the devices of the future will consume 3D data. That means, how do we start setting a path with that goal in mind, to gradually follow the technological innovation, AI and all these systems together?” Quaroni said. “Thinking about that day, knowing that it’s going to be bumpy, not necessarily predictable right now, but what is the ultimate goal, and how do we create tools that have that mindset in mind? I’m not saying PDF will disappear and nobody will print anything anymore. But that’s most likely the place where we’re going to live.”
For more insight into the business value of 3D education and content creation, a look at developing intra-metaverse standards, a glimpse into the development of upcoming Adobe 3D products and more, don’t miss the full panel (see the video above).