VRHUMAN: ‘Virtual Reality is the next evolutionary step’

We discovered the amazing work of VRHUMAN through #VREVERYDAY, his daily playground for artistic experiments. In this article,​​ we find out more about his fascinating​ process and what inspires him…

Who is VRHUMAN?

I’m Vladimir Ilic, I go by the pseudonym ‘VRHUMAN’. I’m an artist, designer, and creative technologist in virtual and augmented reality. I’ve had the chance to collaborate with Google, Microsoft, AMD, Samsung and Mozilla to name a few.

My background and experience in design has led to a diverse range of work. As an industrial and interface designer in the car design industry, I had the chance to work with prestigious brands like Porsche and Mercedes. I also had fun creating workflows and working in print for some of the biggest publications and print products, while based in the Black Forest of southern Germany.

Path

“A few years ago, I had an inflammation in my left-brain hemisphere. I temporarily lost vision on the right half of both of my eyes. ”

People often ask how I got into Virtual Reality. It’s a rather personal story, actually, that really changed how I see the world today. I’m happy to share, of course.

A few years ago, I had an inflammation in my left-brain hemisphere. I temporarily lost vision on the right half of both of my eyes.

Needless to say, this was a shocking moment for me, and it made me reflect on my life and the time I have left. I made a list of things that drive me and motivate me. The most important items on that list were technology, art, design, music, science and stories.

I believe that you should follow your goals and ambitions with the support for friends and family on a daily basis, even if it’s just a single step each day.

Lucky for me, that was around the time when the current generation of VR was still in its infancy—my gut screamed! This was exactly what I needed to pursue all my passions and interests in art, technology, design, music, science and storytelling!

Bowser

VR and AR (Augmented Reality) was the only field where I could fully utilise all the previous design skills I honed and sharpened over the years: design theory, composition, painting, drawing and 3D modelling. It’s amazing in retrospect—I was unknowingly gearing up for a job and sector that didn’t exist yet.

Now, I work with amazing teams and people from all over the world on crazy pioneering projects. I give talks and workshops in the U.S. and Asia on immersive design. I’m very grateful.

Star Road

How did you discover Affinity Photo and Designer?

My friend, Domen, showed me Affinity Designer. I love working with vectors and was happy to learn about the incredible features and usability traits Designer offered. After seeing me nerd about how cool Designer looked, Domen showed me Photo as well. Good times.

Swords

How does Affinity fit into your workflow?

I use them on a daily basis in almost every piece of art I make.

I use Affinity Photo for colour correcting rendered pieces that I make in Cinema 4D, Unreal Engine or Unity3D.

I´m always impressed how responsive and intuitive the interface is. I also really enjoy switching between the different personas in Affinity Photo, especially to add that bit of magic at the end of the process where I can easily add subtle effects like chromatic aberration of depth of field.

Adjusting colours and contrast are one of my favourite things to do in Photo, to round up some VR pieces and explore different moods.

It always amazes me what a difference some minute slider changes can do to bring more life to a virtual reality piece!

Occulus Medium

Affinity Designer allows me to quickly create vectors which I can then import into a 3D package and then extrude to create 3D geometry from it. It’s also a pretty amazing tool for creating new brushes for Substance Painter.

I go in to Affinity Designer and like to create graphic 2D shapes and designs, which I can then use to give my VR assets unique details and character.

Piano Bar

What is #VREVERYDAY?

#VREVERYDAY is my artistic and exploratory playground for immersive work. VR and AR requires a lot of hands-on experiments to see what works and how it influences the perception of the realities we will all experience soon.

VR hand

“VREVERYDAY is my immersive sketchbook, diary and creative log.”

I’ve been doing this for over a year now and started round two. I consider the first year ‘Volume 0’ as I didn’t know if it’s even possible.

The human brain is pretty interesting when it comes to forming habits. On the road to mastery we have to challenge ourselves on a daily basis. We have to consciously repeat and observe what we do to reach the next level and improve.

CyberPunk / Zelda VR art

There are so many different hats to wear when creating realities and designs. On any given day, I am an art director, 3D artist, painter, editor, developer. Sometimes I am all of these roles in the same day!

I need to regularly improve my skills in order to create phenomenal immersive content. I have to challenge myself and my skills every day to improve and develop the best results.

VREVERYDAY is my immersive sketchbook, diary and creative log.

Do you see VR artwork becoming more mainstream in the near future?

Absolutely! Over time the technical bottlenecks like cost and computing diminish with every day, opening the door ever so slightly every day for more people to experiment and enjoy immersive content.

VR Worlds

Our minds are pretty easy to trick and impress. We strap a display and some sensors in front of our eyes and trigger complex emotions within just a couple minutes from the comfort of our homes. It’s amazing to me every time I jump into virtual reality.

Glowing Fingers

What are (some of) the biggest advantages of working in a VR space?

I remember the first time I booted up Google’s Tilt Brush and I painted an eye. I couldn’t stop smiling. Having rays of light come out of your hands, brush strokes suspended in mid-air, defying gravity—these are pretty exciting concepts you have to see and experience yourself.

Being able to sculpt an environment and immediately walk around it is something we just couldn’t do in this capacity before VR. You have unlimited resources and you can cast into existence every idea that you can ever imagine… within minutes! You completely change your perspective of the world around you as you mold it with your hands.

There is nothing except you and the piece of art you’re creating. No distractions. No notifications. Just you and your art.

Virtual Painting Sculpture

“I remember the first time I booted up Google’s Tilt Brush and I painted an eye. I couldn’t stop smiling. Having rays of light come out of your hands, brush strokes suspended in mid-air, defying gravity—these are pretty exciting concepts you have to see and experience yourself. ”

What projects do you have on the horizon?

I look forward to all the events, exhibitions, workshops and talks that are happening in 2019. There are a couple places on the worldmap I would like to visit like China, where I’m curious to see how they approach VR and AR. I’m currently learning Mandarin so it becomes a bit easier. I would love to get the chance to visit the U.S. more often as well so I can see my friends in normal-meat-reality again!

Flower

For #VREVERYDAY I’m currently documenting the process of rebuilding the Artifacts Piano Bar. A hub for cool stuff that will happen in the future!

Also currently in preparation is a podcast called Unlock Realities to introduce more people to the amazing friends I’ve made in the industry and shine some light on them. We will be talking about their work, backgrounds, and go a bit deeper to raise new questions about emerging technologies like VR, AR and AI.

Other than that, the usual crazy XR projects with friends from all over the world.

Final Fantasy style

Where do you draw your inspiration from?

I think that’s one of the most exciting things about virtual reality. It makes you question everything you take for granted. You look at the world around you from a new perspective in every way imaginable. Philosophy, Design and User Experience are topics that we encounter every day the second we wake up, but rarely do we think about these things thoroughly. If you are bold and curious enough, you can find inspiration in everything.

A special memory that triggered my interest in digital media was when I got my Super Nintendo with Super Mario World back in the day—haha!

Passive and Interactive mediums like movies, video games and music are in a sense the precursor to VR. They combined immense craftsmanship from different sectors into coherent experiences that allowed us to dive into the frame and ignite emotions in us.

Lake

What in your opinion is the future of VR art?

Languages are an exciting inspiration and good analogy to what’s happening right now. We started with the spoken word to communicate ideas, then painted in the sand, and then cave walls to make information permanent.

Stag

The printing press multiplied ideas, concepts and stories for a lot of people to think, share and learn from. The internet gave us access to information, moving pictures with audio.

Virtual Reality is the next evolutionary step for us as we shift from the information age into the experience age. Soon, we can be anywhere, anyone, or anything we can imagine, and we’ll be able to express ourselves in new ways we’ve never been able to fathom before.


You can follow Vlad on Instagram, Twitter and check out his wesbite here

VRHUMAN, Vlad

“Virtual Reality is the next evolutionary step for us as we shift from the information age into the experience age. Soon, we can be anywhere, anyone, or anything we can imagine, and we’ll be able to express ourselves in new ways we’ve never been able to fathom before.”

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Umar is our marketing assistant which basically involves knowing a bit about everything. He likes to tinker with computers, build things and play competitive games. His favourite colour is green and he enjoys bouldering, which is basically climbing without any ropes. It’s less dangerous than it sounds.
Credits & Footnotes

All work shown is copyright of Vladimir Ilic (VRHUMAN), and is used with permission.