At SIGGRAPH next week, online training company Pluralsight plans to promote expansions to its VR offerings. The company said demand is quickly increasing for materials focused on creating VR content using the Unity game engine and other tools.
Pluralsight VP of Creative, Design and Engineering Andy Rahden told StudioDaily VR has long been a hot topic among the SIGGRAPH crowd, but said so far this year the company has seen as much as a fourfold increase in views on VR-related topics, with most of that increase coming over the last three months.
He said the company has been responding to that demand by preparing to offer a broader “holistic perspective” on VR creation beyond dozens of courses that already focus on Unity. “We’ve been focusing on building Unity content for the past five or six years, but now we’re looking at integrating a combination of C# capabilities, Maya, 3ds Max, and other tools that will all lead into a complete VR experience,” he said. “We want people to come into our library and learn from start to finish — from the most basic level of learning how to create a VR experience, with all of the required components, all the way to the most advanced levels. We’re at the start of our journey.”
Rahden said Pluralsight is focused on making the learning process as fast as possible, noting that among its platform offerings are assessment tools designed to quickly evaluate a user’s skill set and guide them to the most appropriate materials, so they don’t waste time training up on basics that they already understand or getting in over their head with materials that are too advanced. “As the demand goes up,” he said, “people need to skill up quickly.”
And one of the reasons it pays off to take a holistic approach to VR training, Rahden argued, is that the field is still new and workflows are still emerging, meaning some tools may be used in ways that were never originally intended. “Autodesk Fusion 360, for example, is primarily for the manufacturing industry,” he said. “But a lot of 3D modelers who would, historically, create their content in Maya or 3ds Max are creating it in Fusion 360 primarily because of the affordability of the product. Fusion can be used for as little as $30, and there are also free tools.”
Along those lines, Rahden hopes Pluralsight’s materials will help users learn more about the field of VR content creation as a whole, and encourage them to think outside of their niche. “You’re not going to drive yourself to the next level of innovation [just] by searching for specific topics on Google,” he said. “It’s not just for the technologists creating these experiences — it’s important to them, but the technology is important for everyone to learn and to adopt.”
Pluralsight’s training is available at the company website as well as through Autodesk.