FITC 2017 puts the spotlight on new realities

The busy streets of Toronto were stacked with tall skyscrapers. Inside their glass walls sat not only banks and hotels, but also tech giants: Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft, you name it. Toronto is considered one of the top three cities in the world to live and work in tech, according to Fast Company. Maybe it is the business growth and the great salaries; maybe it's Toronto and its people! Either way, what better place for FITC ("Future. Innovation. Technology. Creativity."), a multiday event that draws designers, developers, motion graphics artists, digital artists--or as FITC puts it, "anyone who creates things in the digital space."

All about AR, MR, and VR

 
At FITC Toronto, which took place a couple weeks ago, we knew what to expect: design, technology, programming and glimpse into the future of tech. Therefore we were extremely curious. When we attended FITC several years ago, video on the web was the thing. This time, AR, MR and VR reigned supreme. Some speakers who weren't talking about these technologies half-jokingly apologized for not being “cool.”

Augmented reality, mixed reality and virtual reality are technologies that can have several applications within the consumer and enterprise markets.

AR, which combines virtual reality with the real world, is a means to show users an additional layer of information. Think of cars with AR-based windshields that replace the traditional dashboard. Sectors that can leverage AR include tourism, military, medical, maintenance, gaming and more.
   
BMW Vision AR Concept Car
Facebook's Augmented Reality

VR works best for any sort of simulation, think gaming, medical and military training. With Google and Facebook investing heavily in virtual reality, the technology might have a viable future, but no one truly knows if consumers will fully adopt it. 

Microsoft introduced MR. Its HoloLens allows users to add and interact with holographic objects within their physical environment. Holograms in MR allow you to visualize and interact with digital content as part of your physical reality. This innovation holds enormous possibilities.

The fate of these new technologies is in the hands of developers and designers who will need to come up with compelling use cases for the masses.    

The Future of WebGL

The rise of WebGL, a JavaScript API for rendering 3D graphics within web browsers without the use of plug-ins, has been tied to advances in browser performance, increased connection speeds and faster GPUs that are better equipped to process the load of running 3D effects. If you thought a big image was slowing your site down before, just think about what rendering light, texture and geometry in real-time could do to your site’s performance. FITC opened our eyes to how agencies are confronting these issues today and introduced us to exciting new possibilities using WebGL. 

Data visualization

Some types of data are more useful when viewed in 3D space--things like medical MRI scans or engineering survey data: https://www.biodigital.com/

Games

Browser games are about to get a whole lot more interesting:
http://www.webglgames.com/

Interactive pages

This allows users to explore your product from every angle:
https://www.sirinlabs.com/

Shout out to Firstborn’s creative developers, Morgan VilledieuRota and Hector Arellano, as well as Oblio’s creative director, Jonathan Hooker, for taking us behind the scenes and sharing their experience.

Emotion in Motion

When people communicate, body language has a huge effect on how a message is perceived. Expressions and movement are more universally recognized than words and their importance in communication is why we’ve seen things like emojis and reaction gifs so quickly embraced. However, when it comes to user interfaces, motion seems to be a largely untapped tool for communication.

Google designer Alon Chitayat spoke about the importance of bringing motion to user interfaces not only to provide context during transitions, but also to help convey the tone and personality that the app or website wants to present.

Meaningful Motion

A great article by Google motion designers:
https://design.google.com/articles/making-motion-meaningful/