OTOY, the studio behind the made-for-VR rendering software OctaneVR, has announced a contest sponsored by Oculus that aims to get the community involved in generating immersive 360-degree panoramas using their software suite. Oculus CTO John Carmack is also signing on to judge the contest which will close 26th July 2015.


OTOY, a Los Angeles based studio founded in 2010, has recently announced “Render the Metaverse,” a contest using the company’s newly released made-for-VR rendering software, OctaneVR. The company claims their Octane Renderer to be “the world’s fastest unbiased photorealistic renderer.”

The contest has its sights on developers wanting to test their skills in creating convincing panoramic scenes like those seen in OTOY’s newly released ORBX media viewer for Gear VR, an app that already contains a number of highly polished static scenes.

Register to a Download Free 3-month Trial of OctaneVR

rendered scene from OctaneVR

OTOY’s contest will be giving artists the opportunity to win up to $35,000 for their 360 creations using OctaneVR. Images can be viewed via Oculus and OTOY apps on the Samsung Gear VR which includes both the previous Note 4 model as well as the upcoming Galaxy S6/S6 Edge model planned for release in May, a platform shared between the two devices that could net artists some serious name recognition.

demo of OctaneVR

John Carmack, prolific game programmer and Oculus VR’s chief tech guru will be judging the contest along with acclaimed comic book artists Alex Ross, and CEO of OTOY Jules Urbach. All winners, including 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place along with runner-ups will be featured and showcased in Oculus 360 Photos.

“One of the rewards of years of technology development is seeing artists work on the canvases I have helped create, and I am always left amazed by the vision brought to bear. Stereoscopic panoramas are powerful, but they are a peculiar medium that is difficult to author for with conventional photography or rasterization based rendering. OTOY’s Octane VR makes it trivial to emit optimal media for today’s displays, as well as next generation formats for the future.” – John Carmac

OctaneVR will remain free throughout the duration of the contest, but it’s still unclear how much OctaneVR will cost outside of the confines of the contest.

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Entries will be scored by the judges on:

  • Originality and creativity Technical and visual details
  • Viewing experience including navigability and interactivity
  • Overall render quality

First-, second-, and third-place winners will be awarded each month over the three months of the contest.

Monthly Prizes: 1st: $10,000 – 2nd: $5,000 – 3rd: $2,500 – Grand Prize: $25,000

  • 1st Entry Period: April 27th through May 26th
  • 2nd Entry Period: May 27th through June 26th
  • 3rd Entry Period: June 27th through July 26th

How Many Entries Can I Submit? As many entries as you like! But keep in mind, once you submit each entry, it cannot be changed. Questions Still have questions? Just ask us on the OTOY Forums.

The contest closes 26th July 2015 11:59 pm (PST). For more information click here for rules and to download OctaneVR.

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 3,500 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • augure

    Hugely disappointed in this. I’m starting to hate Otoy. I was greatly expecting to try OctaneVR as I saw the potential of their real-time rendering technics with Brigade. But turns out it’s not a free contest nor a free plugin, you must already have the XXX$ Octane Render suit to be able to try it.

    It sucks, and I’m already infuriated that they bought Brigade Engine, which obviously will become a promising vaporware that nobody will actually be able to use since its only licensed to big budget pros…