Phil Tippett, the visual effects genius behind classic stop-motion animation sequences from films such as the holochess scene from the Star Wars franchise, Jurassic Park (1993), and RoboCop 2 (1990), brings his latest stop-mo project MAD GOD to virtual reality.

Based on Tippett’s eponymous short film MAD GOD (2013), a long-time passion project and result of a successful Kickstarter campaign, the newly released 3D 360 video is filled with the universe’s faceless ghouls, war pigs, and other nightmarish sights. While it’s only a little less than two minutes it length, it’s effect is nothing short of terrifying.

Like in the good old days of movie magic though, all of the creatures in MAD GOD are hand-crafted—something that really makes your skin crawl to see up close and personal via the immersive first-person view of a VR headset.

mad-god-vr

Phil Tippett is a VFX pro with more than 40 years of experience under his belt with an Oscar, a BAFTA, and 2 Emmys to show for it, so when he says something about the nature of film and its role in the burgeoning medium of virtual reality, we’re inclined to listen. Explaining his thoughts on VR in a behind-the-scenes look at MAD GOD, Tippett says that VR isn’t so much a continuation of film-making as an art, but rather an entirely new medium, one that pioneering creatives still need to figure out.

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“I do not think VR is the future of film making,” explains Tippett. “It’s the wild west. It’s like, nobody knows nothin’. The opportunity to experiment and try things that you haven’t seen and you haven’t imagined, it’s all out there.”

mad-god-360

Even though stop-motion animation has now become a niche field in visual effects, replaced largely by computer-generated imagery (CGI), Tippett still wants to be on the forefront of story-telling.

“It really is that first-person dreamworld. It’s all experimental, it’s all really wild. It was kind of like that working for George [Lucas] or Steven [Spielberg] early on. Why do you want to do what you’ve already done a hundred times before?” he wonders. “Oh. I understand. To make money. My mind doesn’t go there—it’s like … you now what would be really great? […] Like a LSD VR-thing. That would be really fuckin’ cool.”

MAD GOD was made by VR production studio Kaleidoscope and Tippett’s own production house, Tippett Studio. You can download it on Wevr’s Transport app for Gear VR and HTC Vive on Steam.

Check out the behind-the-scenes video below for a deeper look into MAD GOD for VR.

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  • silvaring

    Very ambitious (some more info here – http://www.awn.com/news/tippett-studio-wevr-unveil-mad-god-stop-motion-vr-experience). The earliest style I can think of that looked a bit like claymation but used 3D graphics was a short called Birdie Kind Land for the DK1/DK2, I would love to see what Mad God is like with its more physical style though. I imagine it could be the VR equivalent of those old terrifying stop motion effects from the 80’s (terrifying in a positive sense). Now that I think about it the whole practical effects animation industry might have an interesting revival in VR as CGI still doesn’t seem to be able to replicate the volumetric aspect of practical effects in lots of scenarios and with VR will no longer be able to cover up this fact using tricky editing / lighting. Anyone seen this short yet?

    • OgreTactics

      Whatever happened to Birdie Kind Land, of one the best pre-VR experience that was released.

  • wheeler

    Can’t wait to try this out. Unfortunately it looks like the Wevr Transport application is a disaster (never mind the “content portal within a content portal” thing) so I’m guessing very few Vive owners will get to see this.

    • DiGiCT Ltd

      Yeah that indeed is a disaster, took me a while to figure out how to get into the blue on my vive from it ;-)
      But they release some awesome cool stuff tho :)

  • Toni Borovac

    for me, this is the first proper example of how real cinematic art got upgraded with vr, bravo! probably will never get better than this, only different.

  • “You know what would be really great… is like an LSD VR thing. That would be like, really fuckin cool.” I want to work with that man :)

  • It’s a 360 movie, very disappointing. 360 movies aren’t real VR. You can’t move through it, you’re stuck. VR should put you in a place, not in a vice.

    I really wish they would look at what’s possible with the Unreal 4 Engine. It could make all of these visuals in real-time. I’m looking over the shapes and forms, these could all be reduced to simply polygon structures with some advanced surface materials. It would look just as good, and you’d be able to wander around freely.

    • Shawn Blais Skinner

      Ya I was really looking forwards to this, and then super dissapointed when it didn’t even support positional tracking. Not only are non-interactive video’s no fun, they are so low res, that it completely kills the experience, and makes the amazing stop-motion models look like something from 1995. :(

  • OgreTactics

    Claymotion is great for VR, like for example Allumette. However it’s absolutely pointless if it’s a 360° flat video. Looks like a nice animation though.