Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel: Interview with Ilan Ostrovsky

September 27, 2018

Welcome to our Yulio VR Employee Highlight Reel where we introduce to you to an on the team - and the people whose ideas and sense of how VR and AR should work have shaped Yulio from the ground up.

The Yulio VR expert team are working in roles that for the most part didn’t exist 5+ years ago, the VR job market was pretty minuscule. So the variety of experiences that led people here have created both expertise and variety in our team. And our history may lead you to the perfect VR job.

This week, we’re going to kickstart the segment with Ilan, one of the members of our Development team. Ilan Ostrovsky is a Graphics Programmer working primarily on our browser-based viewer in Yulio. Making the browser viewer (without VR goggles) a fully supported and world-class experience has always been critical to the Yulio mission of making VR  frictionless and business-ready. Ilan’s role is primarily about keeping the viewer in sync with our true VR functionality as we improve and future-proof Yulio VR. It’s a critical VR job on the Yulio team, as we’re always doing extensive user testing to ensure that using VR is intuitive, and a logical experience with a learning curve of minutes.

So Ilan, tell me a bit about yourself.

I studied at the University of Waterloo for Mathematics and Computer Science and I graduated on the Dean's Honour List. During my last term of my undergrad, I took a 3D graphics course, and I was really interested in all of the mathematical science behind the scenes of 3D graphics, so I wanted to try a career in pursuing that. I guess it was the beginning of thinking about a VR job.

So why did you choose to work at Yulio?

I really wanted to find a place that was first of all, graphical in nature, and something with a lot of technical requirements - like I said, I like the mathematical elements behind the scenes.

I wasn't very familiar with virtual reality and I was very curious to see how it worked, plus, I enjoy figuring out how things work, so virtual reality was this whole new thing that I had heard about, but never actually experienced - so I thought it would be exciting to try it. That’s what is so amazing about a VR job - you’re still crafting new images and new ways of storytelling for people who may never have experienced VR

What’s your role at Yulio?

So right now I’m mostly working on the web-viewer side of Yulio (what we call, “fishtank” mode, which is the browser experience where you click and drag your way in and around the VR experience), and occasionally I also work on the front-end and back-end coding. In addition to that, when I have some extra time, I work on research and experimental stuff which is one of the most interesting parts of a VR job - this sense that it’s still new and there’s so much to research not only about graphics but about storytelling.

What do you find most interesting about virtual reality now that you’ve worked with VR for a while?

I find learning more about designing in VR is really interesting. It’s tough to work in a VR job in general because there are so many things that may work in 2D, like when you’re just creating 3D graphics for a flat screen, that just don’t work in a three-dimensional space. Plus, there are a lot of things that disorient people, and it’s a challenge to try and design around that - I think it’s a whole new area of thinking, but like I said, I enjoy figuring out how these things work!

What was your first experience with virtual reality?

I don’t remember the name of it exactly, but I do remember it was using a Samsung Gear VR. It was basically an experience where I was looking around a hotel, but it was so interesting because I had never experienced something so immersive.. Like, you’d think it’s just like putting a tablet or a screen in front of your eyes, but this actually surrounds you and it feels like it’s a completely different place. It was very surprising!

If you got to dream up any VR experience and immerse yourself into it, what would you choose?

I’d probably choose something like a haunted house. I think that horror works really well in virtual reality, although, generally I’m too scared to experience it - I think that it’s one of the best applications for VR because it really highlights the emotional connection that this medium can create.

Outside of your VR Job, what are your hobbies?

I enjoy ping-pong, exercising and swimming.

What were you looking forward to at Yulio recently?

Last month I was lucky to get to go to SIGGRAPH, which is the world’s largest conference for computer graphics happened in Vancouver, BC this year and represent part of Yulio. I think it was very interesting to see what’s changed in the industry and learn a lot, and even be able to apply possibly some of what we learned in the future.

What’s your favourite Friday afternoon office game that we’ve played?

We played a game called landmine where there is an obstacle course and you lead your team member through the course blindfolded, and they aren’t supposed to step on the landmines that the opposing team gets to place throughout.

I also just like playing ‘Apples-to-Apples’ too - sometimes it’s nice to kick back with a relaxing board game with the team on a Friday afternoon. After all, we work in VR - it should be fun.

What’s a fun fact about you that not many people know about?

So, I’m not sure if you know this or not, but I have a twin brother, and when we had our wisdom teeth removed, I had three, and he had only one - and the one he had was in the place that I didn’t have my fourth!

We’d like to say a big thanks to Ilan for taking the time to sit with us for a little Q&A about himself! Stay tuned for some more interviews with the staff that power Yulio, and discover more about what it's like being a Yulio VR employee!

Looking to try out a VR platform for yourself? Start a free account with us where you can test and experience our full feature-set for your first 30-days - no commitment! Start your trial here. Interested in learning more about fast VR for business? Check out our Slideshare presentation where we guide you to ask the right questions to implement VR in a way that's fast, affordable and ready for business!


Rachel Chan

Rachel Chan

Rachel is a writer for Yulio, covering all things VR. With a keen interest in creativity and innovation, Rachel enjoys seeing how businesses use VR in their workflow, and how they have been transformed by it.