Today, Yulio is bringing audio annotation to our VR hotspots technology. Introducing our latest Yulio feature release: Audio Annotations! Hotspots are the Yulio method of linking scenes in your VR designs and have always been part of our simple gaze to go navigation. Starting today, customers on our Enterprise level plan can add audio files of up to two minutes to attach to their designs. Check out some samples in our Showcase. Designers can use audio to describe design choices, offer answers to questions, or provide information about products used in the design, all without interrupting the immersion of your VR experience.
Some of the best use cases for audio in A&D VR are about imparting information while maintaining immersion:
Consistent presentations, even when you’re not there
For those designers who typically present to a stakeholder who will later be sharing the design with other stakeholders, audio hotspots let the designer maintain control of the conversation. Presenting design choices and thought process with audio hotspots makes them part of the VR design presentation and ensures the information will be consistent as the design is viewed by multiple stakeholders.
Give unambiguous feedback and reduce meeting time
Designers constantly need to respond to client feedback. Audio hotspots allow you to do so within the next iteration of the design and give greater context to your comments. Place a hotspot over an area a client had questions about, or where they requested changes, and call attention to exactly how you addressed their concerns.
The evolution of product information
Audio VR hotspots let a user gaze at an object in the design, like a specific chair choice in an office, and hear about its features and benefits at the same time they are checking out its aesthetics, rather than refer to product information outside the design. Aside from the obvious applications in retail, the A&D designers can also talk about material choices and offer recommendations in context.
Increase the Ambience
There’s some research that says adding appropriate ambient noise to VR increases the level of immersion far more than some visual tweaks. It helps block the real world a little bit, draw focus to the design and brings life to the design, when used in the right ways. Consider a ceiling or sky audio hotspot in a park with the sound of children playing, general office noises in workplaces or water sounds near fountains and pools. Just like image searches, sounds can be found online or from a service like PacDV or SoundJay. Yulio has pursued audio hotspots because, while we have seen instances of text used in VR, our user testing has demonstrated how distracting it can be. When viewers enter a virtual world and are confronted with large blocks of text to read, it’s distracting in a few ways:
- It physically covers a portion of the design
- It’s disorienting to have text floating in space
- It represents a poor use of VR - why send them into a VRE to read?
They turn off when a user looks away to avoid interrupting the design experience. We’re currently supporting multiple audio formats, including mp3, .wav, m4a, ogg, wma and acc file types, along with many more. Just upload your audio files to Yulio and add them to your scene in the hotspot editor.
You can still adjust the depth of the hotspot in the scene to make it appear closer or further away in 3D space.
Generating audio files
If you’re looking for help generating audio files, there are a few options available. For quick conversation style comments between you and your client, use a native recorder app available in windows or on most smartphones. Speak slowly and eliminate ambient noise, and the file will carry your ideas clearly. If you’re just too shy to record yourself or want a more detached sound, there are plenty of good Text To Speech (TTS) options, like NaturalSpeech.com. The results can be a bit robotic, but they get the job done. It’s a matter of personal preference, but we find the female voice options a little more natural sounding. For a higher end recording, worthwhile on product info you use all the time, or on a major presentation or portfolio asset, professional voice artists can be hired through agencies all over North America - a quick Google search brings up dozens of options.
Audio VR hotspots are available immediately to all Yulio Enterprise clients. To learn more and begin using them, visit our knowledge base. Or to create your custom Enterprise plan, reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo by Gavin Whitner