Friday, August 03, 2018

Nickelodeon Developing New AR/VR Animated Series 'Meet the Voxels'

Update - Below is Nickelodeon's official Press Release announcing the news:

NICKELODEON BREAKS GROUND WITH DEVELOPMENT OF VIRTUAL


AND AUGMENTED REALITY SERIES FOR TV


Chris Young, Head of Net’s Emerging-Tech Division—The Nickelodeon Entertainment Lab to Oversee Meet the Voxels (Working Title) Development and Production



BURBANK, Calif.—Aug. 2, 2018—Nickelodeon today announced the development of Meet the Voxels (working title), an original TV, virtual reality and augmented reality series conceived by Chris Young, Senior Vice President of Nickelodeon’s Entertainment Lab. The animated sitcom, created in a game engine, marks a first for Nickelodeon in its use of cutting-edge virtual cinema technology, including real-time full body and facial performance capture, bringing an innovative approach to immersive storytelling. Nickelodeon’s Entertainment Lab is the network’s division established to spearhead long-range research and development around emerging platforms and new technology. Meet the Voxels is being developed to air across Nickelodeon’s channels globally.

Meet the Voxels takes kids behind the scenes of a video game world and follows a family of video-game characters, the Voxels, on their adventures on-and-off-duty. The family members (all names working titles) are: Hunter, the 13-year-old star of a laser-tag video game; Maude, a 16-year-old girl fighting to pop as many bubbles as she can; their younger brother Cody who has not found his video game calling yet; Mom, a popular street fighter in her game; and Dad, a 90’s-era classic console game character who quit the business years ago.

The pilot for Meet the Voxels will be written by Jana Petrosini (Henry Danger, Kid Danger, Game Shakers) and Sean Gill (Henry Danger, Kid Danger, Game Shakers).

Said Young, “Our vision is to take the real-time technology we’ve been exploring in the Lab and marry it with a creative concept that connects with kids and their passion for video games. We designed this next-gen animation workflow and filled it with characters who can exist naturally across multiple platforms from day one.”

Meet the Voxels represents a significant expansion of both the Entertainment Lab’s capabilities and Young’s work. To date, the Lab has been responsible for the creation and implementation of SlimeZone and The Loud House 360, and now Meet the Voxels represents an evolution of content development and creation using real-time animation technology.

“Chris is helping lead Nickelodeon animation toward a transformation into a wholly new content creation studio,” said Chris Viscardi, Senior Vice President, Animation. “Meet the Voxels marks a significant development in turning that content dream into a production reality.”

Over the past year, Young has developed new entertainment experiences for kids including: SlimeZone, a multi-player social VR experience that allows kids and families the opportunity to interact in a Nickelodeon-designed virtual world; The Loud House 360, an original video where viewers can explore the madness of the Loud family household from all angles; and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles VR Interview Experience, a virtual reality experience that immerses users in the Turtles’ iconic New York City world and allows them to have a conversation with Mikey or Donnie, voiced on the scene by the actors who play the roles. The Turtles experience debuted at San Diego Comic Con 2018.

Young will help to guide further development of a larger slate of animated projects to be announced shortly.

Prior to overseeing Nickelodeon’s Entertainment Lab, Young previously served as Executive Creative Director, Nickelodeon Animation Lab, where he focused on exploring and engineering alternative animation pipelines. Prior to that role, he held the title of Producer at the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank. Young began his entertainment industry career at age 15 when he starred as boy genius Bryce Lynch on the cult TV series Max Headroom. Before becoming a producer and director, Young starred in the feature films The Great Outdoors, Book of Love and PCU. He produced Disney Channel’s animated movie The Proud Family, developed, produced and starred in the NBC movie Killing Mr. Griffin and served as executive producer and director on 26 half-hour episodes of Discovery Channel’s The Adventures of A.R.K. Young also founded and served as Chief Creative Officer of Animobile, a forerunner in the mobile gaming space, where he designed and oversaw the production of over two dozen original mobile games for multiple handheld devices.

Nickelodeon, now in its 39th year, is the number-one entertainment brand for kids. It has built a diverse, global business by putting kids first in everything it does. The company includes television programming and production in the United States and around the world, plus consumer products, digital, recreation, books and feature films. Nickelodeon’s U.S. television network is seen in more than 90 million households and has been the number-one-rated kids’ basic cable network for 22 consecutive years. For more information or artwork, visit http://www.nickpress.com. Nickelodeon and all related titles, characters and logos are trademarks of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIAB).

# # #

Update (8/3): When asked why and how his team has been able to use these varied platforms, he said to The Drum: "It’s really about leveraging this virtual cinema workflow that allows us to utilize game assets to make a linear television show and VR and AR experiences from the same source material.”

Original post:

Created by the head of Nickelodeon's Entertainment Lab, Chris Young, Meet the Voxels is the network's first series made with real-time animation technology.

Nickelodeon is developing Meet the Voxels (working title), an cutting-edge original virtual and augmented reality series and the network’s first show made with virtual cinema technology, including real-time full body and facial performance capture, bringing an innovative approach to immersive storytelling.

Created by Chris Young, head of the Nickelodeon's emerging tech division Entertainment Lab, the animated sitcom immerses kids in a video game world and follows a cast of video game characters called the Voxels on their adventures on-and-off-duty. The family members (all names working titles) include 13-year-old laser-tag video game star, Hunter; his older teenage sister and bubble-popping pro, Maude, fighting to pop as many bubbles as she can; and their younger brother Cody, who has not found his video game calling yet. Mom, on the other hand, is a popular street-fighting game character while Dad is a former '90s-era classic console game figure who quit the business years ago.

Meet the Voxels is created in a game engine, that will also be available as companion Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality episodes.

Nickelodeon’s Entertainment Lab is the network’s division established to spearhead long-range research and development around emerging platforms and new technology.

Jana Petrosini (Henry Danger, Kid Danger, Game Shakers) and Sean Gill (Henry Danger, Kid Danger, Game Shakers) are writing the show's pilot episode. Using a next-gen animation workflow from day one, the series is being developed to air across multiple platforms including Nickelodeon channels worldwide.

Said Young, “Our vision is to take the real-time technology we’ve been exploring in the Lab and marry it with a creative concept that connects with kids and their passion for video games. We designed this next-gen animation workflow and filled it with characters who can exist naturally across multiple platforms from day one.”

Meet the Voxels represents a significant expansion of both the Entertainment Lab’s capabilities and Young’s work. To date, the Lab has been responsible for the creation and implementation of SlimeZone and The Loud House 360, and now Meet the Voxels represents an evolution of content development and creation using real-time animation technology.

“Chris is helping lead Nickelodeon animation toward a transformation into a wholly new content creation studio,” said Chris Viscardi, Senior Vice President, Animation. “Meet the Voxels marks a significant development in turning that content dream into a production reality.”

Over the past year, Young has developed new entertainment experiences for kids including: SlimeZone, a multi-player social VR experience that allows kids and families the opportunity to interact in a slime-filled Nickelodeon-designed virtual world; The Loud House 360, an original video where viewers can explore the madness of the Loud family household from all angles; and Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles VR Interview Experience, a virtual reality experience that immerses users in the Turtles’ iconic New York City world and allows them to have a conversation with Mikey or Donnie, voiced on the scene by the actors who play the roles. The Turtles experience debuted at San Diego Comic Con 2018.

Nick recently partnered with IMAX to bring the SlimeZone experience exclusively to IMAX VR centers in LA, New York, Toronto, Shanghai, Bangkok and Manchester.

On the AR front, Nick also recently launched Screens Up, which lets kids see slime, blimps, SpongeBob, and other special effects specially timed with the network's programming, and released a new augmented reality update for its top mobile gaming app, Sky Whale. The update followed the release of Nick’s Do Not Touch AR app for iOS devices.

Young will help to guide further development of a larger slate of animated projects to be announced shortly.


Prior to overseeing Nickelodeon’s Entertainment Lab, Young previously served as Executive Creative Director, Nickelodeon Animation Lab, where he focused on exploring and engineering alternative animation pipelines. Prior to that role, he held the title of Producer at the Nickelodeon Animation Studio in Burbank. Young began his entertainment industry career at age 15 when he starred as boy genius Bryce Lynch on the cult TV series Max Headroom. Before becoming a producer and director, Young starred in the feature films The Great Outdoors, Book of Love and PCU. He produced Disney Channel’s animated movie The Proud Family, developed, produced and starred in the NBC movie Killing Mr. Griffin and served as executive producer and director on 26 half-hour episodes of Discovery Channel’s The Adventures of A.R.K. Young also founded and served as Chief Creative Officer of Animobile, a forerunner in the mobile gaming space, where he designed and oversaw the production of over two dozen original mobile games for multiple handheld devices.

Also, from Variety:

Nickelodeon Announces Its First TV Show Created With a Game Engine


Nickelodeon is embracing real-time production technologies with a new TV show that is being created with a game engine. “Meet the Voxels,” as the show is working-titled, is based on work done at the Nickelodeon Entertainment Lab, the network’s R&D unit for AR & VR. It is being developed to air across Nickelodeon’s channels around the world.

“Meet the Voxels” is about the life of a family of video game characters, including a Street Fighter Mom, a bubble-popping teenage girl, a 13-year old who is the star of a laser-tag game, a retired arcade game dad and a younger brother in search of a game franchise of his own.

The show is being written by Jana Petrosini and Sean Gill, who both have previously worked on “Henry Danger,” “Kid Danger” and “Game Shakers.” It was conceived by Chris Young, SVP of of Nickelodeon’s Entertainment Lab (pictured above).

Nickelodeon unveiled its Entertainment Lab a little over a year ago. Under the helm of Young, the Lab has been developing VR titles like “Slime Zone” and 360-degree videos to support shows like “The Loud House.” However, Young and his team have also explored how Nickelodeon could ultimately change the way it produces animation across the board.

This included transforming Young’s office on the network’s studio lot in Burbank, Calif. into a motion capture studio to experiment with real-time animation, as well as using Midi controllers to produce animated live shows for Facebook streams on the fly.

At the center of these efforts has been the idea of moving production to real-time technologies like game engines, Young told Variety during a behind-the-scenes tour of the Lab a few months ago. “The future is real-time,” he said at the time. “Working real-time is fundamental to this technology.”

One of the advantages of using a game engine to produce animation: The results can be rendered across different media with few changes. For a proof-of-concept short film, the Lab team first produced a regular 2D short film. Then, it took the same assets and brought them to VR. “And then we took the VR experience, and put it onto HoloLens,” explained Young a few months ago.

Nickelodeon hasn’t said yet which game engine it is using for “Meet the Voxels,” but the studio has in the past relied on Epic’s Unreal engine for some of its VR projects. In its announcement of the show, the network hinted at plans to bring the “Voxels” to AR and VR as well.

--Ends--

More Nick: Nickelodeon Renews 'Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles', 'Henry Danger', 'Hunter Street', 'Knight Squad' and 'The Dude Perfect Show' for New Seasons!

Originally published: Thursday, August 02, 2018 at 5:41pm BST.

Sources: Collider, Kidscreen, The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline.
Follow NickALive! on Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, via RSS, on Instagram, and/or Facebook for the latest Nickelodeon and Meet the Voxels News and Highlights!

No comments: