Remember the first time when the internet first emerged on our computers, dial-ups, data files and less intuitive technology. Now, as we step into the metaverse, there is a lot of similarity. Metaverse, the 3D extended layer of the internet, will touch all kinds of organizations and design practices across almost every sector, from education, healthcare, marketing to retail. When something like this will impact our entire functioning, designers become key to how we experience the 3D layer and what it can offer us. In this light many designers wonder what tools they can use to design a metaverse experience?
There are many tools available in the market today that engage from platforms to engines. Here are some leading examples:
A real time 3D design collaboration and virtual world simulation platform, is offered as free by NVIDIA to individual creators and artists. This software also allows independent 3D design worlds into a shared virtual situation/ scene.
Oculus Horizon Words
As one of the most collaborative platforms in virtual reality, this tool allows you to build and create your own virtual world. It supports Oculus Rift S and Oculus Quest 2.
A fine platform that enables presence and shared experiences with the help of mixed reality applications. This software allows us to engage with eye contact, facial expressions and human-like gestures to bring out the human personality to shine.
A AR/VR engine from AWS that allows you to build, create and run browser based 3D, augmented reality and virtual reality applications. Works with Oculus and the software makes it easy to create engaging 3D front end experiences.
While these platform will help you get kickstarted, the process to design will start from your basics:
Storyboard, a popular concept in the film-making business, is a graphic organizer with pictures illustrating the action scenes displayed in the sequence. Making it easier for the crew and actors, StoryBoard helps them to understand the nature of the scene to the emotions actors have to convey. Similar to shooting a movie, creating an immersive metaverse experience would not be the same without good storytelling.
In the UX world, an essential component in the metaverse, storyboards are used in different ways throughout the UX process, from Research and usability testing to augmented journey maps.
A powerful, cutting edge tool that enables and empowers a design to create real-time visualizations and storyboards for architecture, construction, urban planning and landscaping.
b.3D modeling tools
Metaverse is by its definition a 3D world, the more realistic the world will be, the easier it will be for users to immerse in it. Metaverse designers who aim to build these immersive experiences should master the 3D modeling tools like Blender, Cinema 4D, Houdini and more.
While it is known that 3D modeling for metaverse is a difficult process, there are 3D modeling software that help to unlock your creativity and help you bring your imaginative design to life. Here are few examples of leading brands offering certain 3D modeling tools:
An intuitive and comprehensive tool that allows you to create 3D assets. Its powerful emerging technology embedded within will offer you to create organic shapes, complex character, abstract art and everything in between. It supports Oculus Rift and Oculus Quest.
This software was originally designed for artists working in VFX and 3D animations. With the use of programming languages like Python, Houdini allows you to fine tune 3D animations. You can work on 3D rendering, animation, VFX, look development, lighting and modeling.
This tool is an open source 3D creation suite that allows you to create and design scenes with animation, motion tracking and rigging. A free toll that comes with a significant competitive advantage of a massive community using it and building their powerful community.
Autodesk’s – 3DS & Maya
If you need products for modeling, animation and lighting, 3DS and Maya is your answer. They help you to build expansive worlds, complex characters and dazzling effects.
While designers can work on building 3D objects that seem as immersive and real in the metaverse, it is equally essential for them to build other attributes of the human environment and that all of them collectively work with each other. One key consideration today for metaverse design is ethical design, empathic design as well as a healthy design, for this, designers should understand working of the real world. For this reason, world wide many experts have quoted how designers may also need to have an understanding on topics like architecture, urban design, anthropology and more.
d. Interaction frameworks: Gestures and Interactions in virtual world
One core property or goals for designers will focus on is designing realistic interactions with others in the metaverse. In terms of designing interaction, it is vital for designers to work with tried and tested methods rather than reinventing the wheel unless there is large amounts of testing for the usability done with bulletproof results.
One key tool that can help with this is Interaction SDK, it essentially offers a library of modular components that metaverse designers can use in their products. For example, designers will have the option to work with certain essential components/ objects like digital hands, distance calculator, gesture detection and more.
Known globally to be the ultimate game developing platform, Unity also helps you build metaverse solutions. Unity is known to be a powerful editor that allows you to create 3D virtual reality assets and also works well with Oculus.
Unreal Engine 4 (UI4)
A big competitor of Unity 3D is Unreal Engine. One key USP for UI4 is the graphics it offers are more realistic than Unity. This platform will also offer real-time rendering of visuals. Works with Oculus, Sony, Samsung and more.
Read more: Top trends shaping the UX design industry
e. Observational user research and Avatar creation
An essential component for designers will also be to test and understand whether it offers an excellent experience to users it’s intended for. Contextual inquiry is the best possible technique that can help designers see firsthand what happens in the virtual world and what areas of design they have built need real time improvement or minor edits. Designers can immerse themselves in the experience to understand the changes required.
Avatars will be the human representation of an individual in the virtual world, a number of platforms are now available where designers can build new avatars.
This is a digital representation of a real human being in a virtual world. Avatars will be representing individuals hence they will become a significant part of Metaverse and UX design and immersive experiences.
Ready Player Me
A cross game avatar platform for metaverse, Ready Player me will allow you to use a single avatar in many different worlds, virtually. From a full body 3D avatar to a selfie version, one can develop it all.
Metaverse is surely the next stage in this evolutionary journey of digital technology globally. At this moment, we are in the early stages of this journey which allows product designers specifically a fantastic opportunity to shape the future of the internet.
If you are keen on becoming a part of global change and digital movement, Strate offers you a unique opportunity to build a career in design with its global community and network, interactive classroom pedagogy and real time internships opportunities during the course to help you connect with industry leaders and build your network.