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Gracia Is A Platform For Truly Volumetric Photos & Short Videos, Viewable On Quest 3

Gracia Is A Platform For Truly Volumetric Photos & Short Videos, Viewable On Quest 3

Gracia is a technology pipeline and viewing platform for 6DoF volumetric content, available on Quest 3 and PC VR.

Simple stereoscopic 3D photos and videos like Apple's spatial video only offer limited parallax of a view of a scene presented in a rectangle in front of you, and immersive 180° or 360° content like Apple Immersive Video does the same in a hemisphere or sphere.

But the holy grail of real-world immersive content is truly volumetric capture which you can actually move your head or even walk through - essentially photorealistic VR, captured from the real world instead of created by 3D artists in modeling software. Gracia delivers that today for stills, and claims it will for short videos too later this year.

The startup recently raised $1.2 million seed investment and has 15 developers and designers. It wants to one day be the YouTube of truly volumetric content.

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Gracia stills (volumetric photos).

Gracia is possible thanks to Gaussian splatting, a relatively new technique for rendering 3D volumes by representing the scene as a collection of overlapping 3D Gaussian functions. The company claims their specific Gaussian splatting rendering implementation is faster than "any other technology on the market", which is how it can run on Quest 3 standalone without a PC - albeit at lower resolution.

The current focus of the platform is stills, essentially volumetric photos, which creators can generate using freely available Gaussian splat smartphone apps like Luma to upload to Gracia. But the next frontier is volumetric short video clips, and that's where Gracia will handle the generation too with proprietary in-house tech.

Gracia says "only" 20 GoPro cameras will be needed to capture truly volumetric video, which it claims is notably less than previous volumetric capture technology. Training a video takes around two minutes per frame though, so this is currently a very expensive and time-consuming process.

The company aims to launch short volumetric videos in August.

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Teaser of Gracia short volumetric videos.

The Gracia app is available to sideload to Quest 3 via SideQuest, or for PC VR via Steam. The startup plans to launch on Apple Vision Pro soon too.

The company wants to be on the official Quest Store, but its menu system is implemented in 2D Android app mode, which Meta's store policies currently forbid, despite the fact that the Steam Link app for Quest works like this too.

Photorealistic capture of this kind is very impressive to experience in VR, even without motion, and a glimpse of a future where memories can eventually be relived exactly as if you were there again. Gracia delivers what many people expected Apple Vision Pro's "spatial" photos would be, currently running on a headset a fraction of the price.

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