OTOY unveils “Render the Metaverse” virtual reality art contest featuring legendary artist Alex Ross and Oculus CTO John Carmack as judges

Topics: Company News


Contest will award more than $70,000 in prizes to artists submitting 360-degree stereo images rendered with OTOY’s virtual reality art tools, OctaneRender and OctaneVR

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – April 27, 2015 – OTOY Inc. today announced “Render the Metaverse,” a virtual reality art competition for 360-degree VR images, giving artists the chance to win up to $35,000 for bringing fantastic virtual worlds to life. Sponsored by Oculus, the panoramic VR contest invites artists to explore virtual reality rendering, arming them with OTOY’s free OctaneVR rendering software and letting them produce stunning 360-degree panoramic images that can be explored in Oculus and OTOY apps on the Samsung Gear VR Innovation Edition for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Galaxy S6, and Galaxy S6 Edge.

Here’s how the contest works:

  • OctaneVR – the industry’s leading GPU renderer, free to all contestants: Download OTOY’s OctaneVR software for free during the competition to produce your entry if you are not already an OctaneRender customer. OctaneVR is the easiest way for CG artists to become familiar with the world of virtual reality rendering. OctaneVR employs the same pipeline OTOY has used to develop exceptional VR experiences for Hollywood studios and brands like Warner Bros.
  • Experience and publish your VR images through the Oculus Platform: Approved OctaneVR’s 360-degree panoramic renders will be viewable in the Oculus 360 Photos app as well as OTOY’s ORBX Media Viewer app, both of which are available for download on the Oculus Store today.
  • Share your renders on OTOY’s forums for feedback: 130,000 artists on OTOY’s forums at offer a huge knowledge base to new users and provide a great feedback mechanism for artists at any level of experience. Once your render is ready for submission, you can upload your entry to where you’ll also be able to track winners and see comments from the judges.
  • Impress the experts: The contest will be judged by legendary comic artist Alex Ross, Oculus CTO and VR pioneer John Carmack, and OTOY CEO Jules Urbach, and who will evaluate entries based on a number of criteria including their originality, creativity, technical and visual details, and overall render quality among others.
  • A chance to win every month: The contest spans three 30-day periods running April 27 to May 26, May 27 to June 26, and June 27 to July 26. First-, second-, and third-place winners will be named on the contest website and at at the close of each 30-day period, and the three first-place entries will go up against one another for the grand prize.
  • More than $70,000 in prize money: First-place winners will receive $10,000 in prize money, second-place winners will receive $5,000 in prize money, and third-place winners will receive $2,500 in prize money. The grand prize winner will be awarded an additional $25,000 for a total payout of $35,000 for their stunning VR panorama.
  • First access to OTOY’s light field cloud rendering service: Contest winners will be able to upload their VR ORBX scenes to the recently announced OctaneRender Cloud at and leverage OTOY’s next-generation light field rendering service, for navigable VR volumes and animations.

Full contest rules and eligibility details are available at

“I have long been inspired by the concept of living photographs,” said Alex Ross. “Virtual Reality on the Gear VR has made this possible in a form I expect will eventually be appreciated by millions. This competition encourages artists to advance this nascent medium even more quickly. I’m thrilled to be participating as a judge with Jules and John, and I look forward to seeing the creativity and talent of our contestants.”

“One of the rewards of years of technology development is seeing artists work on the canvases I have helped create, and I am always left amazed by the vision brought to bear,” said John Carmack, CTO at Oculus. “Stereoscopic panoramas are powerful, but they are a peculiar medium that is difficult to author for with conventional photography or rasterization based rendering. OTOY’s Octane VR makes it trivial to emit optimal media for today’s displays, as well as next generation formats for the future.”

“When I saw our first renders on Gear VR, I was blown away by the amount of detail I was seeing in the scene,” said Jules Urbach, founder and CEO, OTOY. “I understood in that moment no traditional 2D display would ever match this fidelity. It was a profound revelation which convinced me that VR can change the way CG artists work and create content. We want OctaneVR and this competition to enable as many artists as possible to experience this for themselves. I think it will be hard for them to go back to 2D rendering once they do.”


About Oculus

Oculus, a Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) company, is revolutionizing the way people experience video games and other digital content. The company’s first product, the highly anticipated Oculus Rift, is a virtual reality headset that allows players to step inside the game. It provides an immersive, stereoscopic 3D experience with an ultra-wide field of view and super low latency head tracking. For more information, visit:

About OTOY Inc.

OTOY Inc. is the definitive cloud graphics company, pioneering technology that is redefining content creation and delivery for media and entertainment organizations around the world. OTOY’s Academy Award®-winning technology is used by leading visual effects studios, artists, animators, designers, architects, and engineers, providing unprecedented creative freedom, new levels of realism, and new economics in content creation and distribution powered by the cloud. For more information, visit

Additional Resources:

  • See all of the contest details and follow along on the contest website here.
  • Read more about OctaneVR on OTOY’s blog here.
  • Read more about OctaneRender Cloud on OTOY’s blog here.
  • Follow OTOY on Facebook and Twitter.