This new iPhone VFX app is already blowing minds

It looks like CGI filmmaking is about to get a whole lot more accessible. Simulon, an iOS app currently in invite-only beta, aims to offer studio-quality VFX and AR capabilities to iPhone users, allowing digital objects to be placed in the real world live with no need for a complex set-up.

Few details have been released, but Simulon's founder Divesh Naidoo has begun sharing initial tests online. Many observers are stunned that the videos were created using one of the best camera phones rather than a studio setup or even a laptop.

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Naidoo says that he made the video above featuring Unity's Adam robot "with a live in-camera preview and auto-exposure matching, no camera solve, no HDRI capture and no manual compositing setup". To create the dataset, he used the Simulon iPhone app to place digital objects in the real world and render them with accurate lighting, shadows and reflections.

In another example below, Naidoo notes that some objects in the radiance field are not real. He says the robot is a 3D asset from the Mech Squad Collection, while the desk and rug are from Megascans and the chrome/glass balls were added in to "test the quality of view-dependent render effects."

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Twitter has been knocked over by the initial results. "Hard to believe this isn't a hand-made render and compositing," one person responded. "You don't have any defects and you see perfectly what's behind." "Man, isn't it wild how it actually casts a shadow when the camera swings behind it?" someone else wrote.

Simulon says it wants to "see the capabilities of a Hollywood production studio in the hands of an independent creator with access to consumer hardware." You can apply to register for the beta at the Simulon website. See our pick of the best 3D modelling software for more tools.

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Joseph Foley

Joe is a regular freelance journalist and editor at Creative Bloq. He writes news and features, updates buying guides and keeps track of the best equipment for creatives, from monitors to accessories and office supplies. A writer and translator, he also works as a project manager at London and Buenos Aires-based design, production and branding agency Hermana Creatives, where he manages a team of designers, photographers and video editors who specialise in producing photography, video content, graphic design and collaterals for the hospitality sector. He enjoys photography, particularly nature photography, wellness and he dances Argentine tango.