Image: Marc Zimmermann / Epicscapes
Realms of Flow is a feast for the eyes and ears that will amaze, soothe, and inspire you. It is available for Meta Quest and PC VR headsets.
A few years ago, Marc Zimmermann made a name for himself with the technically brilliant VR film Conscious Existence, which celebrated the beauty of nature and the universe and won more than a dozen awards.
The digital artist’s latest work is called Realms of Flow and introduces interactive and playful elements for the first time.
You begin by choosing from a series of meditative VR experiences: In “Timeless Being,” you float across an ocean at dawn; in “Calm Amidst the Storm,” you witness a nighttime thunderstorm; and in “Capacity,” you fly through the glittering universe.
There is also an AI-generated scene created using Stable Diffusion and other tools: “Starry Blankets” evokes the sounds and lights of a childhood Christmas, with the ever-changing landscape creating a mesmerizing effect.
A spherical soundscape or soft piano tones accompany these VR experiences, which are some of the most visually stunning I have seen with a VR headset. The Youtube videos below do not do it justice.
Lots of meditation features and customization
I was surprised to hear that the visuals were 180-degree videos (6K, stereoscopic, 60fps). The quality of these images is so high that I was convinced they were real-time animated content.
Realms of Flow currently offers ten such scenes, and two more will be added in December to complete the VR app. Many of the VR panoramas are also accompanied by atmospheric voice-overs in English and German. They revolve around themes such as childhood, curiosity and mindfulness, and can be turned off if desired.
I mentioned the interactive elements above. Realms of Flow offers a plethora of features and settings to help you meditate and customize your VR experience. You can display visual aids for your breathing technique, move your arms to the rhythm of your breath, make humming sounds that are amplified, and more. There are even gamey elements.
Since I have little experience with meditation and just want to enjoy the images and music, I don’t use these features. How you use Realms of Flow is up to you: as pure visual and acoustic pleasure, as a source of inspiration and peace, or as a sophisticated meditation tool.
Visually stunning, even on Meta Quest 2
Marc Zimmermann describes Realms of Flow as a VR app designed to inspire, evoke emotions, and create interesting, soothing, or meaningful states of mind that enrich your palette of being. I use Realms of Flow more and more and find that there is no better way to describe the effect of this VR app.
I tested Realms of Flow with Meta Quest 2 and Meta Quest 3. The main difference is that the scenes look even clearer with the new VR headset, thanks to the pancake lenses. With Quest 3, you can also set the sampling resolution to 300 percent for maximum image quality and still have a perfectly smooth experience, Zimmermann tells me. In the future, he plans to experiment with 8K video to see if it runs smoothly on Quest 3.
Additional VR experiences are also planned, which will likely be sold as DLC.
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