a VR Experience

“Abduction” is a 360 degree stereoscopic 3D animated short that was created as a capstone project while attending SAIT.

This project presented many challenges. Having never taken on a project of this scope, I was afraid I had bitten off more than I could chew. I welcomed the challenge. With enough experience in 3d modeling, animation, sound editing, and compositing, I knew that all it took was to tackle each aspect one by one. 

I drafted a story, script, character and environment designs, and a plan on how to execute each.

 

 

 

Building the characters and environment was one of my favorite tasks. Using Zbrush, I modeled the two alien beings. Modeling in Zbrush is like using virtual clay for sculpting. It’s the industry standard for creating organic assets for film and video games.

I quickly created the environment using Autodesk Maya, another industry standard for the film industry. I used a low-poly art style to save time on the creation and rendering of the environment. 

The next and probably most crucial task was animation. I wanted to have smooth, believable animation that didn’t take too long to achieve. A technique I wanted to experiment with was using an Xbox Kinect camera to capture motion. It was relatively easy and affordable to acquire the gear and software, and after setting it up, I acted out the scene in my living room.

 

 

The results from the motion capture turned out better than I expected. I cleaned up the data as best as I could in the amount of time I had and applied it to my 3D characters.

Next, the voices and for the characters were recorded and edited. Sound effects were outsourced from fiverr.com to save me time from sourcing them myself.

Rendering this scene of course took many hours. My poor laptop stayed up working all through the night for a few days to render each frame. I then composited the entire film using Adobe After Effects. 

The film was uploaded to Youtube, which has support for 360 degree VR videos. While you can watch on desktop or the app alone, it’s best to view the film in the Youtube app with a mobile phone VR headset.