Capturing on a mobile phone

Overall, as stated in my proposal, I plan on capturing all of the photographs for my project on my mobile phone. This was for the following reasons: 

‘I would like to demonstrate how they can capture great images and how the photographer doesn’t necessarily need to rely on expensive equipment’

I feel that sometimes in the photography world, mobile phone photography may not be taken as seriously, and seen as something quite ‘amateur’. I want to show that mobile phones can take amazing photos, and that it is more about the actual photo than the tool used to capture it. I also believe that photography should be something that everyone can have access to and enjoy, no matter their background or wealth hence I will be using my iPhone which I already own and have been using for years. 

Mobile phones are the perfect tool when it comes to candid street photography 

They are very instant which means they are good at capturing spontaneous moments. Mobile phones are also very subtle – I feel like people will not find it as intimidating when I am taking photos on the phone compared to a DSLR camera which may draw more attention. I also always have my phone on me, meaning I shouldn’t miss any candid photo opportunities, even if I am not planning on taking any that specific day, I may see something interesting when going about my day-to-day life and need to capture it quickly. 

A mobile phone will be great for taking the staged photos

During the shooting of the staged photographs, I will be taking more time sorting out the scene and directing the model on what I would like them to do to make it look convincingly candid, compared to the spontaneous photos which don’t require this, meaning I don’t want the staged process to take any longer than necessary. Shooting on a phone will enable me to capture the image quickly meaning potentially more time for taking other photos. 

There is a wide variety of free mobile photo editing apps

I plan on editing all of my photographs on my phone. The speed and ease of use of these apps will help me to edit on the go if needed, which again will help when it comes to both the spontaneous and staged photography. For the staged photos, an additional advantage would be that I can always capture a photo and quickly edit it to see how the final image would look, and if I wasn’t happy with it, I can re-take the photo or do adjustments to the scene – for example asking the model to move to a different position, pose differently or perhaps I may want to take the photo from a different angle. 

The steps in the process should flow easily

The majority of the process will be done on my phone – the capturing, editing and uploading of the final images to my Box account. This should mean that each step of the process should flow well. After this, the only other device used will be my laptop for the final uploading of the photos to WordPress for the final portfolio. By keeping the overall number of steps in the process to a minimum, this should allow things run smoothly and quickly compared to having to rely on different devices and tools such as cameras/SD cards/a computer.

The overall ease of use

I should find the capturing and editing of photos straightforward. I’ve been using a mobile phone for many years now and also enjoy photography as a hobby, so I already take lots of photos on my phone. This means that I understand the interface and settings of both the camera app and phone really well. Here, (by taking a photo of some houseplants) I am going to outline how I will be taking the photos using the iPhone camera, and how quick and easy the process is:

Step 1
Step 2
Step 3
Step 4

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 1: Press the home button (the main button on the phone screen)

Step 2: Swipe the screen to the left (to open camera app)

Step 3: Press on the screen to adjust the exposure (the yellow box on the image has sliders to make it darker/lighter)

Step 4: Finally, press the shutter to take the photo (the photo is automatically saved into the photo gallery)

If this was the photographs for my final project, I would then go onto the editing app (I will be going more in depth on this process later on), and then finally I would upload the edited photograph file to Box. 

Possible problems 

Finally, I would like to acknowledge that there could also be potential issues that may arise from using a mobile phone for my work. As I am just relying on this one device, if anything was to go wrong like if the phone were to break or something went wrong with the camera lens, I would need to have a plan in place for capturing the photos on a different device. So therefore, if anything was to stop me from shooting on my phone, I will be using my DSLR camera instead but would be declaring this somewhere if it were to happen. This situation would obviously be a shame due to me specifying how much I would like to demonstrate how good photographs can be that are taken on a phone, but if this issue happened I still need a way to capture the photographs for my project. 

Clarifying the Aesthetic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two of my photographs showing the overall aesthetic I would like to aim for.

Shown above are two photographs that I captured for my previous research proposal, they both are good examples of the sort of appearance I am aiming for my final photographs to have. Photo 1 is a spontaneous photo taken in the street of a man sat on a bench feeding some pigeons and Photo 2 is a staged photo of my partner stood in front of some artwork, I asked him to stand there and pretend to look at his phone, this image hopefully conveys a sense of liveness to someone who didn’t realise it was actually staged. I have edited both of these on my phone, and they both show how I would like my final images to appear. 

A summary of how I will be aiming for my final photographs to appear:

  • Black and White
  • High contrast
  • Slightly darker exposure

Early on in the project, I knew that I wanted my photos to have this sort of appearance. I was really inspired by the street photographers that I researched for in my proposal and how their photographs looked and wanted to create something similar. Many of the photographers had no choice but to shoot in black and white for example, because that was all that was available at the time, but I personally find black and white images in particular to be really captivating. 

I find that black and white photos in particular will be good for street photography as the high contrast within the photo will help to make things in the photograph to stand out well. If there is lots of colour within an image, I feel that things often get lost in the background, this wouldn’t be good for the spontaneous photos as potentially, there may be a lot of things to look at in the frame. For the staged photos, again, I want the subject to be prominent in the photo. 

In terms of the overall photographic portfolio, if all of the images are edited in a similar way, they will look cohesive and as a collection will work well together. I feel that this will really help when it comes to trying to make the staged photos blend in with the rest of the spontaneous street photography, hopefully this way the viewer won’t be able to tell which are staged and which are spontaneous, which is what I am aiming for. 

Analysing Photographers Work

First, I have decided to analyse some of the photographic work by three of my favourite photographers who I previously researched for my proposal. This will help me when deciding upon how I would like to edit my own photographs and to gain inspiration for possible composition ideas, both for my spontaneous and staged photographs. As outlined in my proposal, I will be focusing on black and white street photography in my final portfolio, so here I am going to analyse black and white work only.

Henri Cartier-Bresson

Henri Cartier-Bresson is one of the most influential street photographers of all time, and is definitely one of my big inspirations. I find his work to be very captivating and intriguing. Overall after looking at these three photographs, I noticed that Cartier-Bresson uses very high contrast in his work which I find very striking. I find this helps the focal point of the photographs to stand out even more. His photographs also seemed to have lots of movement within them, often resulting in motion blur but I feel this adds to the fact that street photography is of very fleeting moments. 

Robert Doisneau

Robert Doisneau is another photographer whose work I find very inspiring. Like Cartier-Bresson, he seems to utilise a very striking level of contrast within his photographs. I also like how Doisneau’s photographs are taken in very interesting locations and that you are able to often see a wide area of the background such as down the whole street. Doisneau often seems to photograph multiple people in one image too, which is quite interesting. I also noticed that his photographs are very intriguing – I find myself asking many questions about his photographs which I feel helps create a very memorable image. 

Daidō Moriyama

Moriyama’s work quickly became inspiring to me after doing my research proposal in trimester one. I find his work to almost be very intimate – capturing very candid moments in peoples lives. Overall after analysing his work more, like Cartier-Bresson and Doisneau, I find his photography to have very high contrast too. Moriyama also seems to use quite interesting backgrounds and angles for his photographs as well as showing movement well. 

Overall findings and implementing these:

In my final work I will be taking aspects from each of these photographers styles. Overall, I would like to have a high contrast look to my photographs, as all of these photographers achieve in theirs. I feel this is crucial when it comes to black and white photography as once you take away the colour, if the contrast is not right photographs can often look quite flat. I would like to try and show a sense of movement in some of my photographs, as seen in Cartier-Bresson and Moriyama’s work. I would also like to show some wide views of my locations, as in Doisneau’s work as I believe this makes the photograph very interesting to look at. 

References 

Henri Cartier-Bresson photographs:

Artnet (n.d.) Henri Cartier-Bresson [Photo]. Available online: http://www.artnet.com/artists/henri-cartier-bresson/3 [Accessed 05/03/22].

Robert Doisneau photographs:

Exibart (n.d.) Robert Doisneau: the poetic approach to street photography [Photo]. Available online: https://www.exibartstreet.com/news/robert-doisneau-the-poetic-approach-to-street-photography/ [Accessed 05/03/23].

Daidō Moriyama photographs:

Artsy (n.d.) Daidō Moriyama. Available online: https://www.artsy.net/artist/daido-moriyama/works-for-sale [Accessed 05/03/22].

Development Log Introduction

After completing my research into street and staged photography for my proposal, It is now time for me to apply everything I have learnt and begin the development stage of my project. 

One of the things that I will be focusing on during the development stage will be clarifying my photographic style ready for my final piece. This will be done through looking at some of the photographers from my proposal and deciding what aspects of their work I would like to take influence from, this may be through the composition or layout of the scene. I will also be refining my editing techniques by practising editing some photos, again, taking inspiration from the photographs I looked at in my research. I will also start thinking about possible location/setting/backdrop ideas for taking my photographs and therefore will be creating a list of some potential places, this will also hopefully help me to visualise possible photo ideas too. 

In my final portfolio, I will be including a mixture of street and staged photographs, the regular street photographs wont require as much planning, as they will be much more spontaneous, but, the staged ones will so I would like to look deeper into possible ways of making these photographs appear spontaneous and how to organise the capturing of these photos as they will require a willing model. 

Overall, I am hoping that the development stage of my project should help me to refine the look I would like to aim for within my photographs and help me plan out and generate ideas of possible photographs for my final piece. 

Final VFX Video

♡ Box File Link: https://universityofhull.box.com/s/oubz3o4sp9q1ynrujo1bzbdqyq3q9qtf

Effects used in each shot:

Throughout the whole video, I also added a typewriter style typography effect for the cast names of the characters.

References:

Lesfm (2021) Horror background music (IG version 60s) [Audio]. Available online: https://pixabay.com/music/horror-scene-horror-background-music-ig-version-60s-9468/ [Accessed 06/01/22].

Stocksnap (2017) Stars-galaxy-space-universe-night [Photograph]. Available online: https://pixabay.com/photos/stars-galaxy-space-universe-night-2616537/ [Accessed 18/11/21].

(Leaves used in shot 6 illustrated by myself)

 

Rendering, Final Stages and Evaluation

Rendering 

Once my scenes were created, and all assets were animated it was time to begin the rendering process. As my piece consisted of three scenes, I decided to have each scene be 40 seconds long because the specified minimum length of the entire video was 2 minutes (120 seconds). It was also specified that it needed to be 24FPS which meant that each scene had 960 frames, meaning a total of 2880 frames were to be rendered.  

I decided to render each scene separately as I knew from doing a test render that it was going to take a long time and this way I would be able to control any problems should they appear. On average each render of each scene containing 960 frames took about 2 days, meaning the entire thing took me about 6 days to render. I felt that this was very excessive, and much longer than I was anticipating but luckily I did plan enough time for the rendering process meaning I didn’t miss any deadlines. I had to render using my own computer and due to it being a MacBook, I wasn’t able to change the CPU settings to GPU as was recommended, this may be a reason why the process took me so long. I also wasn’t able to access any of the university computers remotely to use the render farm as they had revoked access to the digital media computers and the regular ones weren’t installed with Maya. Also, as I was rendering them straight onto my computer, it also took up a lot of storage space. 

Final Stages

Some screenshots showing my final stages of creating the video and audio using Premier Pro and Audition

Next, using Premier Pro, I compiled all of the rendered frames. I created some ‘bins’ to separate each scene so it would be more organised. I then began moving the frames from each scene onto the timeline, at first the frames didn’t go in the correct order and then I realised it was because I hadn’t sorted them in the bins by ‘name’ so I was able to rectify this and then it worked. Between each scene, I then added a fade transition effect in between the clips. This was to help the transportation between the scenes seem more realistic, especially as it was supposed to look like the user is going through a door into each scene. 

After exporting the video, ensuring all of the settings were correct for a VR video, I then went onto Adobe Audition ready to create the binaural audio. I managed to source some sound effects which I thought would be relevant for my piece (these are referenced below). I then positioned each sound effect onto the relevant part of the videos timeline, and then went through and began converting them to binaural using the ‘dearVR micro’ application. I then added a fade effect to some of the clips so that they didn’t cut off too abruptly. I also did some mixing where I was able to sort out some clipping issues where the audio was peaking which made everything sound much better. I then exported the binaural files and compiled both the rendered video and binaural file into Premier Pro and exported it as the final video. I then uploaded it to Youtube and tried out the video using Google Cardboard to check that everything was working okay. 

Evaluation

Overall I found the process okay but very time consuming. I did end up enjoying some aspects more than I was expecting to such as designing the scenes and doing the binaural audio. I did go into this project expecting that I wouldn’t be able to create that many of my own assets, but in the end I managed to create the vast majority myself which I am glad about. I also thought that I would find the binaural audio difficult, as I have never edited any kind of audio before, but I actually found this part to be quite enjoyable and interesting. However, as stated, it took such a large amount of time to do the rendering which made things quite difficult as I wasn’t able to go onto Maya and get the next scene ready whilst it was rendering, I just had to wait for it which was a shame.

References for audio

Knocking on the door: ERH (n.d.) Knocking on door [Audio]. Available online: https://soundbible.com/1196-Knocking-On-Door.html#google_vignette [Accessed 7/12/21].

Pumpkin appearing sound effect: Koenig, M (n.d.) Pop cork [Audio]. Available online: https://soundbible.com/533-Pop-Cork.html [Accessed 7/12/21].

Ghost sound effect: Simion, D (n.d.) Creepy background [Audio]. Available online: https://soundbible.com/2165-Creepy-Background.html [Accessed 7/12/21].

Skeleton clattering sound effect: Koenig, M (n.d.) Spooky chains [Audio]. Available online: https://soundbible.com/1094-Spooky-Chains.html [Accessed 7/12/21].

Creaking door: stephan (n.d.) Creaking door spooky [Audio]. Available online: https://soundbible.com/1717-Creaking-Door-Spooky.html [Accessed 7/12/21].

Floor moving: Benboncan (n.d.) Rock slide [Audio]. Available online: https://soundbible.com/904-Rock-Slide.html [Accessed 7/12/21].

Development Approaches

To help me gain more confidence in the immersive design aspects of Maya, I decided to do some initial experiments into some of the effects and features that I was aiming for in my final piece. By experimenting with these effects, it has also helped me to adapt and improve upon my ideas and therefore hopefully to get a better immersive designed experience for my final piece.  

VR Practice 

My short initial test render video to see how scene 1 was going to appear 

Some screenshots showing how the wraparound texture appeared in the rendered VR video

First, I decided to do a small test render on one of my scenes that I had created but not animated yet. This was to help me visualise how my environment was going to look in VR, it also helped me to see that the rendering would take a long time. I didn’t end up rendering very much of it because of this, but I did render just enough footage to be able to turn it into a Youtube video where I was then able to look through the Google cardboard and have a look around my environment. Here, I realised that some aspects didn’t look exactly how I wanted, particularly the wraparound tree texture. I really liked how this looked when the user is looking straight on (see fig 1) as it adds lots of depth to the scene, but when looking up in the video (fig 2), you can see where they end. I am going to be considering ways I can alter this in my final video, particularly as it is very important to consider the entire 360 view within immersive design.

Ghost and Pumpkin Animations

My test screen recording of the ghost animation

Then, to refresh myself in animating and using keyframes I decided to animate some of my assets. I decided to make the ghosts look as if they were floating and achieved this through key framing their positions. I do feel that the ghosts move slightly too fast in this practice video and therefore I will ensure to slow down their animation for the final piece. I also decided to animate the pumpkins and wanted them to all appear near the door. I used keyframes for this, and altered their visibility. Similar to the ghosts, I think in my final piece I will slow down this animation so they don’t appear too abruptly.

Bottle Animation

My test screen recording of the bottle animation 

I then wanted to experiment with some different styles of animation. In scene 2 which takes place in the hallway of the house, I wanted the bottle that is placed on the table to make its way to the user as if they are drinking something from it. To achieve this, I created a curve and attached the bottle to it as a motion path. The curve that I created here was a very basic one, in my final piece I plan on making it go up to the users face level and it will tip up at the end to replicate the drinking process, I will also slow down the animation slightly as I feel that it is too fast.

Appearing Ghosts

My test screen recording of the appearing ghosts 

Next I decided to have a go at animating the ghosts appearing. I wanted them to look as if they were appearing through the walls and the small Alice in Wonderland style doors that are on the wall. This animation ended up being straightforward to create as it mainly involved key framing the ghosts position.

Movement/Transition Through Door

My test screen recording of the camera movement 

This experiment was slightly more complicated than the others. I created a curve for the camera to follow and then attached a camera to it as a motion path, similar to what I did for the bottle animation. For some reason I couldn’t get the camera to face the right way along the path despite altering the axis in the motion path settings and rotating the camera around. After more experimenting after filming this screen recording, I realised that the camera needed to match the scenes setting and axis so I was able to rectify this issue ready for my final piece.

MASH Floor Effect

My test screen recording of the MASH effect

I then had a go at using Maya’s MASH feature. I used this feature briefly in one of our lab tutorials and managed to gain an understanding of the basics. I then had a go at using it myself, where I gained confidence in using it, I experimented with the randomise and colour settings in particular and I really like the effect these give. I plan on incorporating this effect into the flooring of my final scene as I think it looks really effective, but it actually surprised me as the MASH feature on Maya was really straightforward to use.

Lighting Experiment

Finally, I did some experiments with other types of lighting, as from doing some test renders shown in my Individual assets and environment development blog post, I realised that I didn’t like the look of the directional lighting that I had initially used as they seemed to create too many shadows and I wanted something more natural looking. 

Some renders showing how the lighting will look and the new skydome light sky

In scene 1, I added a skydome light which gave it a much more natural effect, especially since this scene takes place outdoors. To give it an even moodier look, I made sure to turn down the exposure on the settings to make the overall scene darker but ensuring the assets were still visible. I then added a sky texture to it which I had edited using Photoshop – the texture image of the sky was originally blue so I altered the settings on it, particularly the saturation, which made it more grey toned to add to the spooky atmosphere. I also decided to be more creative with the lighting for this scene and I created a sphere mesh with a mesh light added to it. I added two of these into my scene as seen in the renders above – one inside the pumpkin to light it up from within and one on the street lamp which gave that area of the scene a golden glow.

For scenes 2, I also utilised the mesh lighting method as it seemed to produce the more natural look I was after. For this scene, the mesh lighting was added to the ceiling mesh. I was able to alter the intensity, exposure and colour of the light mesh using the render view which gave me much more control and freedom to get to the levels I desired. Finally, for scene 3, I also used a skydome light. 

A comparison of my first render of scene 1 (left) to my current render (right) with the improved lighting 

Overall, I found out just how important it is to do test renders throughout the development process. They enabled me to see parts of the scenes that didn’t look as good as I thought they did and gave me a chance to rectify these issues and therefore improve my piece. As seen in the above comparison of the different renders of the same scene, the lighting now looks so much better on the right compared to my first test render on the left which was too shadowy. The addition of the mesh light inside the pumpkin helps to light up the scene but also emphasises the face and adds to the atmosphere.

Individual Assets and Environment Development

Sketches of Assets:

Initially, I knew that I wanted to aim for designing as many of my own assets as possible for my production piece. I sketched out some initial ideas for possible assets using ideas from my initial moodboard and by thinking about my storyline. Overall, I didn’t end up including all of these assets in my final scenes, as I felt that some of them were not needed.

Some sketches of my initial asset ideas

Assets I have created:

Detailed here is a list of all of the assets that I created myself in Maya and used within my final production piece. Many of them ended up being fairly straightforward to create, so I didn’t have to resort to using many found objects. I’m also pleased with how they have turned out since it has been quite a while since I had used Maya for asset design.

Pumpkins

Screenshots showing my process of creating the pumpkins using Maya

A render of my pumpkin assets

I knew early on in the process that I would like to include a pumpkin in my piece, as it fitted into my Halloween theme perfectly but I also felt that a carved pumpkin face is very reminiscent of the Cheshire Cat’s grin in Alice in Wonderland, therefore, merging both themes together.

Cobweb

Screenshots showing my process of creating the cobweb using Maya

A render of my cobweb asset

My cobweb asset was simple enough to create but when adding the cobweb to the scene, I had to carefully move the vertexes so each part of the cobweb was touching walls or corners of other assets which was fairly time consuming, but it definitely makes it look more realistic compared to the very perfect looking shape in the original render here. 

Ghost

Screenshots showing my process of creating the ghosts using Maya

A render of my ghost asset

The ghost asset was very simple and quick to create, it was also really easy to manipulate the ghost into different shapes and sizes throughout my piece. The only problem I had with the ghost asset was that despite turning the transparency down on the material attributes in an attempt to give it a realistic look, for some reason unfortunately it would never appear transparent in my renders. 

Trees

Screenshots showing my process of creating the trees using Maya

A render of my tree asset

The trees were quite tricky to create as it involved lots of extruding faces and manipulating rotations to create the branches and roots. I didn’t want my trees to have any leaves on them as I felt that bare branches can look very spooky and atmospheric and I felt that this would fit in with the darker, desaturated colour scheme that I wanted to go for. I also tried to make the tree shape and wood colour fit in with the wraparound forest texture. 

Mushrooms

Screenshots showing my process of creating the mushrooms using Maya

A render of my mushroom assets

The mushrooms were created so that the floor didn’t appear too bare, and to fit in with the spooky, woodland style environment. They were also a nod to the Alice in Wonderland story. Mushrooms are a fairly basic shape to begin with, so they were quite straightforward to create in Maya.

Witches Hat

Screenshots showing my process of creating the witches hat in Maya

A render of my witches hat asset

The witches hat again was straightforward to create. It involved extruding the lower edge to create the brim then manipulating the top part to create a slight bend on the point of the hat. 

Bottle

Screenshots showing my process of creating the bottle in Maya

A render of my bottle asset

The bottle was created from a cylinder, which I then manipulated the edges to create the shape that I wanted. I then made sure to use the smooth tool to make it look more realistic. 

Table

Screenshots showing my process of creating the table in Maya

A render of my table asset

I decided to add in the table when creating scene 2, as I felt that the room needed a piece of furniture, I was also then able to place objects on and around it. 

Hat Stand

Screenshots showing my process of creating the hatstand in Maya

A render of my hatstand asset

The hat stand was also added in when I was creating scene 2. I was a bit unsure of where to place the hat, and then I thought a hatstand would be perfect within a hallway. 

Stairs

Screenshots showing my process of creating the stairs in Maya

A render of my stairs asset

I didn’t initially plan on having any stairs, but when piecing together the environment for scene 2, I decided to create some because I wanted the room to be like an entrance hallway of a house and felt like stairs would be perfect to show this. However, I did still want it to be unusual to fit in with the Alice in Wonderland theme, and I decided that the stairs would actually lead to nowhere. 

Found Assets References:

Some of my assets used in my final piece were found assets sourced online. All of the found 3D assets were used in scene 1 which was outside the house, as I wanted this first scene to be really striking for the user. These assets consisted of the house, lamppost, fence panels and skeleton. I also sourced some textures which were used for the walls and flooring throughout my piece. All of these found assets are referenced below. 

Wooden House: abhijithcheruvery (2021) Wooden house 3D model. Available online: https://free3d.com/3d-model/wooden-house-752597.html [Accessed 24/11/21].

Lamppost in the street: rv125 (2017) Lamp post 3 3D model. Available online: https://free3d.com/3d-model/lamp-post-3-44967.html [Accessed 24/11/21].

Outdoor Fence Panels: printable_models (2018) Gothic wood fence pane V2 3D model. Available online: https://free3d.com/3d-model/gothic-wood-fence-pane-v2–156666.html [Accessed 24/11/21].

Skeleton hanging from house: Kim (2013) Skeleton 3D model. Available online: https://free3d.com/3d-model/skeleton-81335.html [Accessed 24/11/21].

Grass Texture: Naldz Graphics (n.d.) Absolutely free seamless grass textures. Available online: https://naldzgraphics.net/free-seamless-grass-textures/ [Accessed 25/11/21].

Stone Texture: My Free Textures (n.d.) Pavement texture of old tone pavers on the road or path background. Available online: https://www.myfreetextures.com/stone-pavers-road-path-background-texture/ [Accessed 25/11/21].

Forest Texture: Peppersquad (2018) Spooky forest trees sticks dark scary fantasy. Available online: https://pixabay.com/photos/spooky-forest-trees-sticks-dark-3851395/ [Accessed 25/11/21].

Alice in Wonderland card suits pattern: Liu, S (2016) Alice in Wonderland (pattern). Available online: https://www.behance.net/gallery/44363397/Alice-in-Wonderland-(Pattern) [Accessed 27/11/21].

Wooden floor planks texture: P, Juric (2014) Tileable old wooden planks texture. Available online: https://depositphotos.com/40619711/stock-photo-tileable-old-wooden-planks-texture.html [Accessed 28/11/21].

Sky Texture: bgfons (2015) Seamless sky texture. Available online: https://www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/476114991835021544/ [Accessed 2/12/21].

Developing my environment:

Scene 1: Outside the house

Screenshots showing my process of creating scene 1 in Maya

Scene 1 required the placement of all of the assets into an environment. I was also able to decide upon and add the textures here, which really helped me visualise the environment better. As stated earlier, some of the assets used for this scene were found objects, but I did try and add plenty of my own too. Here, I added a wraparound forest texture so that there wasn’t a big void, but to create the feeling of depth I creating my own ‘forest’ by duplicating my tree asset. 

Scene 2: Hallway 

Screenshots showing my process of creating scene 2 in Maya

First, I tried to get the shape of the room correct and match the interior structure with the outside of the house by placing the door and window in the correct place. I then created the holes for the window and doors using the booleans difference method and then I added the window and doors. Then, I worked on piecing together the rest of the room by adding in more 3D assets, all of which were created by me in this scene. As stated earlier, I decided to add in some additional assets in this room that I hadn’t initially planned on having, such as the stairs that lead to nowhere, the hat stand and the table. 

Scene 3: Pumpkin room

Screenshots showing my process of creating scene 3 in Maya

My final scene environment didn’t take long at all to create as it was a very basic room. I made sure that one of the walls had the door in the correct position to match up with the previous room so it would flow correctly. I also added the outdoor forest texture that I had used to wrap around the house in scene 1 as wallpaper because I wanted the viewer to be slightly confused whether they are in or outside here, to fit in with the way Alice in Wonderland challenges reality.

Test Renders of my environment 

Scene 1: Outside the house

Some renders showing scene 1

Scene 2: Hallway

Some renders showing scene 2

Scene 3: Pumpkin room

Some renders showing scene 3

Here are some test renders of each scene with the environment of my piece, in my final piece I ended up changing the lighting in each scene as I felt that these renders looked much too shadowy. I also decided to get rid of the wraparound tree texture in scene 1 as I didn’t like how it looked when rendered, I will go into more detail about this in my ‘Development Approaches‘ blogpost. 

Embodiment

Embodiment helps to bring in a sense of presence even more intensely within an immersive environment. It is where the user feels a full embodiment inside the body of another virtual being, and they will therefore feel that the events that are happening in the virtual environment are really happening to them.  

Certain things can be done within immersive design to help the user feel even more embodiment such as being able to see a virtual body. However, this would only really work within VR types that use full body tracking and not ones like mine which will be just be a visual experience and only respond to movements of the head. This runs a risk of the user feeling very disconnected if the movements of the character within the experience are not mimicking theirs – for example it the character is walking in the experience but in real life, the user is sat down on a chair they would feel disembodied, therefore this is why I have decided to not add any body parts in my production piece and I also won’t be including any body parts. 

Another aspect of embodiment within immersive experiences would be the initial aspect of gaining an understanding of how to use the controllers, or essentially how to work your new ‘body’. When I was able to use the Oculus VR headset for the first time in the university lab, I found the ‘First Contact’ application to be very helpful in teaching me how I will be interacting with things in the new virtual world. This introductory tutorial was really crucial in helping me get acquainted with the controls and it didn’t take long at all until I was used to these new controls, I really did become embodied into them to the point where the actions I were performing felt natural and I didn’t have to think about what I was doing.