The Oasis

Creating an immersive virtual reality experience

Internal Project

Tasked with an internal illustration project reflecting qualities of the studio, this piece embodies our willingness to take the road less travelled and commit to bold ideas. Staging the idea around our ‘oasis’ of creative thinking and exploration, the landscape quickly emerged from paper sketches. Warm colours and textures were in mind from the beginning, as we wanted the finished article to have a tangible and immersive feeling. 

Pencils at the Ready

Developing the oasis illustration further, we started sketching our environment beyond its initial confines; creating open vistas, waterfalls and points of interest along with the various bits of flora and fauna that would give life to our world. We designed an other worldly scene of connected viewpoints, creating a seamless experience for the user.

Further visual inspiration was provided by games such as ‘The Last Night’ and Minecraft; games that married a low fidelity approach to their environments augmented with cinematic lighting and environmental effects.

Filling our Oasis

Once clear of the direction and having planned the build of the project in greater detail, we started modelling the environment in Cinema 4D, with any additional flora and fauna created using Blender.

Following our chosen low-fi approach, everything within our world was modelled using fewest faces possible to create a ‘low poly’ look and feel. The primitive qualities of the 3D meshes were complimented by simple textures using ‘real world’ brushes in Photoshop, giving a distinct analogue quality to the objects.

For the various bits of wildlife within our Oasis, simple animations were created in Blender to give the impression of life; such as the flapping wings of a bird or the swimming motion of a fish.

Making Worlds

When it came time to combining our created assets into a fully functional VR experience, we opted to use the Unity game engine. This provided a quick and easy way to get our environment up and running, with the added bonus of VR functionality being provided via a simple plugin.

A world occupied by fictitious creatures required out of this world sounds; created by blending clips together using Adobe Audition. The immersive effect of audio is multiplied within VR with the use of 3D audio, becoming an essential scene setting tool.

We finally set about honing the visual aesthetic through colour correction and post processing effects to achieve the cinematic look and feel we were after, whilst adding a UI to sit within the 3D space, with beacons enabling the user to transport themselves around the world.

Wish you were here

We successfully completed our goal of creating an immersive virtual reality experience within our self imposed deadline, and learnt a huge amount about the processes involved.

Standing in the environment, proudly looking around the world we've created, we can begin to understand the power of virtual reality and its ability to create impactful, emotive brand experiences. Our learning over the projects development has also hinted at the broad range of commercial possibilities of VR as marketers get to grips with this exciting technology.

With the maturation of the medium and with more widespread adoption of headsets, we will begin to see a much greater integration of VR into the time we spend online.