Chapter 9: Building Cinderella's World
Designing the Environments
Shopping for Assets
We had to visit a couple different 3D asset stores- no one resource had everything we needed, and in a few cases I ended up creating some props myself. I'm particularly proud of the cauldron lid, which is made up of an upside-down fountain, two chimneys, and a series of capsules and cylinders. Again, if I had infinite time I would have wanted to learn 3D modeling (still do, but couldn't learn it in time for this project) and do a lot more myself, but for less unique objects like trees and whatnot, I was happy to not reinvent the wheel.
I did end up doing few textures from scratch for the Prince's castle- I couldn't find quite the right walls, ceiling or floor tiles so I painted my own and mapped them in. I love how the ceiling came out!
Designing the Characters
I also got to design alternate outfits for the girls- Cinderella's ballgown was pretty limited as we had to match the 3D model for consistency, but I came up with some really cute similar-but-different ballgowns for the stepsisters. The colors were consistent with their regular outfits, and the way the puppets work is that each limb and clothing item is "pinned" to a skeleton that animates. So I was flipping the clothing from the plain dresses to the ballgowns, and they actually matched up pretty well! I did some mix-and-match dress up for fun and then got back to work, haha.
Chapter 10: Animation
Creating the Spine puppets
Gosh, I think all the characters were created around March? (It's October as I'm writing this). I had a lot of puppets to get through- Cinderella, her father, stepmother, two stepsisters, the prince, the prince's assistant, the fairy godmother, and the extras at the dance. I managed to get it down to a routine- it took about a day to take the character sketches and make the finished art in Photoshop, and then another day to export and pin the parts together in Spine. So about two days per character. As time went on we added and changed the puppets for different activities and scenes, and the animations and puppets grew to be pretty complex by the end.
Creating the Animations
Wow this was a doozy! Sooo many animations for those little puppets. I tried to keep track in a spreadsheet but had to give up. It was all of the characters listed above, and they all needed animations- idles, talking, walking, walking and talking, happy, sad- and those were just the basic animations. Specific scenes needed specific actions, like the stepsister tearing up Cinderella's invitation to the ball, the Prince and Cinderella dancing, the girls trying on the shoes, etc, etc).
Complex Animations/Special Cases
I had red about "skins" in Spine and wanted to try them out. It's where you can have several different characters "pinned" to the same skeleton- so you can have multiple characters with different graphics, but they use the same animation sets.
For the Royal Ball, I needed to populate the ballroom- it would be a little empty with just the main characters! So I set out to make an overly complex puppet of a dancing couple that could be displayed from either side (so you could either see the lady's or the gentleman's face), and then also each side had multiple graphic sets for different dancers. I ended up with eight different dancers, and I also set it up so I could change the clothing color, so each dancer had two color variations. It was very intense but I only had to do the animation once, so it was probably all worth it in the end (I hope).
Chapter 11: VR Magic
I think I talked about this already? (Edit: I did).
We started off with standard directional lighting for most of the scenes, and then once we were about 60% of the way through the game, I went through and changed up the lighting- all the outdoor daytime scenes got sunny, blue bright sunlight, the nighttime scenes got a warm moonlight, stars, lantern lights and fireflies (I LOVE THE FIREFLIES). The indoor scenes are mostly lit by candle and lantern light, Cinderella's house also has some warm light shining from the fire under the cauldron and the fireplace.
It was literally like day and night- the scenes become much more atmospheric and evocative, and the characters got cast shadows that are really fun to watch. It's like they're real!!
I do reach out to touch things still in the game. I guess I'm not that used to VR after all.
Hi! It's me, Laura!