VR: Haunted Halloween Scene

This is my first foray into design for VR, I feel like I’m slightly late to the party for this emerging platform, but I’m here now. I decided to use Cineversity’s VR-Cam plugin to design my first 3D scene that would utilize VR. It’s a spooky Halloween scene and can be viewed on Youtube, as a 3D video or in VR with Cardboard activated:

As I expected, it was very challenging creating this relatively simple scene because in VR I had to spend time designing an entire 360 environment instead of just what is in front of one camera. I kept the render as light as I could, added a little bit of Ambient Occlusion and kept my Anti Aliasing down, while avoiding Global Illumination entirely.

I had a lot of ideas that I had to cut out, just because it was going to bog down my preview and render times or I just wasn’t going to get it done before Halloween. I designed some of them but just couldn’t implement them, I might add them in after. Ideas like:

  • Full graveyard
  • Scary birds in trees
  • Metal gate in front of haunted house
  • Scary woman in window
  • Torn curtains in windows
  • Flying Bats
  • Zombies
  • Creepy rocking chair moving
  • dead foliage on the trees and ground

But If I wanted to get it done in time for Halloween, I had to reduce it to the haunted house, the coffin with someone getting buried alive, and the creepy dudes peeking around the trees.

HAUNTED_HOUSE_VR_screenshot1_0599

For the haunted house I searched for a reference image that I liked and built it up with some fairly basic polygon modeling. Making the house feel haunted was all about creating grungy, dirty materials to make the house feel old, abandoned and scary. I always use textures.com, formerly CGtextures, and mixed in a variety of worn wood, dirty plaster, and grungy roof tiles to give the outer look to the house I wanted. I even added some extra grime and grunge in Photoshop before loading them into Cinema 4D. Since the house would be a bit off in the distance in the scene I didn’t need to dwell on the details too much. Also using fog in the scene reduced visibility and hid some detail that I avoided spending time on.

The trees were made using XFrog, which is perhaps the best solution for creating procedural trees in Cinema 4D. Seriously if you are trying to do it using polygon modeling or sweeps forget it, this is worth looking into. I designed 15 different trees of like 3 main varieties and spread them out over the surface via a MoGraph cloner. I randomly rotated them so they had some different looks to them throughout the forest.

I rigged the little creepy guys to pop in an out with a tiny bit of XPresso, just to keep the rotation of the character and some deformers tied together. I faded them in and out with a Visibility tag so they would disappeared and not stick out from behind the trees. Then I set every one of them to look at the center of the environment where the user would be standing with a Target Effector, that way they would all be staring at the user.

haunted house ram

I modeled the coffin and placed a sphere inside configured with dynamics, so that it would randomly turn on and off with a custom initial velocity that would propel it upward and bounce the coffin lid. I added the wood pounding sound effects with some other spooky sounds for the final mix.

HAUNTED_HOUSE_VR_screenshot1_0109

Overall it’s fun and simple, and a good project for me to get my feet wet with VR. It works with my cardboard headset, I recommend getting one for super-cheap just so you can play around with it.

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