3D Virtual Reality Design
In 2016, we started to explore designing for immersive experiences.
We created a 360 degree VR Winter Wonderland inspired by the idea of walking into a snow globe.
Since there is no better way to learn how to design than to have a problem or challenge to solve, we decided to create a 3D Christmas card and use it as a learning experiment. We invited clients, peers, friends and family, to ‘make it snow’ by selecting one of three tree ornaments that were tied to a charity. Users would select a charity to receive a donation from Niiu.
People receiving the card could view it on a desktop, mobile or using Google cardboard for a fully immersive experience. They would enter the 360 degree world, look around to see a girl skating, a dog running and snow falling while listening to a jaunty Christmas tune. Then they would be directed to click on an ornament to indicate a preferred charity for donation.
Concepting & Prototyping
To get a feel for 3D space, we sketched initial concepts on paper and folded them into tubes. As our concepts evolved, we place them in the viewer and adjusted camera position to optimize user perspective and minimize distortion.
The visual style, influenced by pop-up cards, vintage Scandinavian graphic design and table hockey – was well suited to the technical environment. The simple shapes were cheerful; they also scaled and compressed well.
Envisioning the person’s path through the story was an interesting challenge.
We needed to think about journeys through the scene, how they might explore, interactions and transitions depending on what device they were using, how to provide guidance and how to create seamless entries and exits to and from the 3D world.
We found the best view was on mobile devices where the higher resolution masked pixillation of the outer edges. Through trial and error, we were able to determine optimal sizes for objects in the scene and find solutions to mask sprite edges.
“We had a lot of fun working on this project. It pushed us to think differently about the visual elements and the complexity of interaction in a 3D experience.”