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Student Project: A Quiet Night in the Shire



Solo Project

In my 3D motion class, we have the chance to begin exploring Virtual Reality experiences and environments. For this project, my task was to design an immersive Virtual Reality (VR) experience for an audio track of my choosing. I had to imagine I had been hired by Denver Performing Arts Center to design an immersive VR experience for evening theater patrons. We even had the opportunity to display this project's work at the Denver Performance Arts space as it was on display during the hours prior to evening performances and offered as an entertainment experience. As a secondary purpose, this experience should help to inform patrons about the possibilities inherent in VR displays while "showing off" the talents of CU Denver Digital Designers.


All in all, I had to design a VR environment to create an experience for people to have when viewing my piece. I had to come up with an environment to use, whether it was completely made up or real and I knew exactly what I wanted to recreate. I wanted to experience (and have others experience) a moment in the Shire, from the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies. These trilogies made me want to explore art and design as a passion in my life and I have found myself immersed in the environment of the Shire just by watching the movies, so I wanted my audience to be able to experience a moment in the Shire to share that emotion with me. However, we had 3 weeks to learn about creating a VR environment and create this piece, which leads me to have the style of a low-poly type of the Shire, where elements had just enough detail that people understood we were in the Shire.

My inspiration came from the style of low-poly design with little shapes and details. Meaning there is only enough details or the general shape in order for the audience to identify that the object is a tree, or a door, or the Shire in my case. The Shire is easy to identify by its hills with large, circular doors in the ground, making small little houses. A low-poly design gives the audience a new experience in the Shire, rather than the experience they may already have by watching the movie, and helps to make this project more doable for me in the time frame that I had.


Assets of the Shire that were important for me to recreate in order for the audience to understand where they were, was to re-create a hobbit hole, with a circular door, windows in a hill. Other assets that were said to be important were Galdalf's hat, Bilbo's book or his sword,  Sting. There were just small details I could add for people to see the longer that they look around in the environment. These smaller assets would be considered "Easter Eggs" for those who understand the longer you spend in this environment.


Luckily by figuring out the "eye level" of the user in my piece, I didn't have to recreate the entire Shire, but rather a small circular section that was viewable 360 degrees.

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