My art process mostly consists of the same stages, but VR definitely created a lot of challenges and difficulties I hadn’t foreseen. I am so used to working in Illustrator, that I felt uncomfortable and unsure at first how to work in Unity. There are so many variables and possibilities and settings that don’t do exactly what you want! It feels like everything is way more complex and with more workarounds. I went from feeling restricted, to feeling I had all the freedom to getting an art block during the art process.
Luckily programmer Rik de Rooij built tools for me to use, gradient, particle and color managers that were accessible. I was also able to take screenshots of the game at any time to use as a reference or example. All these tool made it way easier for me to navigate Unity and communicate to my teammates what I meant or was looking for.
For the womb tunnel at the end of the game I could design geometrical shapes in vector and then load them into Unity to add them to the particle system. The same system was used for the area with plants that activate heartbeat soundscapes.
Niki Smit created most of the 3D models, compositions and shaders and Meaza Jamal Pardoel designed additional 3D models and animations. From them I learned how to explain my art and how it can be transformed into 3D. That meant I needed to figure out what my flat art would look like from all sides and how it moves. I also had to think about designs that aren’t as comfortable and soft, for scenes in the womb tunnel that were meant to be painful, more angular and sharp.
A lot of concept art wasn’t used, was too complex or not translatable to 3D. This was something I already experienced from working on other artistic game projects with teams.
Although next time, I would start to work in Unity sooner than I did now, to try to blend in the art better and to have more control over it in 3D. I did experience again how much value concept art has, it can give you something to talk about and can inspire others, but it can also make you realize what direction the game can go in.
Here is concept art for a water level that didn’t make the final cut.
Here's a selection of screenshots of the final look in-game and photo’s of the setup during the Screenshake festival in Antwerp, February 2017.
~ Liselore Goedhart