The memories I have chosen are three very positive moments in time for me.
- 1. Wedding Day - a beautiful outdoor wedding located at an orchard in Oregon.
- 2. Sunset Basketball - playing basketball with a group of friends at a local school.
- 3. Houseboat Vacation - family vacation at Trinity Lake in California on a houseboat.
All creations are made with Maya LT, Photoshop CC and Unity 2017 Personal Edition.
My wedding took place outdoors at a beautiful orchard in Oregon.
It was a beautiful sunny day and many of our friends and family were there in attendance.
We've been married now for almost fourteen years and it was one of the best days in my life. That day, and that place, will always hold a special place in my memory.
Some friends and I used to go play basketball at a local elementary school.
The school had three courts, all with different height hoops. Each hoop was wielded to metal backboards, making them very hard to shoot on, but it allowed us to dunk on some of the shorter hoops without worry of breaking them. Who doesn't want to be able to dunk a basketball and even hang on the rim?
It was a cool feeling and a fun place for a teenager like myself. A group of friends and I would go there and play for hours. A lot of good times were had on those courts with a lot of good friends from high school.
Every once and a while my family would take a trip to the lake and rent a houseboat for a week. I have some great memories from those trips.
This memory is particular was the first family vacation to that lake with my girlfriend/now wife. It was the last time we did this vacation and it was the best one I ever had. My wife, parents, aunt and uncle, cousins, and one of my best friends all went and it was a blast.
At the end of each day we'd tie up our houseboat to a stump on the lakeside, in a cove and play card games, bbq, and listen to the sounds of the lake.
How It's Done
This section is related to the "construction process" for the scenes.
Here I will describe my plan and post progress shots and unity editor screens to show the process.
As I started this project, I thought about what it's actually for. It's based on the idea of a mobile game, about memories from a player. I decided to create my project with that in mind. Mobile assets for a mobile platform.
All of my assets and screen effects are created to run on my personal smart phone or tablet.
My idea was to create each memory inside a "thought bubble" with the intention that you'll be selecting your Memories for viewing from some sort of user interface. I figured the player could have an avatar with these thought bubbles coming from it. The player could select a memory and view it more closely.
I started with some super basic assets.
I just wanted to get a better idea of how I was going assemble my scenes. So, I started with basic blocking.
Create a color sheet, a simplified character to use, a 'disc' style object for the ground and a starting Unity scene.
With these assets I can start a scene. I chose to start with my Wedding memory.
My wife and I got married under a huge old tree at Dorris Ranch in Springfield, Oregon. It was a beautiful area and the sun was warm and bright. I found a few aerial shots of where it was and started laying out some simple shapes, added a few characters, and a sky sphere. After the basic scene was set up I added atmosphere particles, chairs, more a detailed ground. Next up was the thought bubble idea. I created a separate camera with a plane in front of it. The plane has a thought bubble texture applied. I used this so I could achieve a layered version over the original scene rendering. Now I have the ability to create any kind of thought bubble I want, be it a particle, 2d animation, 3d shape, or a movie. As long as the overlay center is transparent I can use anything I want to surround my scene and create that "thought bubble" look.
The layout I wanted to tackle next was the Sunset Basketball memory. I started the process the same way, but since I've already laid out one scene, I used that as my starting point. I deleted all the objects I didn't need first, then replaced the ones I kept with the new models I started. New ground objects without the uneven terrain for the asphalt ground, new sky sphere, plus a new basic lighting setup. Next I added the characters in their rough locations and a few more environment tweaks.
The third layout is the Houseboat memory. I used the same base plate shape for the water, then added a sloped ground for the edge of the water. Next was the houseboat model itself. I started by blocking it out in gray. Something as a starting point. I also decided to adjust the "thought bubble" texture a bit to make it more "dreamy". From there, it was lighting and the sky box around the area. I went for a night time scene, which was the most pleasant times on the boat. A quite, beautiful starry night, laying on the roof top staring at the night sky.
From here I started polishing each scene a little bit at a time. Adding model details, lighting changes and particle systems for atmosphere and moving elements. I created new trees, posed characters, and added point lights for baking nice subtle color changes through out the environment. This process took the longest as with any polish time. It's one of those things that's never truly finished, but you just have to call it "done" as the deadline approaches.
I wanted to add movement to my "thought bubble". So I create a very simple shader in Shader Forge that allowed me to use a RenderTexture as an alpha channel. I used a Camera with black particles to create a moving transparent section in the center of my "dreamy" overlay. Then accompanied that with some additive particles with trails. I'm pretty happy with the result. I feel like it added that nice "dreamy" feeling I was going for.
Final Video Submission....
Creation of the Final video. I recorded my camera spin animations with Unity Recorder and edited the video with After Effects. I added music, smooth transition wipes and text to show each memory. I hope you enjoy!