CN Journeys VR Art Snippet: The Dimensional Deck

Hey everyone! This art snippet will cover the dimensional deck. It consists of four cards: one card for each journey and a fourth for returning to the desert. It’s through the use of these cards that the player is able to access each experience. Because they play such a key role, their visual treatment needed to stand out. We wanted each one to have a visually striking design in addition to feeling like a portal to another world. We worked with artist Brendan Wiuff in creating a design for each card that incorporates key elements from its associated journey. Here are the final designs that were used in creating the assets.

To have the cards feel like magic portals, we created a paralax effect that gave them a sense of depth beyond their physical thickness. We broke down the concept pieces into individual elements on texture sheets and exported vector paths into Blender to created the 3d elements.

The 3d elements were composited in Blender like a shadowbox; layering elements and creating depth while reconstructing the original concept composition. Here you can see the final models for each card that we exported out to Unity.

To roughly visualize the in-game effect in Blender, we used a frame that matched the dimensions of the card border. This reduced the time spent going back-and-forth between Unity and Blender to adjust the composition.

Once in Unity we made a custom stencil shader to achieve the windowed effect we needed for the deck.

The use of stencil buffers allowed the interiors to be conventionally authored as little dioramas. They allowed us to mask out the pixels of the “diorama” that fell outside the card’s frame.

The interaction mechanic to start each journey required the player to burn the corresponding card. To create the burn effect, we utilized a gradient texture mask that determined the order that the pixels disappeared/burned. We animated the mask parameters to create the leading edge that, in conjunction with the bloom, produced a nice effect.

These are the final cards in Unity. Being able to grab them and look at them in first person takes the effect to a level that only VR can deliver!

We hope you’ve enjoyed our prerelease art snippets and don’t forget to check out Cartoon Network Journeys VR releasing tomorrow October 1st for free on Steam!