“Lucky Armstrong” is an exciting virtual reality (VR) film project set in the vast expanse of space. The story follows Lucky Armstrong, an easygoing and unconventional astronaut, who becomes marooned on the perilous exoplanet Thanatos Faros. With only 7 percent oxygen remaining in his suit and accompanied by a furry little alien creature, Lucky must embark on a thrilling journey to find a way back home.
The film showcases the stunning yet treacherous landscapes of Thanatos Faros, immersing viewers in a visually captivating and dangerous world. Lucky’s encounters with the outlandish black hole, powered by a mysterious digital box that inexplicably spits out shoes, add a touch of whimsicality to the narrative. As Lucky uncovers the secrets of the planet, he must also confront the imminent threat of running out of oxygen.
Creating “Lucky Armstrong” as a VR film project in Unreal Engine 5 with animation done in Maya and utilizing the Optitrack motion capture system stems from the desire to provide an immersive and interactive storytelling experience. VR technology allows viewers to be fully engaged in the story, transporting them into the shoes of the protagonist.
Unreal Engine 5’s advanced capabilities provide the opportunity to create stunning visuals and realistic environments, bringing Thanatos Faros to life with its breathtaking landscapes and otherworldly elements. Maya’s animation tools enable the creation of dynamic and expressive characters, including the adorable alien creature accompanying Lucky.
The Optitrack motion capture system ensures that the character movements and interactions within the VR experience are lifelike and responsive. This level of realism enhances the audience’s immersion, making them feel like active participants in Lucky’s thrilling adventure.
Through the combination of VR, Unreal Engine 5, Maya, and the Optitrack motion capture system, “Lucky’s Cosmic Escape” aims to push the boundaries of storytelling, delivering a visually stunning and engaging experience that captivates audiences and transports them to a world beyond their imagination.
- Wrote a script for the VR film that emphasizes the immersive nature of the medium and the experience of being transported to a new world.
- Storyboarded the visual sequences using Procreate, outlining the key moments and camera angles for each scene.
- Purchased high-quality assets from the Unreal Engine Marketplace to enhance the visual fidelity and variety of the film.
- Created a VR template in Unreal and built different levels of maps that would be utilized for various scenes.
- Designed and constructed the levels, paying attention to details like foliage, props, rocks, and hills to create a mysterious and desolate atmosphere for the virtual planet.
- Choreographed and directed an actor to perform motion capture at NYU’s studio using the OptiTrack Mocap system. This involved capturing actions such as walking, crawling, picking up objects, and being thrown away by a mysterious wormhole.
- Exported the motion capture data from the studio and connected it with the 3D model of the astronaut in Unreal using MotionBuilder.
- Addressed any glitches or inconsistencies in the motion capture data using Maya, ensuring smooth and realistic movements.
- Animated the biped character “Zaza” and a mysterious creature that dies after drinking water, adding life and depth to the virtual world.
- Utilized the Sequencer tool in Unreal to lay out the scenes and establish the timings for each actor’s actions.
- Implemented the Niagara Particle system to incorporate smoke and dust effects in the air, as well as create a realistic rocket explosion.
- Used blueprints to connect and sequence the scenes, ensuring a smooth transition from one to the next.
- Designed and placed sound effects, along with spatial audio, to enhance the overall immersive experience within the virtual scenes.
- Exported the film in 360 VR using the Off World Live (OWL) plugin