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Beescapes VR

Lead Programmer, Animator, and Environment Artist

April 2021

BeeScapes is an immersive nature documentary, letting you see with the senses of a Bee. A trip designed in collaboration with world-leading scientific research into Bee perception and behaviour.

My Role/s

On Beescapes I took on many production roles including Lead Developer, Environment Art, Technical Art, and Animator. I worked closely with Director/Producer Dr Alan Nguyen to make Beescapes come to life, along with a team of incredibly talented artists who helped craft most of the 3D Assets, Textures, Shaders, and Sound that you see in the experience. As Lead Developer I helped establish our methods of collaboration and approach to the project, as well as addressing any of the projects programming needs. Much of the programming was Animation related, and I worked closely with the Director to block out the camera movements and narrative approach.

As Environment Artist I helped shape much of the space and art style you see in the final experience. My work was as much in the field as it was behind the computer and saw me visiting "Bee Sanctuaries" such as Boomers Reserve to undertake site-photography and photogrammetry so we could create the most authentic representations of those Australian environments possible.

Approach & Challenges

We approached Beescapes as a Virtually-Produced 360 Documentary, this differed greatly from my past experience with more live/interactive oriented projects but was a stellar learning experience.

For Beescapes we chose to use the Unity Game Engine for both it's ease of collaboration and live feedback while creating the film. This was in some ways restrictive as Unity's feature set is more game-focused, meaning we had to be creative with how we used the tools available to create a film-quality 360 experience. In other ways this was freeing, as we weren't as concerned with performance targets and efficiency as we are with most VR projects, and could focus more on nailing the narrative and quality of the rendering, assets, and overall presentation.

See more of Beescapes here.

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