immersive design


For the assignment, I was tasked with creating a 360° VR prototype experience based on Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” Lewis Carroll’s book is a story of a girl who falls down a dark rabbit hole and finds herself in a fantasy land filled with creatures and objects that cannot be described.

Before coming up with designs for my VR experience, I considered whether to have the experience as a full playable game level or as a 360° video. If I chose to create a VR game, I would be able to allow the player to interact with objects and to be able to freely move around the environment. This would allow me to add more immersion to the experience, as the user will be able to walk around in their available space and be able to move in the digital world. The user would also be able to interact with certain objects, and if I create triggers and events, I can allow the user to freely progress the narrative on their own. Despite allowing for more immersion, I chose instead to create a 360° video for a number of reasons:

The first reason for choosing to create a 360° video and not a playable game is the time I would have to spend creating the different mechanics. For example, I would need to make my own interaction system inside of Unreal, and I do not have the time to complete this and other mechanics that I may need. Another reason is that the user would need a headset and controllers that work with the controls that I implement. However, if I create a 360° video, the user will be able to use their phone to look around the environment.

Creating a 360° video allows me to have the camera stationary in the middle of the environment, and as long as the user isn’t moving, they will not get motion sickness. My plan is to create an environment that morphs around the viewer, creating slight optical illusions without making the viewer nauseous. To avoid motion sickness in the 360° video, I considered multiple ideas, but the main ideas that I had were not moving the viewer, frame rate, and render resolution.

  • Moving the viewer: In a 360° VR video, the viewer will not be able to move around the environment as this is a limitation of using 360° video. A way you can get the viewer to move around the environment is by moving the camera in the render engine, but this may cause motion sickness, as the pre-rendered video will move in ways that the viewer will not be expecting, and having that disconnect from the viewer’s eyes and their motion will cause nausea. A method I could use to combat this is by keeping the viewer in a fixed position and assuring that they will have ground below them to make sure they feel that connection to reality.
  • Frame rate: Having a low frame rate will cause high latency and will make the VR experience unpleasant for the user. We have been asked to create a video which is at least 24 fps. However, I plan on making my video higher frame rate to allow for more comparability in the VR experience.
  • Render resolution: For this VR experience, we have been tasked with making the video in 4K resolution to allow for more detail and a better viewing experience. Anything lower than 4K would result in a blurry image, which would ruin the immersion of the video.


I had a general idea of what I wanted to accomplish in my assignment, but I still made the decision to sketch up some examples of the room layouts I would like to design. In this design, I drew up a simple box room which was inspired by the victorian arkitecture simuler to room in the films. The camera would be positioned in the centre of the room to allow the user to see the surroundings and away from any areas that would cause camera clipping or discomfort for the viewer. I wanted to add a ticking clock as an ambient/spatial sound to this setting to help the user feel more immersed. I do intend to have the clock’s location act as the source of this sound.

Another setting I took into account was the dinner party scene from the movie and book where Alice first encounters the mad hatter. I would be able to display a larger landscape in this open setting. The mad hatter would be in the scene, moving around and speaking to the viewer as though they were Alice, while the camera would be at the foot of the table. Making a focused subject enables the viewer to concentrate on a single object without being distracted by the surroundings.


To make my ideas more concrete I made a storybored so that others could see the concepts I wanted to present. In order to gauge whether the story will succeed and the goal of immersion will be met for my assignment, I sketched out some basic storyboard concepts and let others look at them. I also used this time to generate a few more ideas, Before settling on the storyboards i created.


I utilised my narrative boards to produce animatic. In order to build the animatic, I separated all of the various objects in the Photoshop files that I knew I would move during the animation process. I animated all of the shots and components after importing them into a video editing programme. I produced this to give others a better idea of what I was trying to create and to get their comments before I started working on the final animation. Additionally, I used the animatic as a timing guide.


To create my inside environment I started with creating a simple box and used Unreal engins default building blocks help block out my environment. I did this so I could get a sense of scale for the environment and to help start story boarding for what I wanted the final product to look like. I used my concepts to help design my environment and went for a Victorian look for the furniture and the rest of the room.

I began by building a basic box and then used simple assets to help block out my environment in order to create my interior environment. I did this to assist me begin blocking out for the final product and to help me get a feeling of scale for the surroundings. I applied my ideas to design my surroundings, settling on a Victorian aesthetic for the furnishings and the rest of the space.

To populate the environment I used assets from quixel bridge. using quixel allows me to drag and drop 3D assets into the scene quick and easily. I also used a few assets from sketch fab like the clock as quixel was very limiting on the amount of assets that why had so I used other sites to collect assets for the environment. Given that the original novel was written in 1886 and my desire to reference that era, I wanted the inside environment to look authentic and victorian. The viewer will feel disconnected and think that the inside environment is real and the outside environment is imaginary if the inside and outside environments appear to be from two different worlds. I also wanted my interior environment to look fantastic in comparison to the exterior environment.

For the outside enviroment i proceeded to take the same steps that i used to create the inside enviroemnt. I began by using the fundamental building blocks offered by Unreal. I began by arranging the walls in a “U” shape to accommodate the viewer’s surroundings.

After correctly positioning the camera and determining the scale of the items, I incorporated several models from Quixel of an outdoor, mossy environment. In order to reproduce the tea party atmosphere, I used stone mossy walls all around the player and placed a table in the centre. I added structures to the end of the environment to make it appear larger than it actually was and various pebbles and stones to the environment to give it more life.

I adjusted the scale of the things in the enviroment to give them a larger appearance in order to make the environment appear magical like Alice in Wonderland. I was able to construct two realistic-looking environments with high quality assets using my concept sketches and several movie stills as inspiration. By utilising excellent models, I can increase the viewer’s immersion in the scene.


Sound will be a significant component of my immersive design project because it may help the viewer become fully immersed in the environment.

I wanted to incorporate ambient sounds throughout my entire piece of art. Having a silient scene will cause the viewer to not feel as immersed in the project, which is why I’m doing this.

Sounds i want for the project:

  • Ambient noices e.g. birds chirping and wind. spacial audio/mono
  • Clock ticking/ clock chime. spacial audio
  • Talking e.g. mad hatter and wisp/cheshire car. spacial audio
  • Magical noices. spacial audio/mono

As I haven’t used sounds much in prior work that I have done, I experimented with different applications to generate the noises. It was difficult to integrate the sound into programmes like Premiere and get it to work with the 360 degree video, despite my first attempts to capture sound directly from Unreal Engine.

I also practised using a new piece of software called Adobe Audition. I can create 360-degree audio using Adobe Audition, which I can then export into Premier Pro.  I hopefully will be able to upload that to YouTube so that people may experience it fully with 360 degree audio.

I used the dearVR plug-in in Adobe Audition to have the audio come from a spacific location. I was able to choose where I wanted the audio to come from and let the plug-in write over the clip to place it where I wanted it using this tool. I had to play the audio clip while rotating the dials to give the impression that the audio was travelling behind the viewer’s head in order to create the moving audio.

I was finally able to import these audio files into Premier Pro and make necessary adjustments to the clips. to their proper places for them to function.

My final animation features two characters speaking to the player and a clock sound effect. I intentionally kept the animation’s sound effects to a minimum because the software frequently crashed, and I didn’t want to overwhelm my computer with too many various types of sound.


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