Disney’s The Jungle Book: VR Experience
Creatively The Jungle Book game engine experience demanded as close to photorealistic environment that technology could handle. High end feature film assets manipulated to run at 90fps in stereo in real time running on desktop PC. Audience users new to virtual reality needed to walk away happy and intrigued to see the feature film.
We set about designing a variation of The Jungle Book scene in which Mowgli meets the python Kaa. Working with the film’s director Jon Favreau and the film’s editors, we timed out Scarlett Johansson’s dialogue to work as a first person point of view.
Design and Animation
Telling a narrative in VR is a tricky problem to solve. Every person moves and views the world around them differently. To lead a person to understand the story you plan to tell, was achieved using multiple approaches. Animating both Kaa and a flock of birds so that users are drawn to certain points of interest, sound was used binaurally to direct users attention, as well as the environment itself was designed and lit in such a way that people are compelled to certain parts of the scene.
The biggest challenge we faced was balancing VR required 90 fps running on a desktop PC and the inevitable comparison to the finished films photorealism. A constantly refined balance between adding and manipulating highly finished film assets and 13 individual audio tracks was our daily battle. Using different types of known game engine tricks and techniques, custom shaders, geometry mesh groupings, lighting tricks and even using objects with no lights and playing them silhouetted against bright background objects.
AMC IMAX Theaters
Disney launched “Trust In Me - VR Experience” in Imax foyers across 12 key cities four weeks before The Jungle Book release. The project took 8 weeks and was output for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Facebook 360 and Gear VR and ten different languages for international territories.