Category: Practice 1 Media: 05 Zen

Zen Project

So we’ve got a Zen theme to do for virtual reality project, the goal being to help hospital patients who may be bored to relax and ‘escape’ from the hospital environment. This is a subject that I’m particularly familiar with, having undergone treatment for cancer for 2 and a half years as a teenager.

To be clear, these next two images are not university work for assessment, rather more to illustrate my point about my experience creating environments in hospitals. I’ve been working with cancer charity, Momentum, on various projects in hospitals that “enhance the healing environment”, and these are the before/after designs that I have done for them.

Top – example of hospital room before renovation, Bottom – 2D Artwork assets that can be re-used across a variety of rooms of different shapes/sizes:


Example of finished room – this one at Kingston Hospital in SW London. Wipe-clean vinyl wallpaper is used, which can be applied to all surfaces, including the ceiling tiles – creating a very immersive environment!


So, onto the actual work that I’ve done for the brief… the first task was to take my original illustrations for the hospital and create some more ‘concept art friendly’ images in a 3/4 isometric view that indicates a clearer breakdown of forms then the original vector graphics.


I’m then basically left with a decision of what I want to model. I know that personally for me it’s going to take longer than a week to build the whole environment in VR because I just lack the technical know-how, but this process is all about learning and we all have to start somewhere!

I started learning the basics of Modo from Peter Stammbach’s video tutorials on YouTube, to get down the basic modelling fundamentals and get used to the UI of the programme. This step was mainly about building technical knowledge and I will probably use Modo in the future as I am a lot more confident with it now.


So I picked an element from my original concept art which I decided I wanted to tackle. As things are currently fairly ‘clunky’ for me in 3D, (I have to plan the steps in my head, I can’t pick it up and use it intuitively like I can work in 2D), I started by picking out the owl and breaking it down into the base shapes which I knew I had to create.


So I managed to get together a fairly simple model here, again, time was of the essence and this project was more about learning than producing a wonderful result. I decided that if it does become one of my development projects then I can take the time to model the other assets as well and make something a lot more presentable.


Credit to Joe Hobbs who helped me with the unwrap here


Ultimately I only got to this stage with the project, but it was a nice introduction and ‘dive in the deep end’ with Modo, and my first attempt at a non-sculpture based 3D programme (it was a very different experience and workflow than with using ZBrush).

If I had more time then I would have gone on to do some hand painted textures onto the model, which would obviously have helped greatly with it’s presentation, but I did get this far with a very un-optimised unwrap (that was far too messy, before Joe Hobbs came along and cleaned everything up for me). Again, this was a basic indication of forms, but I understand the process to take it further if I do re-visit the project.