From 3D Scans to Unreal Engine… Through ShapesXR

Case Study: VRXP and Studio KwO XR

Ink & Fire is a VR narrative experience that revolves around 3D scans of prehistoric cave painting sites in Brazil. ShapesXR allowed the remote team to import the 3D models and design the whole flow of the application at 1:1 scale, leading to a more efficient design phase and a faster time to market.

About ShapesXR

ShapesXR is a 3D creation and prototyping tool for remote teams. Designers, creatives, project managers, leaders, and clients can co-create and communicate in real-time within a virtual environment without a complicated setup, expensive hardware, or years of 3Dexperience (e.g. Blender, Solidworks, Unity etc.). ShapesXR is the perfect tool for the early stage of the design process where alignment and communication is key and where making the right decisions is more critical than ever. Keeping the visuals at low-fidelity allows the project team to focus on the functions and experience before the look and feel is finalized. This also leaves more room and flexibility for iterations to evaluate different solutions and ideas in a safe, affordable, and low risk environment.

About VRXP and Studio KwO XR

Ink & Fire is a VR experience co-produced by VRXP and Studio KwO XR. VRXP Consultancy & Production is a pioneer Brazilian start-up specialized in XR UX/CX design and XR production for festivals. VRXP has been developing immersive experiences on demand with its focus on the XR UX design since 2016. It has delivered a total of 5 year-long projects, for national and international clients. Studio KwO XR is a Brazilian XR studio dedicated to creating cinematic and interactive VR/AR experiences for commissioned clients/partners, and self-started projects for general audiences aimed toward international distribution. To date, Studio Kwo has delivered over 70 XR projects to Brazilian and international clients.

The challenge

Ink & Fire is a VR narrative experience that revolves around 3D scans of prehistoric cave painting sites in Brazil. ShapesXR allowed the remote team to import the 3D models and design the whole flow of the application at 1:1 scale, leading to a more efficient design phase and a faster time to market. Ink & Fire is an interactive VR application based on real-world locations of great historical significance. Digital twins of such places were created to immerse the general public in a rich narrative experience. The project's modest grant-based budget and short development period also limited our ability to iterate extensively during the design and testing phases. The project's biggest challenges can be grouped into four main categories:

Space-related decisions: all relative distances, asset/props placement choices, scale, floor layout, rotation, availableuser’s moving space, presence continuity between scenes;

3D storyboard: the need to translate the script to each 3D scene, and to transmit the Directors' vision to development/art teams;

User comfort: the need to quickly test the ambiance of each scene to ensure content+interaction fit for younger, elderly and inexperienced users, and establish a purposeful mood in each scene meeting the script’s arc;

Collaboration and communication: the need to connect remote team members in different cities and collaborate effectively in a shared sandbox environment, in addition to presenting the project to potential external partners and sponsors over time

“The ability to put together scenes intuitively and quickly allowed me to translate the script’s vision and feel to the team, get their feedback, and iterate quickly saving time, resources and avoiding stressful rework. Going forward, I can’t envision working on similar projects without ShapesXR as an accessible way to explore creative ideas and deliver at the highest quality possible while meeting our deadlines and budgets." - Francisco Almendra, Director

The process

ShapesXR was used by our team to align on early decisions during the design phase. The director’s written scripts and vision could be translated to spatial mockups easily and presented to the rest of team to gather suggestions and provide feedback. This was also possible thanks to a smooth learning curve, flawless audio synchronization and stable experience that enabled anyone to remotely join the meeting in VR. Thanks to the import features we were able to import low-resversions of the scanned rock formations (1) and create a mock-up of the whole experience. We also used ShapesXR to highlight potential interactive areas, as well as finding creative ways to manage the user attention throughout the experience (2). New ideas and concepts were immediately choreographed in real-time and experienced at 1:1 scale. Using the stage system we were able to simulate scene transitions and experience the whole user flow before we had to build anything in the game engine. After consensus was reached, the individual scenes were exported as GLTF (3) to be further used in Unreal Engine, where the low-res assets could be replaced by the final textured counterparts.

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Value provided by ShapesXR

Before using ShapesXR it was extremely challenging to communicate and iterate on spatial designs. Given also thesmooth learning curve the Director was directly involved in the ideation and design process and could immediatelymanipulate the scene to make adjustments in real-time. Since the design of the experience was constrained by the 3Dmodels of the physical places, it was extremely useful to “BE” immersed and experience scale, size and distance whiledesigning the whole experience. This led to a dramatic increase in productivity: the team was able to iterate faster and inreal time without the need to compile builds to be shared among the team, layout and flow decisions wereright-first-time and allowed a timely delivery of the project.

Iterate 3X FASTER

The ability to get immediate feedback during the design phase despite the team was fully remote allowed to iterate much faster

Design process 60% MORE EFFICIENT

Reaching the final scene layout without ShapesXR would have taken us double the time… or even more

BETTER collaboration BETTER experiences

The overall experience of working within the ShapesXR environment boosted the team’s morale and productivity significantly – it’s hard to measure the value of new creative ideas working together

Live stream event

A live conversation with VRXP and Studio KwO XR about the development of their interactive VR experience, Ink & Fire.