My Neighbor Totoro – will be my next VR experience

My Neighbor Totoro, VR, catbus, 3D

The next VR experience in this ‘series’ (if you can call a single experience so far a series!) is going to be fan favourite and Japanese cultural icon, My Neighbour Totoro.

My Neighbor Totoro (1988) is a Japanese anime from beloved film maker Hayao Miyazaki, and Studio Ghibli. The film follows two young girls and their adventures around their new home, including meeting the big, fat racoon-like creature Totoro.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_Neighbor_Totoro

The scene I will be recreating is based upon the wonderful bus-stop scene. The two girls are waiting in the rain to get the bus home when Totoro comes and joins them.

You can watch a clip from  the scene here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QCJrCpBLoc

The scene then ends when Catbus comes to pick them up.

My Neighbor Totoro - Bus scene, Catbus, VR 3DChallenges

  • Totoro and Catbus have a fuzzy, furry outline. Creating this will be difficult. Is it shader driven? Geometry of some kind (probably not). Perhaps it’s simply part of a texture. A big challenge in Unity.
  • Animation and interaction. Ensuring it matches the film and that the player is able to drive it forward.
  • Plants and trees. The scene fades off into darkness, but there’s still a lot of flora that needs to be incorporated. Complicated and potentially demanding.
  • Ending the scene/not ending it. Does the scene end as the Catbus leaves? Will that be satisfying? Will it be too short? Adding the ‘journey’ after would be amazing but perhaps prohibitively time consuming to create.

There are a few things for me to keep an eye on, but for now there’s plenty to get on with, starting with the location.

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11 thoughts on “My Neighbor Totoro – will be my next VR experience

  1. Pingback: My Neighbor Totoro is next for the Virtual Reality treatment - PCGMedia

  2. wow you’re including the catbus? that is much more than I expected! I would have been fine just sitting at the bus stop next to totoro in the rain. BUT since you are planning to insert the catbus, I vote that you end it after the catbus leaves, maybe with a little text in the corner that allows the user to reply the scene by pressing a button.

  3. Hi Man! i’ve already made a bunch of compliments on the oculus forum :D .. i may have a suggestion, what about ending with the buscat’s eyes light staring at you and everything becomes white? then some credit roll! ;)
    sorry for english :)

  4. Love the idea! For ending: Possibility to board the nekobus with totoro or just leave us standing in amazement in the dark.

    I don’t know if it’s any help but I recently read articles about PBR (Physically-Based Rendering) and it’s possible to get quiet realistic surfaces with it. There is also an article about Pixar used this rendering physically based monsters in Monsters University (article: http://www.fxguide.com/featured/monsters-university-rendering-physically-based-monsters/ ). Maybe it helps with the furry/fuzzy issue with totoro and nekobus.

    Tool/tutorial/theory can be found by “Marmoset Toolbag2″ website ( http://www.marmoset.co/toolbag/learn/pbr-practice ).

    • Unity has some limitations and I want to match the film as close as possible. At some point the limitations conflict with those aims, but thank you for the links :)

  5. Awesome work sir! I saw the Spirited Away boiler room and it’s great to hear you doing Totoro! Keep it up and thank you for making these wonderful demos.

    • Thanks for the links. In the end i’ve gone for an approach that best emulates the look of the film, which avoids rendering fur all together.

      Thanks for the offer of help! If you’ve got any cool examples of your work then drop me a mail: nick@firepanda.co.uk

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