Woodland Mysteries was an app in development at Popbase meant to teach kids about wellness through interactive storytelling. The story followed a small creature’s adventures solving mysteries with his friends in a peculiar, ancient forest. My role was to design and create most of the art, define the overall look of the app and give direction to other artists.
Building the world of Woodland Mysteries was one of my favourite parts of this whole experience. This consisted of research, sketching, creative discussions, concept art, block-ins, polishing 3d models, texturing, Unity set up with lights and materials, animating objects, creating particle effects, testing, and making adjustments as the needs for the environments evolved.
Additionally, every space needed to reflect the larger world, the story of how it was created and of who used it. This was a world where smaller creatures interacted with much larger creatures, ancient cultural artifacts were uncovered and re-purposed and animals made do with the materials in their natural environment and expressed their personalities through their choice of habitat.
I really wanted this world to look like something out of a children’s picture book. Those illustrations are what fed my imagination growing up. There are a lot of textures and they’re all very gestural or painterly with the goal of achieving a charming, hand-drawn quality.
I ended up writing some shaders (hlsl) and then re-creating them in Amplify in order to create this specific look. Using custom shaders allowed for control over the final colours, stylized shading and also fun effects like wind animated plants and shining trophies.
A curious rodent named Clover was Woodland Mysteries' protagonist. To create Clover, I sketched out various character ideas and built on my favourites. I modeled and rigged Clover, painted a texture and added blendshapes for emoting and talking.
I modeled some other characters as well, typically starting from concept art that another artist had created.
For the robotic character of intelligo, I sketched out concepts, then developed one iteratively in Blender until we had a final design.
The project required a variety of interactable objects to be created and animated in different ways in Unity. Each had their own specific set ups involving some mixture of special shaders, particle effects, animation clips, blendshapes and occasionally mobile-friendly volumetric light fakery.
Often, these objects needed to indicate that they were interactive and that you tapping on them did something. One of the coolest objects was a rotating, infinite, secret, interactive bookshelf.
There were also some UI elements, which I helped animate and sometimes design or create,
such 2D transitions for when players moved from one space to another.
Note: I helped with UI mock ups and initial designs, but the final UI was handled beautifully by a UI specialist. Character animations were also handled by other, talented artists. Otherwise, I made the art in the screenshots you see on this page.