AR Haunted House

AR Haunted House by Dunaway Smith

Halloween is my favorite holiday. Since we are still struggling with Covid-19, we can’t celebrate together this year. So, I created an augmented reality haunted house that anyone can access anywhere.

Play is underrated. It’s how humans learn and blow off steam and stress. It’s been such a serious and scary year, I’ve been trying to inject more play into my art making. This is an example of such a project.

EXPERIENCE: As you approach the pumpkin, the scene springs to life. When you tap a grave, the dormant ghost rises and circles you a few times before returning to the  afterlife. Some of the crows are startled when you get too close, so they fly away. Others require more coaxing (a tap) to leave their roost. The house itself holds a few exploratory secrets. The surrounding forest responds to taps, as does the pumpkin king himself. 

PROCESS: This is a very layered scene. I’ll explain it as best I can. Maybe I’ll do a tutorial, when I have time. Half of the elements are 3d models that I created in Blender (with textures created in Procreate and Photoshop.) The other half of the elements were created in After Effects. I exported them as PNG sequences, zipped them up, and brought them into Adobe Aero. The pumpkin is the exception. I found that 3D model / texture on Turbo Squid (It looks super real, right? Thanks, Turksandwich79!)  I brought everything into Aero and set up a series of triggers and audio cues, based on user interaction. Several of the elements have looping animations that I created in Adobe Aero. Those subtle background animations lend authenticity to the “world.”

SOUND DESIGN: My partner made the ambient (wind) background track. I sourced the crow sounds from (great site, btw). I wrote the piano piece, then created the rest of the sound effects with my voice using Reaper (my preferred DAW.) 

TRY IT: If you’d like to give this a try, I posted the link in my bio. Let me know what you think!

I attached armatures to my 2D illustrations in Blender, so I could give them some organic movement and personality.
I used Arturia’s Piano plugin (American Grey) in Reaper to create the spooky soundtrack.
Once all the elements are created, I brought them into Adobe Aero to set up the AR scene, animations, and interactivity.