Cutting Edge

A project exploring cinematic cuts and transitions in VR. For more, please visit our development blog!

This was a project I pitched at Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center, along with four other friends, to explore the usage of cuts and transitions in the VR space. We were really inspired by traditional film and animation editing techniques (such as the work of Satoshi Kon!) as well as cuts and transitions used by modern interactive storytelling games (like Thirty Flights of Loving, and Virginia!). We were really interested in how these meaningful cuts and transitions could be translated into a 3D interactive space, but more importantly with the advent of VR experiences, what can the VR medium bring to this space?

Over the course of the semester (16 weeks!) we created prototypes of various types of cuts and transitions in VR, a final 4 minute narrative VR experience that showcased the best of our prototypes in the context of a story, and published videos featuring each type of cut/transition, going into detail about how to best use it and why it works.

The Final Narrative Experience

For the final narrative experience, we decided on a simple story that focused on memories and flashbacks to better showcase the cuts and transitions we were focusing on.

I was the main character and lighting artist, so I modeled, textured, rigged and animated the character in the story, and did lighting and mood for each scene. I also contributed to narrative discussion and design, as well as the specific design for each cut featured in the experience.

Experimental Cuts and Transitions

In the first half of the semester, we set out trying to create several different kinds of cuts. In these videos you can see how we prototyped each of them, our inspiration, and how it fit into our final narrative. However, for a more in-depth writeup I highly recommend reading this development blog post written by my excellent teammate, Matthew Floyd!

For these we were really focused on trying out to see what kinds of cuts worked and what didn’t, so none of the models (except the terrible, placeholdery ones) are mine.

However, since cuts and transitions are heavily dependent on story and context, I did go in to every prototype and create a base mood with lighting and other environmental effects so that our playtests might be a little bit more meaningful.

Branding Materials

As one of two artists on the team, I was in charge of creating the logo and poster for all the project’s marketing and branding materials while Shana was in charge of our project’s website, videos, and photographic documentation.


Final Logo:

Poster/Halfsheet Illustration

The draft on the left and final on the right. I polished the illustration and redid the handlettering for the final version.

Storyboarding of Cuts

Character Model, Texture, and Animations

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