Computer Graphics World

Edition 1 2021

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 28 of 35

j a n • f e b • m a r c h 2 0 2 1 c g w 2 7 My-Makers C reators of the interactive VR narrative Baba Yaga recently brought the fairy tale to life, and what better way to do this than with a storybook aesthetic? Baba Yaga is a contemporary portrayal from Eastern European/Slavic folklore about a supernatural being assuming the appear- ance of a deformed, old woman who has a strong connection with wildlife and the forest, where she lives. She may choose to help or hinder those who encounter her or seek her out – an aspect of the legend that melds well with the VR platform where a "player" is able to make options that impact the outcome of the story. Craed by Baobab Studios, the VR film is directed by Baobab Co-founder Eric Darnell (Madagascar, Antz) and co-directed by Mathias Cheleboug, with star power behind the character voices. The sixth virtual-real- ity film from the studio since its inception five years ago, Baba Yaga pushes beyond Baobab's previous projects with a higher level of stylization, the addition of humans as real- time characters, and with more variability af- fecting the story outcome through decisions that are meaningful and matter. The player assumes the role of Sasha, who journeys with her sister, Magda (Daisy Ridley), into the forbidden forest (voiced by Jennifer Hudson) to seek a special blossom in order to save the life of their dying moth- er, the village chief (Glenn Close). But the witch Baba Yaga (Kate Winslet) does not look kindly onto those who trespass on her land, as for far too long she has used her powers to stop the villagers and their settle- ment from encroaching upon her enchanted forest. How will Baba Yaga react to this latest intrusion? Each decision the player makes along the trek impacts the narrative, the witch's reactions, and the ending. As Darnell points out, there are many folktales about Baba Yaga, and the story the filmmakers came up with is essentially their own, an amalgam of pieces from those versions as well as elements of their own. To make Baba Yaga available to a wider audience beyond that of the Oculus Quest platform, Baobab created a 2D film version as well. Also presented through the eyes of Sasha, the theatrical adaptation was filmed from the player experience of Darnell. As the cinematographer, Darnell shot almost all of the virtual camera work himself to achieve a first-person emotional POV. An Open Bk BABA YAGA USES CGI TO CRAFT A STORYBOOK AESTHETIC FOR THIS VR EXPERIENCE BY KAREN MOLTENBREY Images © 2020 Baobab Studios.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Computer Graphics World - Edition 1 2021