Breathe – VR Walkthrough

February 25, 2017

This is a walkthrough video of my soon to be released VR meditation app ‘Breathe’.

It will be free, at least initially.  I want to keep working on it, adding content and features.  This first version is quite basic – with only a ‘sunflower’ animation and some color variations.

I want to eventually add more animations, e.g. different flowers (lotuses etc), geometric mandala patterns… and also different types of backgrounds e.g. underwater, fractal etc.

This extra content will give the possible combinations and variety between animation / background / colours much more than the base version of the app.

As you use the app, you can browse through ‘scenes’ – these are effectively randomly generated scenes with a unique combination of animation, background and color setup.  The scene number is really a seed number – similar to how Minecraft generates random worlds based on a seed number.

This concept I hope, encourages exploration of randomly generated worlds – and if you find something you like, you can remember or save the seed / scene number.

You can use your favourite scenes for meditation.  You can adjust the tempo of the animation to fit with your breathing, and try to unify the whole experience with your breath.  Or you can go ‘free’ from the breath syncing and just enjoy the animation at whatever pace feels relaxing to watch.

Future ideas for the app include a guided, structured meditation, with possibly a voice over to help instruct.

I will also keep adding to the generative ambient soundtrack.  The first version has about 6 tracks which blend in and out of each other randomly, creating a continuous generative audio work.

 

Now for the fun part in preparing the app for submission to the Oculus store!

 

 

 

 

 

A meditation…

January 27, 2017

Just putting the finishing touches to my new meditation VR app ‘Breathe’.

Featuring generative ambient music, rhythmic fibonacci animation, and preprogrammed / customisable meditation options.

Watch this demo and enjoy a 10 minute meditation on a sunflower.  You can choose to try and bring your breathing down to the speed of the animation, or simply relax and enjoy the experience on its own.

 

 

 

some early stills from my vr meditation app ‘breathe’ – and some screenshots of development – including my own fibonacci / golden angle formula for creating sunflower seed patterns…

 

breath1 breath3 breath4breathe2 screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-07-07-13 screen-shot-2016-12-01-at-07-31-40

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‘Breathe is a breath visualisation VR app for relaxation, meditation training and developing Mindfulness, transforming the mundane act of breathing into an act of beauty, wonder and calm, and nurturing mindfulness through Mindfulness of Breathing. ‘

 

Funded by Northern Ireland Screen –

http://www.northernirelandscreen.co.uk/news/8258/exp-project-decision.aspx#.V8psrgZ_b48.facebook

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A short animated guide to Buddhist breath meditation, using the metaphor of an opening lotus.  The narration was adapted from a talk given by Ajahn Brahm, a popular Buddhist teacher, author and abbot of Serpentine monastery, Perth.

The visuals are taken from ‘Lotus’, a film I had made previously.  A few years later I was listening to one of Ajahn Brahm’s mp3 talks (available from Buddhist Society of Western Australia www.bswa.org), in which he used the classic Tibetan symbol of spiritual awakening – the lotus, to explain the Buddhist practice of meditation.  I felt inspired to rework my Lotus film, and edit together the talk with some of my music, with a view to create a meditation ‘promo’ video.  There are many forms of meditation pushed around these days, and most of it is new age, pseudo-buddhist tosh.

The form Buddhism I follow is Theravadin, which is the oldest, and maintains the Buddha’s original teachings as authentically as possible.  In these teachings the Buddha teaches Anapanasati (mindfulness of breathing) – this is the same meditation method he used to gain enlightenment, and is same method used by millions of Buddhists today.

Finding a good teacher is important when it comes to the real practice of Buddhist meditation, and if you’re interested, I strongly recommend you visit the bswa website and listen to some of Ajahn Brahm’s talks freely available as mp3 downloads.

When I had finished making this film, I sent it to AJahn Brahm in Perth, and he has since used it to show his monks, and at public talks and events.  This was so inspiring for me, seeing that digital art and music can in someway, I hope, inspire and promote meditation.  This is definitely one of the highlights of my creative career!

Here’s a shot glossary on some technical terms mentioned in the film. ( from wikipedia)
Jhāna – is a meditative state of profound stillness and concentration in which the mind becomes fully immersed and absorbed in the chosen object of attention. This was the state where the Buddha himself had entered during the period of his own quest for enlightenment.

Nimitta – At the state of access concentration, some meditators may experience vivid mental image (Pāli: nimitta), which is similar to a vivid dream (as vividly as if seen by the eye), but in this case the meditator is fully aware and conscious that they are seeing mental images.

Emptiness – is a characteristic of phenomena arising from the fact (as observed and taught by the Buddha) that the impermanent nature of form means that nothing possesses essential, enduring identity. In the Buddha’s spiritual teaching, insight into the emptiness of phenomena is an aspect of the cultivation of insight that leads to wisdom and inner peace.