Google launches Tilt Brush app for virtual reality sketching
Google's virtual reality painting app, Tilt Brush, could allow architects and designers to walk through their sketches in 3D as they draw them (+ movie).
Available on the HTC Vive headset device, Tilt Brush allows users to create 3D imagery using a simple controller that mimics the gestures of painting.
Various brushes and colours are selected from a virtual "palette", and users can walk through and around their creations as they work.
While the technology's full range of applications will emerge in time, early reports have focused on the app's accessibility and appeal outside the gamer market, which has traditionally dominated virtual reality development.
"Tilt Brush, at its core, is a virtual reality painting application. It creates something anyone can use, intuitively, for kids, artists, and absolutely anyone," the app's co-developer Drew Skillman told Fast Company.
"Within the first 30 or 45 seconds, anyone can start VR painting and making marks in space all around them... It allows everyone to see how powerful VR is and how transformative it will be."
Google has demonstrated some of the app's more ambitious applications through its Lab at the Google Cultural Institute in Paris, where artists were invited to participate in a residency.
"What really struck me was the ability that this has to be a platform for installation in museum and gallery spaces," artist Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada said in a video showcasing the sculptural 3D works.
Video showing the Google Tilt Brush being used by an artist
Tilt Brush and its successors are likely to make an equal impact on the working lives of designers.
In an interview with Dezeen last year, designer and visualiser Olivier Demangel argued that every architect will soon be designing using 3D goggles and sending clients virtual models.
"Interactivity means you can experiment with a lot of different options — design, materials, lighting, weather — very quickly," he said.
"When VR tech matures, it's going be more powerful than cocaine."
Audi is one company already using the VR space to test its products. Their employees can use gesture controls to manipulate vehicle designs while immersed in the "Cave Automatic Virtual Environment".
Although it is not the first VR drawing app, Tilt Brush is expected to make an impression through its market penetration.
The app, which was acquired by Google when it bought out its developers Skillman & Hacket in 2015, is currently only available on HTC Vive but is expected to expand to other platforms in the future.
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