Here is our list of great tools that can help you express your creativity.
As virtual reality technology advances, it is opening up new frontiers for artists and designers to create digital artwork in a whole new way. To help you get started, we've compiled a list of useful programs for painting and 3D modeling in VR. Whether you're a seasoned professional or just starting out, these tools will allow you to unleash your creativity like never before.
The first on our list is Tilt Brush – probably the most popular painting app for VR even after Google decided to discontinue its support. "Your room is your canvas. Your palette is your imagination. The possibilities are endless." And it is true – there are countless awesome projects out there to prove it.
The tool's dynamic brushes allow you to choose from many different textures in a palette: from ink and smoke to snow and fire. It is suitable for both beginners and experienced artists. But be careful: as Google stopped working on it, you can't share your works, so it's basically there for your own solitary enjoyment.
Tilt Brush is now open source, so you can check out its code and maybe create something new yourself. And if you don't want to, there are several apps that were made from the code.
One such successor is Open Brush – a community-created app that lets you paint in 3D space. The developers call it "Tilt Brush evolved" and offer the same features with the addition of several new tools:
- Fly Tool
- Plane Guide
- Oculus MRC fixes
- LIV Support
- Icosa uploads
- LATK export
- Guide settings
- Hiding Brushes with Brush Tags
- Selection/Erase Filter
- View Axis Unlocking
- Lazy Input
- Bimanual Input
- The Revolver
- Grid and Angle Snapping
- Merging Sketches
- Scripting API
Open Brush is and will always be free as the creators strive to help everyone create their own art. If you'd like to see other artists' work or share yours, check out Icosa Gallery, which is now in beta.
Next is a relatively new program that doe exactly what you expect from it. Painting VR is a 10,000-square-foot virtual painter's studio with an unlimited supply of paint, tools, and canvases of all sizes. The developer Oisoi describes it as a relaxing experience you can customize to fit your needs and creative wishes.
To help you, there is a web browser built into the app, which will put on music for you, show a tutorial on YouTube, or do whatever a browser can. To feel at home, you can also change your virtual studio and fill it with inspiration.
The tool is available for Microsoft Windows and Meta Quest 2.
Here is a great platform from Media Molecule, developers behind LittleBigPlanet. Dreams can help you not just paint a picture but create your own playable worlds. It provides the tools and teaching guides necessary to make something spectacular, like this Jurassic Park scene.
Dreams is not a VR-exclusive app, meaning you or your friends can still make games without a headset. However, it is available for PlayStation 4 or 5 only, so take it into consideration before buying.
Substance 3D Modeler
A great tool from Adobe in its Substance 3D suite, Modeler, like Dreams, can work both in VR and on the desktop and allows you to switch between the two at any time. It lets you easily create 3D assets using natural gestures and an intuitive interface.
Modeler can be used for creating concept art, sketching and prototyping, blocking out game levels, crafting detailed characters or props, or sculpting an entire scene. It offers symmetry and repetition tools as well as clay-inspired sculpting instruments.
The software is available on the Meta Quest 2 and Quest Pro.
Let's move on to another great app that can not only help you exercise your creativity by making 3D objects but also let you set up animation. Quill by Smoothstep is a VR illustration and animation tool empowering creators to tell immersive stories.
It is designed to let you share your distinct style with others and then use art as a production tool. It is "ideal for pre-visualization, concept design, storyboarding, set design and much more". Quill can handle large drawings and animations and offers spatial audio support, flexible erasers, colorizers, and high-quality images.
Speaking of animation, AnimVR here is ready to share its tools with you and "revolutionize your 3D content production with a powerful timeline, virtual cameras, audio recording, fading, and editing". It offers industry-standard import and export capabilities, like Alembic Cache and Pixar's USD.
Create environment layouts, 3D storyboards, animatics and experiences with this semi-traditional take on animation. It gives you a chance to feel like a real filmmaker, with its cinematography tools, a digital steady-cam system, and many other cool features.
Here is one more tool to make you feel like Bob Ross. Vermillion offers a fully equipped oil painting studio in your home, without any of the mess. The built-in web browser will help you find whatever you need to stay focused, and the multiplayer option will not let you feel lonely in your artistic endeavors. You can invite up to four friends and share palettes, work together on each other's canvas, teach a class, or have an old-fashioned paint night.
The app features realistic wet-on-wet color mixing, undo, layers, and a wide range of brushes. You can then share your painting with others or create a 3D model export. And if you feel like going live, it provides a controllable spectator camera with great views of the process and full LIV support.
Next is a promising free app that is still in its alpha stages. Brushwork offers a relaxing painting experience right in your browser. Mix colors and use a variety of brushes on a realistic canvas or add some reference photos if you want your masterpiece to be as close to the original as possible.
When you're done, share your art with friends so they can see it in AR on their phones. It's a nice and simple program that has a lot of potential.
Finally, here is another awesome design and collaboration platform offering its powers to remote teams. Its intuitive interface will let you create your VR piece in no time, even without prior experience.
You can design and prototype your app, invite others to co-create in real time, or present your ideas using the storyboard feature. It supports avatars with eye and mouth tracking, full-color passthrough, and Stylus controllers. There are several plans for studios, but you can also use ShapesXR for free as a solo artist. Check it out!
Here is our list of great VR apps for painting and modeling. We hope it has given you an idea of the many amazing tools available to artists and designers. But we'd also love to hear your thoughts – have you tried any of the programs on our list? Which ones are your favorites? Are there other tools you use? Let us know in the comments below and don't forget to join our 80 Level Talent platform and our Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more.