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Tilt Brush is arguably one of the most popular tools for HTC Vive. It’s a great artistic application, which allows to create life-size three-dimensional brush strokes, stars, light, and even fire. It’s a new way to experience painting, so no wonder it became incredibly popular among the general public and 3d artists. We’re trying to figure out if Tilt Brush is going to change traditional approach to 3d art production.
This project is owned by Google, but it was actually created a little bit before that.
Patrick and I developed Tilt Brush as the last in a series of rapid prototypes built in the summer of 2014. Previously we were both at the game studio “Double Fine Productions” where we worked on a number of traditional titles. Towards the end of that tenure our focused shifted to novel input hardware like the Kinect, the Playstation Eye and Leap Motion hand tracking. This was also around the time the Oculus DK1 Kickstarter launched, and we quickly found ourselves immersed in a cornucopia of VR, AR, and motion control hardware.
As the potential (and we felt inevitability) for VR became more apparent, we were compelled to strike out on our own as the independent company Skillman & Hackett and begin building things as fast as we could. You can check out some of those early prototypes in this video. Our focus soon shifted to the development of “VR Sketch” (as it was called at the time) which led us to Tilt Brush and eventually to Google and the stellar team we work with today.
Tilt Brush became a totally new experience for game artists. It gave unprecedented freedom and provided users with unparallel freedom. Here’s what Halo’s art director though about the VR-painting in 3D.
I have started sketching in VR with the Tilt Brush app on the HTC VIVE. It’s been a hell of a week discovering the possibilities of VR painting. You basically are standing within your own painting, adding brush strokes and architecture within a defined space you can evolve in. Simply put, this is revolutionary. Tilt Brush is powerful and extremely intuitive, but it still needs more professional options when it comes to primitives shapes, brushes, and painting features. It’s already an insane first step. The sure fact is, it’s the future.
The creators of Tilt Brush believe that VR will be fundamental to how humans and computers interact over the coming years and decades. It will become ‘especially powerful for creativity and art’. The software throws away all traditional tools and lets you stay in the room with art, observing it from different angles, and modifying it intuitively. ‘Traditional 2D software will always have a place on a 2D screen, but we fully expect 3D software to move into VR quickly and not look back‘, – said Drew Skillman.
3D character artist at Creative Assembly Elizabeth Edwards has recently been experimenting a lot with Tilt Brush and character creation. She’s literally in love with this software, seeing a lot of potential this could be used to improve traditional 3d-workflow.
Tilt Brush is kind of magic. It’s nothing like traditional 3D programs and not quite like drawing in Photoshop. I spent a lot of time focusing on learning how to draw, how to paint and working from life before dabbling in concept art, comic art and 3D art before eventually sticking with 3D. Tilt Brush lets me draw from all of these skills. For example, I can draw characters and environments in the same style I would a comic directly into the 3D space I’m walking around in. That’s indescribably cool.
It’s all incredibly intuitive too. The beauty of VR with motion controllers is that you use your hands to do everything much like you would in the real world. You can rotate, scale and translate your model by grabbing it with your two hands, or you could just walk around the whole thing. Depth perception is as in real life – my hands are exactly where I expect and so are the lines I’m drawing. The act of creating something is as effortless as can be, especially compared to traditional software.
A recent update added the much wanted ability to scale your model. It’s now possible to sketch something small in the air in front of you and scale it up to life size or more. I experimented with this when I created the Explorer sketch – very cool drawing a castle wall and being able to stand on it and look down at my character below! – and really only scratched the surface. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with this. The potential is huge.
Elizabeth believes that the current version of Tilt Brush is unfit for traditional asset creation, however, it may work well for concepting. For example, you could design a character in Tilt Brush and take the drawing into ZBrush to use as a reference. A similar approach could be applied to environment design.
The creators themselves are happy with the way Tilt Brush is used by professional artists and are trying to make the software more useful for them.
‘We love seeing how Tilt Brush has been useful in professional applications and are actively listening to that feedback and planning new features to help facilitate it. We recently added Tilt Brush export support for .obj and .fbx, and are launching powerful updates to that functionality soon. We’re also looking into model import so that people can use Tilt Brush to draw over existing models, mark things up, and find other new ways of being creative in VR‘, – said Skillman.
There’s little chance that Tilt Brush could become a professional tool, but it’s definitely a sigh of things to come. We’re pretty sure that Pixologic, Autodesk or some smaller company will come up with a more precise VR-production tool, which will take 3d-creation on a whole new level.