Painting in 3D using virtual reality

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Google always chases the technology. Its latest projects include Tilt Brush. This technology, which uses virtual reality and the VR HTC Vive or Oculus Rift headsets, turns the space around you into a canvas, offering infinite creative possibilities, 360 degrees. It is a way of experiencing the art of drawing in an unprecedented way, making it possible even to interact and move between the created pieces. As Google says, with Tilt Brush “Your room is your canvas. Your palette is your imagination. The possibilities are endless”.

Tilt Brush. Google

Google has given itself a mission: “To bring amazing experiences to the world“. And that’s precisely what is has been doing for some time with concepts like Daydream, the virtual reality platform created for smartphones; Google Earth VR, the application that goes a step further than Google Street View to enable you to explore the world from an unprecedented perspective –enjoy a trip flying over the Grand Canyon in Colorado, the Sixtine Chapel, the Great Wall of China or any other wonder of the world–; Google Cloud Vision, mentioned in one of our articles; or Cardboard, a simple virtual-reality headset that enables you to journey to unknown places, fly around outdoors and play and enjoy yourself in a sweeping way like you have never done before; the experiences available on Google Play here are endless.

Google’s idea is to make virtual reality accessible to everyone, in the creative sphere as well. The company Mountain View verified as much with Tilt Brush. This technology offers an incredible experience for artists and creators around the world, regardless of the field they work in (painting, sculpture, fashion, dance, calligraphy, lettering…) And the truth is, Tilt Brush is now one of the most complete programs for painting and drawing in 3D in which the space you have around you is the only limit.

Space is your canvas, your only limit is your imagination

Tilt Brush is a revolutionary application. And we say revolutionary because it breaks down the physical barriers and makes it possible to draw or create whatever you want in the space around you. In other words, to draw using virtual reality. The traditional canvas disappears, creating a new way of encoding, thinking and drawing. “It’s not about experimenting with a tool, but experimenting with different ways of thinking and creating,” says the illustrator Yoriko Ito, “you lose your sense of time and space and stop caring about everything else”. As soon as you enter the virtual space, everything changes and anything imaginable is possible. You can see the piece you create from any angle, you can even walk through it. For instance, in Yoriko Ito’s piece, it is possible to create an infinite marine background, dive, explore its nooks and crannies and let oneself be taken by the sea’s current.

But how does it work?

Tilt Brush. Google

To be able to enjoy the Tilt Brush experience, a virtual-reality headset is needed. Initially, the program was only available for the HTC Vive, which was a handicap because of its high cost (around € 900). However, after battling with the challenges posed by the hardware, it is now available for the Oculus Rift, a cheaper device. Once connected with the VR headset, using the device’s controls you can select the same options you would find in any illustration software (paintbrush, spray, watercolour, pencil…) The program allows you to do, undo, use effects and select styles and textures, and of course, it has a large palette of colours. For professionals and creators, one of the most interesting aspects is the option to change the wallpaper to a more attractive theme, in keeping with the work that’s being done or to serve as inspiration. Of course, when the piece is finished, snapshots can be taken from any angle and shared.

360º creativity, a surprising experience with endless possibilities

Through its Artist in Residence programme, Google has put its Tilt Brush tool to the test with 60 artists from various disciplines (cartoonists, dancers, illustrators, graphic designers, graffiti artists…) so that they can explore their style within virtual reality. The results are surprising, as those who have tried it can verify and as can be seen at Tilt Brush Air.

Tilt Brush delivers 360º immersion. “Traditionally, we’ve drawn to depict space in 3D; however, drawing through virtual reality is something completely different”, explains cartoonist Scott McCloud. “Suddenly you realise that you’re inside the work of art you’re creating, and everything else disappears”.

Tilt Brush. Google

In the art world, there are many possibilities for creating installations in museums and galleries, where the public can interact and all of them are “amazing”, as the Cuban artist Jorge Rodríguez Gerada explains. For the South African calligrapher Faith 47, Tilt Brush helps you to overcome the limitations of 2D sketches, enabling you to “sculpt” your drawing and strokes. The graffiti artist Said Dokins makes the same point: “When you enter the virtual space, you realise that everything is different”.

But all of this is just the beginning. The full potential of this tool has not yet been explored and there are so many possible channels. Can you imagine the possibilities it offers, for instance, in the field of video games? And in fashion? For example, Tilt Brush makes it possible to create a piece over a full-size mannequin, trying out different textures, colours and materials, and all in 360º. When you stop to think about it, there is no telling how far it could go.

The Google app’s slogan suggests as much: “You room is your canvas. Your palette is your imagination. The possibilities are endless”. Now is the time to discover them.

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