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Sculpting In Virtual Reality

August 17, 2018

Sculpting In Virtual Reality

A few years ago, I received an invitation to be part of the beta testing team for Oculus Medium. For those who are not familiar, Medium is a virtual-reality (VR) sculpting application that utilizes the Oculus Rift headset. I saw this as a great opportunity to venture into VR land and dove right into it. Little did I know I would spend countless hours lost in 3d space constructing my visions in VR.

 

Wanderer: My first VR sculpture done in Oculus Medium.

 

Now before I ramble on, this post is going to be a short primer on what VR sculpting is about. I do not intend to cover every single detail but I do enjoy penning my thoughts down every now and then. While I normally do it in the form of jotting in my trusty lil’ notebook, I’ve decided to post on my website in hopes that it would be a resource for anyone wanting to know more. Sounds good? Let’s carry on.

 

 
 A Skull WIP done in VR.

 

After I had finished setting the Rift on my PC, I immediately installed Medium and started playing around with it. The very first thing that came to mind was the sense of space within the VR environment. Being able to grab my model and move it around was quite an experience. Due to years of working in front of a computer, my brain was not trained to move my head while sculpting on my PC

Now, when I did this in VR, it was then did I realize the power of VR. Suddenly, scale meant so much more to me. Being able to sculpt on a large scale and literally walk around your sculpture is liberating to say the least. Likewise, you could work on a small scale and get a read on your sculpture at that level. That flexibility was just amazing. The sense of scale is truly the defining reason to sculpt in VR in my honest opinion.

 

It was only a matter of time before I sculpted a xenomorph in VR. 

You would say “ Why don’t you just sculpt with clay? You get the same sense of scale.” That is partly true.  I have tried traditional sculpting and have the utmost respect for traditional sculptors, but it just isn’t for me. I started 3d modeling in 1997  (3dsmax R2 anyone?) and the majority of my experience with sculpting or modeling has been based in the digital realm. So you can understand my awe of VR sculpting, having been bound to a monitor screen making 3d art all these years. I am excited what the future holds for this technology, it is such an exciting time to be alive.

 

Being able to see things from different POVs is what makes VR unique. 

The first version of Medium was great but it needed a few more tools that digital sculptors are used to. That said, it did not take long for the Medium team to react to the feedback of passionate beta testers. Patch after patch, fixes and features started making their way in. I can’t iterate how amazing this was for a developer to truly listen to their customer base and react so swiftly.  When Medium 2.0 was released, it was as if they checked off key major feature requests from the community. Needless to say, 2.0 was a huge upgrade from the previous version.

 

Geeking out about VR with the folks at Tested. 

 

I think the next challenge for Medium is defining which audience to appeal to. I hear that there are folks using it in production so that is a good sign. All I know is they have this artist hooked. Sculpting never felt like playing a video game until now.

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