Tilt Brush–a VR painting app which Co.Design previously described as Microsoft Paint for the Year 2020–is a literally godlike tool that allows artists and designers to create awesome three-dimensional sculptures in mid-air. But how do actual artists and designers use it?
The latest Google Chrome Experiment is a project called Virtual Art. This enhanced, interactive website allows you to step right into the VR studio and watch six world-renowned artists at work, using Tilt Brush in conjunction with what appear to be HTC Vive headsets to create incredible 3-D designs. When the site fully loads, you can “replay” the creative process of some pretty impressive talents working in virtual reality on the Tilt Brush for the first time–including fashion artist Katie Rodgers, conceptual designer Harald Belker, illustrator Christoph Niemann, and sculptor Andrea Blasich, as they create sleek virtual models of everything from a race car to a cybernetic bull.
But Virtual Art doesn’t just “replay” the virtual brushstrokes of the recorded artists. It also documents their physical movements, as captured by a Kinect-like depth-sensing camera. As each artist works, they’re represented in front of their Tilt Brush sketch as a vivid ghost of bright, pointillist dots. As these virtual ghost designers work, you can zoom in, and rotate around them to get a better look at what they’re doing.
Although virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive are becoming more common, experiencing Tilt Brush first hand stills comes with a minimum $1,500 price tag. So what’s really cool about Virtual Art is the way it brings what is still an exclusive experience into your browser. By simulating both the designer and the design process in the same virtual space, Google has made VR more tangible for us “norms” who still haven’t been able to experience the medium’s power for ourselves.