Google just released a Tilt Brush VR update, making its immersive painting program easier to use for beginners and creatives. We’ve been longtime fans, seeing it as one of the best VR experiences available.
We never had an issue using it from the beginning. But for people just jumping into VR, the palette and menus can be a little intimidating. With so many people trying VR for the first time, a beginner mode makes a lot of sense.
For those with the skills, Tilt Brush has been an amazing virtual creativity platform. But it always felt like you were trying to sculpt in 3D with a (virtual) paint brush. As Google notes, there are 12 new brushes to help you create different textures and objects.
The new features solve both problems – an easy entry point and creating objects with volume.
Few programs that so readily convey the immersive power of virtual reality. You paint in 3D space with three-dimensional brush strokes and a host of other effects including, stars, light, smoke, and fire. And doing it in virtual reality with a 6DOF HMD like the HTC Vive, you can walk around your masterpiece, step inside it, or push it off into the distance. It’s one of the purest experiences of immersive space around.
That still doesn’t mean it’s “VR’s killer app” as Polygon breathlessly announced back in 2016. That might have been good click bait, but VR doesn’t need a killer app – just great experiences.
According to The Verge the latest Tilt Brush VR update has,
. . . added 12 new brushes with different textures, volumes, and more sound effects. It has also added a beginner and advanced mode. Users who first open the app will see the main features, and they can press the advanced mode button to access more features. There is no intermediate mode.
Tilt Brush has picked up a Pin Tool that essentially works like Photoshop’s locked layers, where you can choose to lock objects while you edit the area around them. There’s also a new select-all feature, and a deselect feature so users will have an easier time editing a sketch. Similarly, you can now undo many brush actions or redo them by holding onto the controller button.
In addition, a Pin Tool solves the problem of accidentally editing already completed areas (one of the few frustrating aspects of the program). And that Mirror Tool that was easy to lose in a complicated scene? A click now brings it back to your side.
Google has been posting a selection of work from their Artist in Residence program. But expect the new Tilt Brush VR update to push the platform toward more volumetric works – not just drawing in VR, but creating worlds in virtual reality.
That’s exactly where we’re headed to in the future. And programs like Tilt Brush are bringing us another step closer.
Emory Craig is a writer, speaker, and VR consultant with extensive experience in art, new media, and higher education. He speaks at global conferences on innovation, education, and ethical technology in the future. He has published widely and worked with the US Agency for International Development, the United Nations, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Living at the intersection of learning, games, and immersive storytelling, he is fascinated by AI-based avatars, digital twins, and the ethical implications of blurring the boundaries between the real and the virtual.