Creativity Unleashed: VR’s emerging Factor
Having been reporting on the virtual reality space now for just under two years, I feel I’ve witnessed many of its trials and tribulations. Myself, and many others writing and speaking in this area, often comment on things that we think virtual reality will add to our interactions with media. We talk about its ability to heighten emotions, such as empathy. A concept that was driven home back in early 2015, when Chris Milk released an eye-opening, short documentary film, that placed you in the same space as a young, Syrian, Refugee.
The concept captivated its audience by removing the glass screen and outer frame of television sets; that had previously distanced us from the story within. The idea of placing us on the ground in this location brought a whole new meaning to walking in someone else’s shoes. As we watched and listened to this young girls story, for what little consolation it offered, we found ourselves compelled to reach out and extend to her our comfort.
Experiences like this have all served to reinforce, arguably one of the biggest buzzwords’s in VR, immersion. Immersion is often a word we hear perpetuated and is regularly used as a metric to gauge the quality of an experience. We talk about the immersion factor, and how much that we feel we “are really there.”
‘Fruit Pollinator’ by Mike Krahulik
I read a comment in a Reddit thread a few weeks ago. However I was unable to find the thread again to cite in this article, but it told a story of an experience in, space simulator, Elite: Dangerous.
The Reddit user explained how they had landed at a star to complete a goods trade, but at the moment of landing in the system, a solar eclipse happened to be taking place. The thing that struck me was that the story was described as a memory of an actual event, and closed with the statement “I was there.”
The ability to place us in an environment is now pretty much a prerequisite of a good virtual reality experience. But what other factors are emerging, and what can we do when we are there?
One of the key things that has come to my attention has been brought on by the developing culture surrounding Google’s, Tilt Brush. For those that aren’t aware, Tilt Brush is a Virtual Reality application that provides you with various creative tools that mirror real world instruments – that creatives have come to know and love. Namely, paintbrushes, spray cans, pencils, etc.
The most interesting thing about Tilt Brush, in my mind, is that it allows you to create three-dimensional, digital, artwork, using dexterous movements that are intrinsically human.
There’s something about being unleashed inside a computer in this way that opens up an entire world of new possibilities. An untethered relationship with the 0’s and 1’s that work together to display what you see before you, a relationship, that, put simply, has not been possible until now.
‘Space Dragon’ by Sarah Northway
This is an idea that a lot of games designers, artists, graphic designers, etc., can get on board with. Our previous experiences have been a limited input that we have taught ourselves to use. A brush stroke with a mouse on a mouse mat seems inferior when compared to the natural feeling of placing a loaded brush to a well-lit canvas, or a sharpened pencil to a fresh page in your sketch pad.
But now, with the aid of virtual reality, we can transcend these limitations, and dive into the world where everything is changeable, everything is open to interpretation, and everything is ours to share.
The uninhibited ability to create is an idea that is also reflected elsewhere. A notable example came from GDC earlier in the year when Unity’s, Timoni West, took to the San Francisco convention center stage to demonstrate the companies new game creation tools in VR. A set of instruments that can be used by game designers to build environments while in the headset.
Timoni West, Principal Designer at Unity Labs, demonstrates Unity’s new tools
Additionally, Sketch Fab, a website that allows users to upload full 3-D models, branded by UploadVR as the “Youtube of VR,” have added support for .obj files – the file type exported from Tilt Brush. This means that users are now able to upload their creations to the site, where they can be found by other users.
For me, beyond the immersive, mind-blowing gaming experiences, the creative aspect of virtual reality is what really drives home the fact that this is the future of digital interactions. These are the things, that, when I try them, give me the feeling that, “this is really the future.”
With that said, in the interest of discovering what’s being created by VR’s early adopter community, we thought we’d put together a list of some of our favorite artwork currently hosted on the site.
Tilt Brush Creations On SketchFab
(clicking the play button on the embedded media below will allow you to interactively view the full 3D model)
What are your thoughts on Virtual Reality as a creative tool? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.