Wednesday, December 7th, 2016 Posted by Jim Thacker

Oculus ships its Quill and Medium VR art tools

Originally posted on 18 November 2016. Scroll down for updates and news of the public release.

Oculus is to release Quill, its upcoming VR painting tool, as a free public beta to coincide with the launch of its Touch motion controllers on 6 December 2016.

Quill: created to generate painterly images in VR space
Quill – think of a more 2D-painterly version of Google’s Tilt Brush – was created for use on Oculus Story Studio’s VR animation Dear Angelica.

According to Oculus, “Quill is designed to be expressive, precise and to let the artist’s ‘hand’ come through clearly – whether that’s a watercolour style, pencil style, oil painting style or other.”

See the painting and stroke-editing tools in action
Since we originally posted this story, Oculus has released a series of tutorial videos on its YouTube channel, showing Quill’s interface and workflow in more detail.

To judge from the demos, the app provides a highly condensed version of the tools from standard 2D painting software, translated into 3D virtual reality space.

There are flat, spherical and cube brushes, which generate ribbon-like, tubular and polygonal strokes in 3D space, and basic pressure support via the trigger of the controller.

Brushes also have colour, opacity and thickness, and there are options to ‘nudge’ existing strokes to modify their forms, or to erase parts of them entirely. You can see Quill’s brushes in action here.

The app also includes a layers system for organising elements of a VR drawing, along with basic operations for manipulating them, like moving and scaling.

Medium: sculpt and paint 3D forms in virtual reality
Oculus is also working on Medium, its VR sculpting and 3D painting tool, which is also expected to ship once the Touch controllers are released.

The app provides a basic set of tools for creating 3D forms, along with 300 readymade shapes, or ‘stamps’.

Objects can be arranged on layers, and there is a basic set of operations for manipulating geometry, including Duplicate, Merge and Flip.

The painting toolset is similarly condensed, with sliders for brush size, opacity and hardness. Users can also light their creations by placing lights in 3D space.

Finished sculpts can be shared in Oculus’s online community, or downloaded in OBJ format.

Pricing and availability
Both Medium and the beta version of Quill are now available via the Oculus Store.

You’ll need an Oculus Rift headset and Oculus Touch controllers to use them, along with a workstation with the same kind of specs you’d need for standard 3D software. Oculus recommends at least an Intel Core i5-4590 CPU, Nvidia GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 GPU, and 8GB RAM.

Both apps are currently free with the Touch controllers, which have an MSRP of $199, although there is a launch discount of over 50%.

The Oculus Store also lists prices of £22.99 (around $29) for each app, so presumably the bundle deal will only be available while the Touch controllers are still new.

Read more about Quill on the Oculus Store

Read more about Medium on the Oculus Store