Oculus ships Medium 2.0
Oculus has released Medium 2.0, the new version of its VR modelling tool, adding new sculpting options and making a number of changes designed to make the software easier to use in production.
These include support for grid snapping, and higher limits on geometry layers, undo operations and lights.
Medium: sculpt and paint 3D forms in virtual reality
First released in 2016, Medium is a dedicated VR sculpting and painting package, capable of exporting models in OBJ format, or directly to Facebook via the new glTF 2.0 standard.
As you might expect, the toolset is simplified compared to that of a conventional sculpting package like ZBrush, but includes a basic set of tools for creating 3D forms, plus 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, but features sliders for brush size, opacity and hardness – and, as of Medium 1.3, support for ZBrush or Photoshop-style smoothing of manual strokes.
New in Medium 2.0: new volume-preserving Elastic mode for the Move tool
New sculpting features in Medium 2.0 include a new Elastic mode for the Move tool, which preserves the volume of a model while deforming it, as shown in the video above.
Meshes can also now be imported directly as sculptable clay: users can import multiple OBJ or FBX files as separate sculptable layers, setting the starting resolution of a sculpt on import.
In addition, the Clay tool gets a new plane constraint, intended to make it easy to sculpt flat areas; while stamps now retain the vertex colours and textures from the original model.
Hard-surface modellers get support for snapping: both angle and grid snapping are now supported.
Fewer restrictions on layers, undo operations and lights; new asset browser and scene graph
Medium 2.0 also relaxes some of the restrictions of the original release, raising the maximum number of layers supported to 100, and the maximum number of undo operations to 64.
The limit on lights has also been relaxed: it is now possible to add up to a total of eight spot and point lights to a scene, although you’re limited to one shadow map on one spot light.
Under the hood, the graphics engine has been rewritten around the newer Vulkan open standard, which should improve frame rate and reduce memory usage, though Oculus doesn’t put a figure on either.
There is also a new Asset Browser, and the scene graph has been exposed in the UI, which should make the software easier to integrate into production pipelines.
Pricing and availability
Medium 2.0 is available via the Oculus Store. You’ll need an Oculus Rift and Touch controllers to use it. It’s free with Oculus Touch; $29.99 otherwise.
The release coincides with an update to the specs for the Rift itself, which now requires Windows 10.
Oculus also recommends a workstation with at least an Intel Core i5-7400 CPU, a Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 or AMD Radeon RX 490 GPU, and 16GB RAM.