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Preview: Oculus Medium

Tiltbrush for the Oculus Rift’ is undoubtedly what many thought during Oculus VR’s keynote speech at Oculus Connect, Hollywood, this morning when new Oculus Rift exclusive application, Oculus Medium, was revealed. On the surface it might seem that way, but in actuality it’s a very different story. Tiltbrush is a wonderfully energetic drawing application, Oculus Medium is a serious tool for 3D sculpting.

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The demonstration version available at Oculus Connect 2 is a multi-user experience, similar to Toybox, However, the second user here does very little other than guide the first user through, instructing them without actually being able to contribute. VRFocus was informed that the ultimate goal is to allow a number of users to create within the same instance of the application simultaneously, but as it stands the control has to be granted to one user at a time.

The user interface in Oculus Medium is very similar to that of Tiltbrush in that the user in control has their palette options – tools, colours etc. – on the left hand and is able to draw with the right. At the beginning of the demo VRFocus was asked which hand is preferred, so presumably these hands could be swapped if needed. The analogue sticks mounted on the Oculus Touch controllers can be used to adjust tip size and other confirming assets and typical functions such as undo, redo and copy are available with ease.

So functionality is all good and present, but what about the experience of actually ‘sculpting’? It’s a 3D object. In only an instance you have an object in front of you. You can shrink or expand this object, you can twist and turn it in any direction, move it to anywhere else in the space. It’s not a drawing, nor a painting, it’s an object.

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Furthermore, it’s simple to make something that you can feel is solid. Whether you’re starting from the base templates provided – cube, human head or a vase – or sculpting from scratch, the objects you create fill a volume in the space. You measurement of eye and hand is perfect. There’s no issues with clipping or pop-up: your creation sits in the space perfectly from where you placed it.

This solidity and perfect measurement allows Oculus Medium creations to support a number of different opportunities. VRFocus has already heard about members of the development team 3D printing their creations or exporting them to other art applications – both of which will be functions available in the final release version – and the opportunity to share creations opens up Oculus Medium to much more than the ‘Paint of VR’ that many may have already dismissed it as.