Many months before Oculus’ Medium and Quill apps captured the imagination of traditional artists, Google’s Tilt Brush was leading the way for HTC Vive users to bring illustration to life in virtual reality.
The Rift version of Google’s VR app is not only completely compatible with the Oculus Touch controllers, but using Oculus Touch with Tilt Brush feels just as intuitive as when I’ve used the app on the HTC Vive. Part of that native feel is due to the fact that the Oculus version of Tilt Brush lets you use the capacitive touch features on the Oculus Touch controllers to highlight and reveal the function of any button you’re touching.
If you’re familiar with the Vive version of Tilt Brush, you’re probably wondering if the introduction of Oculus Touch controllers significantly changes how you use the app. Thankfully, the answer is no. However, a couple of controls are different, for example, you use the Oculus Touch joy stick and trigger to cycle through the art palette instead of swiping.
Aside from those minor controller tweaks, the app looks and performs as smoothly as it does using the Vive. Several brushes have distinctive sound effects attached to them and you can easily change the environments you’re painting in. When trying to describe Tilt Brush, I often tell Oculus users that it’s like a combination of the sculpting dynamic in Medium with the painterly freedom in Quill.
And while that description is mostly accurate, the biggest difference with Tilt Brush is the look of its brushes and illuminations, which are very distinctive .You can almost always tell a piece of Tilt Brush work just by looking at it (which can be good or bad, depending on your intent). The other attractive thing about Tilt Brush is that it lends itself more to live art performances. The aforementioned Oculus apps have the same high resolution graphics and flawless, low latency tracking as Tilt Brush, but there’s something about Tilt Brush that just flows in such a way that encourages users to create colorful flourishes and performative strokes.
So will the arrival of Tilt Brush on the Rift (selling for $29.99, the same price it sells for on Steam) steal away VR artists already using existing VR art tools on the Oculus platform? That’s doubtful.
The excitement around the detailed 3D work being done in Medium, as well as the interest around Quill, bolstered by the film Dear Angelica (which was created using the app), means that Oculus users probably already have all the VR art tools they need.
Nevertheless, watching some of the amazing imagery coming from some Tilt Brush users must have been frustrating for Rift users all these months. Now Oculus users can at least try their virtual hands at duplicating, and maybe even surpassing the psychedelic Tilt Brush VR art we’ve already seen created using the Vive system.