New Tools for Digital Art

Arts & Culture

July 12, 2017 | BY Sharmaine Uy

Wondering where digital art is headed in the future? These two tools are just beginning to scratch the surface

The past few years have brought the most innovative technologies that are set to change the course of different industries. In the field of digital art and design, the focus has shifted to creating immersive experiences that appeal to the audience’s wildest imagination. Much has also been said about the role of virtual and augmented realities in the creation and processing of content. In this article, allow us to take you through two of the most important and inventive tools in creating and experiencing digital art.

Google Tilt Brush

So far, virtual reality has arguably made its biggest impact in the world of gaming. Wandering around a completely fabricated world in first-person POV surely has its charms, but so far VR has just been used for storytelling purposes. Google aims to make VR into a tool to create something out of nothing with the Tilt Brush.

Until recent years, 3D art has been reliant on anamorphic means that trick the eyes into seeing something as having width, height, and depth. With the Tilt Bush, the artist can paint life-size (even room-scale) three-dimensional creations by choosing from a virtual palette (from normal brush strokes to snow and fire). The catch? The Tilt Brush has to be used with a VR headset, either the Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive, in order to be fully interactive. Getting lost in art has taken on a whole new meaning.

Google has already built a community around this movement, showcasing diverse works from different kinds of artists. A quick browse through its catalogue of contributions gives us a glimpse of the exciting future of digital art creation.

Microsoft HoloLens

While Google Tilt Brush is designed to create something spectacular out of virtually nothing, Microsoft HoloLens headset makes it possible to blend together reality and make-believe. We’ve all had that vision of the future, where holograms have rendered screens useless and people can interact directly with information. The HoloLens takes us one step closer to this kind of world.

At first glance, the HoloLens headset may look intimidating and bulky, but when worn the weight is distributed equally around the crown of the head. The headband employs an adjustable wheel, which ensures a snug fit.

As a “fully self-contained holographic computer,” the HoloLens does not need to connect to any other external hardware to function (unlike its VR counterparts). Through an optical system that works in-sync with advanced sensors that capture the wearer’s activity and everything in the surrounding environment, the HoloLens’ processing unit is able to take care of massive amount of data in no time, making interactions as free flowing as in real life. The same principle also extends to the sound system, which does not rely on headphones but is immersive and fully aware of the spatial orientation of the wearer.

Since the HoloLens is a computer after all, apps are used to achieve certain tasks. Currently, Microsoft’s suite ranges from ultra-interactive first-person perspective games, 3D building studios, a virtual tour programme, to a communication staple—Skype. External parties have also tried their hand on the developing software for HoloLens, and many more are sure to come in the next few years.

Cover photo: courtesy of Google VR YouTube page