Oculus Medium, Google Tilt Brush, and how virtual reality is redefining traditional art making.
I was driving up to our family cottage on Lake Charlevoix with my brother Joe last Memorial Day weekend when I said to him, “So tell me, what exactly is it that you do?”
Joe has been a sought-after computer programmer for more than two decades (though he’s still in his 30s). He’d spent several years in the video game world before landing on an “elite team” at Facebook that had something to do with artificial intelligence and virtual reality. I knew he lugged around this thing called an Oculus Rift, but beyond that, I really had no idea what my brother did for a living. His response, “I program Medium. It’s like Adobe Photoshop for virtual reality. In five years, I think all 3D sculpture will be made with this program.”
To say I was intrigued is an understatement. I was blown away.
Of course, I thought he meant all sculptors, that is, fine artists working in clay or metal or stone. He meant digital animators, for example, the guys and girls who create video game characters. But I found that out later.
The Memorial Day trip came on the heels of my first article published in Professional Artist magazine, Step-by-Step SEO for Artists, and my editor was asking me to pitch something for their New Frontiers issue. I pitched her an article about how virtual reality was being used in fine art.
“The caliber and quality of the work that’s being made with Medium has far exceeded even what I thought the tool was capable of.” Medium founder Brian Sharp
For the article, I interviewed Joe’s boss, the founder of Medium, and several artists who are working with virtual reality, as well as one of the co-founders of Google Tilt Brush, a long-time friend of Joe’s. I can say that before I started researching the article, my preconceptions of virtual reality were similar to many “old school” or “pre-digital” thinkers—it’s for kids playing video games. It is, but it’s also so much more.
Professional Artist is a really interesting magazine and I highly recommend you download the entire October/November 2017 issue. Or, click the link below to read a PDF my article.