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TiltBrush by Google (tiltbrush.com)
665 points by mukgupta on Mar 3, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 122 comments

I studied architecture. I can't wait to get my hands on this, it feels very much like the killer app for that niche. What separates the students from the men and women who have developed their "vision" is the ability to go back and forth between how you imagine a space will feel to walk through and the lines on the paper. This shortcuts that completely.

With some snap to line and plane functions, mirroring, copy-paste etc this would be pretty usable for rapid prototypes. Imagine importing the blueprint for a cathedral, drawing a few lines in 3D space to define its verticality then blowing it up to its true scale so you're standing in the pews.

You just made me imagine how it would be to play a Sim City type of game in VR. I could create a city and then walk in it or drive through it or fly over it. So many different possibilities. I can't wait.

Remember Roller Coaster Tycoon (2 or 3?) where you could ride the coasters you designed in FPV? Can't wait to induce motion sickness without ever leaving my desk.

Oculus has a couple of roller-coaster demos already. They are amazingly immersive, even on the first dev kit.

And for me, highly nauseating (also for everyone else who has tried one using my Oculus).

Oh man, SimCopter was an enormous amount of fun for just that reason. You could even edit cities using SCURK (SimCity Urban Renewal Kit) and build your own ideal place to zoom through. Nothing's ever really captured that fun - some come a bit close, but never with the in-person feel of it.

I've been struggling to "get excited" about VR, but I think this thread (including the roller coaster/sim city comment) puts it into a bit more perspective. I think the initial tech requirements are putting me off, I don't want that headset on my desk or even on my head. I'm getting old, feeling bad about that. Ironically I am excited about AR. The MS HaloLens demos were amazing

This is exactly the reason I used to quote when asked "why VR?" back in 1989 when I headed the VR project at Autodesk.

Maybe that day is finally coming.

It still feels better to mix and apply real paint to a physical surface with an actual brush held in one's hand. More time spent lashed to an electronic apparatus feels less like relaxation these days.

I think you missed their point, they were talking about doing work as an architect designing buildings, not relaxation

or a new user confusing 'reply' with 'add comment'.

I experienced TiltBrush over the weekend with the HTC Vive / SteamVR set at a friend's house. It was an amazing experience.

By far the best VR experience I had to date (I have a DK2). The creative joy and glee you feel when painting in TiltBrush is phenomenal.

Some extremely satisfying micro experiences:

* Painting stars / sparkles above your head that sink down onto you

* Trying to draw a cube in 2D, then leaning forward and realizing that you are in a 3D world and need to draw completely differently - actually walking the cube.

Ordered the HTC Vive and I think it's the "game" that I'll have my kids (age 4 and 7) experience first. They both loved some of the demos and games available on the DK1 and DK2, but I think the creative freedom this seems to encourage will be even better.

Small note here: I have not seen any anecdotal or objective data on it, but I have a feeling this headset may be overly large or slightly too heavy for a 4 year old's face/head, and the controllers may be too big as well... I do hope I'm wrong, though! TiltBrush looks like a child's dream! :)

Also an adult's dream!

I wish my friend had taken a video of me as I was frolicking whilst throwing sparkles as high above my head as I could.

Or perhaps as I free-form drew a (wobbly) cube in 3D (should have used the straight line tool!), then stuffed it with flames. Then I taped up the sides of my first cube skeleton to hide the flames. Obviously this makes no sense at all but the experience was incredibly creative.I don't think anything parallels this right now.

I got a chance to try tiltbrush recently. I drew a little cottage around myself, complete with a table and couch. While I was painting the ceiling, I subconsciously stepped around my couch to avoid tripping on it. That's when VR clicked for me :)

My first time with VR I had a similar experience playing a driving sim on a friend's DK2. When I had finished playing I stood up out of the chair, ducking to miss the door frame

We've got a Vive Pre so I've had the pleasure of being able to use this a bit. It's as fun and amazing as it looks in the promo video there. I'm not an artist so I can hardly put the features to any real use, but I'm always amazed to see what people are capable of creating.

I think this is truly a new form of artistic expression - and I think it has the potential to become very popular in the future. I'm imagining having holograms on display of works done by famous modern artists... being able to walk around them and see them from different perspectives - I'd love that.

> being able to walk around them and see them from different perspectives

Reminds me of something I believe I saw in an art documentary. It was said that sculptures, like Michelangelo's David, were meant to be seen at night by candlelight. Being able to do so allows for a change of perspective while walking around it, in addition to the flickering of the flame making it 'come alive'.

Reminds me of Gladia's "Field colorings" in Isaac Asimov's book Naked Sun

Goes back to an Asimov short story, Light Verse (IIRC, I read it in Spanish, I think this is the original title).

My mind is exploding with the possibilities this presents even for existing film and animation production pipelines.

Just one example: A layout artist being able to directly sketch into being the spaces and sets they envision, then being able to storyboard and block character animations by sketching with traditional animation techniques, but directly in the camera space.

Similar kinds of programs could be a revelation for modeling, rigging, and animating characters... it had never occurred to me till seeing this how awesome VR interfaces could be for that kind of artistic work.

Combine this with some kind of haptic feedback device and you will have something really cool. I just skimmed the description, so not sure if it support volumetric 3D objects, i.e. sculpting, or only painting?

Not exactly the same thing but I've actually been sitting on an idea for a mobile app that was inspired by Google: Essentially, you'd be able to look through your phone camera and draw on the world on the screen. Then other people could see your geolocated creations and maybe modify them. (I also considered autodecay for dense areas) I never did figure out the physics of how the projection would work or if the accuracy of GPS made it feasible, but I thought it'd be a good way to blend our real world and allow a sort of "virtual graffiti", a form of augmented virtual reality. As with all interesting ideas though, if you wait too long, someone comes and does it and I saw something similar on HN except with stickers also. As for how Google inspired it, their photo app lets you physically rotate your phone to pan around photospheres.

TiltBrush seems more of a pure creative endeavor meant for artists or anyone just looking to mess around a virtual world. I really much like how you can walk around the creation/space. The fact that it's three dimensional actually makes it more like sculpture than painting, though I"m sure there isn't anything other than parallax errors preventing 2D drawing. The granularity of the brushes seems to be good, so it will all come down to how well the hand controllers will work together with the headset. (hopefully not requiring surgery-like stillness just to get small details right, maybe by allowing adjustable head movement sensitivity)

String did "virtual graffiti" in 3d in 2011! https://vimeo.com/15935674

When I last explored this idea, "stickers" are necessary since most surfaces in real life are generic "textures", so there's no way to know which section of a wall you're looking at if you're too close to it.

Interesting how it's in 3D, and pretty interesting considering how early it was done. (back before all the Oculus hype) Oh and sorry what I meant by stickers were colorful cartoon drawings popular in Facebook and LINE. Although what you're saying does make sense in regards to manipulating surfaces.

I saw a beta of this at a recent Berlin meetup that sounds similar to what you're talking about: http://gibbl.xyz/

That's pretty sweet, especially the tracking. Building blocks might be slower but the results look much better and friendlier haha. Kinda like Minecraft for the real world :).

Is it similar to what hololens is trying to achieve here: [1]

[1] https://youtu.be/aThCr0PsyuA?t=1m7s

Thanks for the link! I think their approach of including the real-world is very exciting and has just as much potential as completely virtual applications.

Edit: Just realized you were asking me a question. Well nothing quite as advanced. The user would look through their camera on the phone screen and draw directly on the screen and also be able to see other people's overlays, kinda like snapchat but in 3D and realtime. If I find the implementation I saw on HN I l link it.

check out http://www.glif-it.com This sounds similair to what you described, in beta stage now.

I like how it takes the idea even further into a sort of social bulletin board. (also like snapchat for the real world) Making it text-only is also an interesting choice which makes it seem aimed towards notes.

The announcement that TiltBrush will be available on the Vive's launch is what moved me from "Hmm, maybe" to "Shut up and take my money".

I just hope there's a way to export the ensuing paintings in some kind of 3D format. Self-expression in static form is all very well, but I want to take them into Maya, fire up the mocap suits, and make movies with them!

On a related note and without Google's marketing budget, there's also a guy working on early-stages animation software for VR including the Vive:


God I would love to use this for building 3D game models, the art aesthetic would be an awesome change from either super photo realistic or flat polygonal. A sketchy/painty look like the video could really make an indie game stand out from the crowd

That was my thought exactly. Wouldn't it be cool to model Blender (or whatever tool you use) stuff in VR. I'm horrible at 3d modeling but something like TiltBrush could make it fun and engaging and motivate me enough to explore in new ways.

zBrush would be great. It makes a lot of sense to build 3D stuff in 3D rather than 2d.

If ZBrush announces a VR version I think I'll be having another "shut up and process my credit card" moment...

A little meta comment and I apologize for bikeshedding but it seems https works fine here. Can we replace the link in the title with


Thank you!

I posted this link but I don't see any option to edit the URL now.

This will be a landmark app, in that it looks to be one of the most flushed out stabs at vr painting. It defines a number of UI/UX components and philosophies all using direct manipulation (with what looks like an Adobe-flow), plus a number of original 3D-specific tools.

Congrats to the team at Google

I think it would be more accurate if they wrote "acquired by Google" instead of just "by Google". Also, why is this not under the Alphabet umbrella given that this product has nothing to do with search?

The division isn't clear, but the impression I had was more "software" vs "not software."

Probably the same group running Cardboard.

Well that's interesting. I haven't seen any Google product host its videos on anything other than YouTube in a very long time.

It's strange they chose to host it outside YouTube in this instance.

That's probably because Google Acquired Tiltbrush and the founders choose to keep it this way initially.

Did anyone else open this in chrome and get an error that the plugin wasn't supported?

This + a video of people playing 'Job Simulator' have me wanting to cancel my Oculus Rift preorder and get a Vive instead.

Platform exclusives will be the bane of VR.

When I see interesting exclusives X on Vive, Y on Oculus and Z on Playstation VR, I won't buy all three platforms. I'll just say 'screw you all, I'll pass'.

Valve has developed and supports the OpenVR platform[1], which is designed to allow different hardware on the backend. Rift/Facebook seems to be primarily pushing a closed platform with exclusives. Playstation VR is obviously Playstation-only. Make your purchasing decisions accordingly.

[1] https://github.com/ValveSoftware/openvr

Oculus has exclusives because they partner with developers, offering money and support. Vive has exclusives because there's stuff you can do with the Vive's native VR controllers that you simply can't with the Rift's Xbox One controller.

When Oculus releases its Touch controllers (hopefully before the end of the year?) you might see Vive titles ported over to Rift. Movement in the other direction depends on what terms and conditions are in the contracts studios agreed to sign.

Having played both, I would strongly recommend you do. When I took off the vive my first thought was "no way I'm getting an oculus".

I see this sentiment a lot, but I've yet to see anything more. Could you elaborate on how you find the vive is better than the dk2?

The ability to walk around something makes it seem so much more real. With vive you can duck below and look under a table, lean around, view something from all angles. With oculus you're limited to seated experiences so it doesn't feel much different than sitting at a desk with a 3d monitor.

Also, moving your character with a controller or keyboard can be nauseating. This is why the best oculus games are going to be "cockpit simulators" or they're just going to have a"virtual screen". The vives ability to move yourself with your own legs keeps nausea in check.

The Vive's entire ecosystem is set up for moving around, using your hands, and really being 'VR' like we've all imagined. The oculus is your head as a camera in comparison.

So if the Oculus SDK integrated well with something like the Microsoft Kinect - things would perhaps be on more equal footing?

I've used all of the different headsets and the Vive is the standout.

I really hope Google puts aside their differences with Microsoft and tries to get a demo of this running on Hololens. I think it would be SO much cooler to be able to walk around someone's cool 3D art piece using AR rather than VR.

Hololens has a tremendously small FOV and everything it projects is translucent. Not exactly a great medium for viewing art.

I've used Hololens, and not everything it projects it translucent. It does have a small FoV, but it will get bigger with time, right now it's because of battery tech and chip energy efficiency/power.

I knew about the small FOV but I thought the big selling point was that everything was NOT translucent?

Part of me wonders how little body consciousness future generations will have when there is easily accessibletechnology like this that sucks the focus away from the immediate body you reside in and into a virtual world. On The Positive, I like how you can stand to use this technology, and not be trapped sitting in a chair.

Brave New World Ho!

Or, on the other hand, it allows us to more fully control our sensory reality, thus beginning to make "reality" as a concept more fluid.

I think the term 'fully control' is tricky in hiding 'gotchas'.

Does 'full control' of sensory reality imply a pre-condition of being locked into a near-sight helmet where the eye muscles are limited to only focus on an object right infront of them for (possibly) many hours at a time? Questions for 2020 i suppose.

If the method of viewing these isn't completely proprietary, someone should be setting up a site to distribute free and paid experiences. First or early to market would pay off like it did for early dominant Minecraft forums and the like.

I can see this becoming a thing. As a commenter here notes, people could create graphic novels in 3D space.

I wonder what the file format is... is it open, so it can be viewed by other VR systems, or is it tied to HTC? Can you view the creations in a browser? (Obviously you can make videos, but is there a 3d navigator for non-VR viewers?)

I don't know for sure but I bet it is, or could be exported to, any existing object model file formats. Like fbx.

The last scene... VR graphic novels could be pretty amazing.

Digital artist Jeremiah Johnson using a beta release: https://www.instagram.com/p/_TFWRWK6Xh/

Isn't this based on this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSbkn6mCfXE

(If you're impatient to skip into 2:30)

That is this.

If we nail VR over the next few years, it's going to change everybody's motivations. You think people are locked into their screens today? Just you wait..

The concept is cool, but the supposedly-creative music is just annoying for being so generic.

Makes you wonder, are musical tastes subjective?

Well, if nothing else, the coming VR cycle is going to be more psychedelic than the last.

We have one in our office and it really is amazing. My favorite moment was when I pulled my hand back to go around a line, forgetting that it was virtual. Real immersion.

We also able to comp the drawings on to video. Not perfect yet, but trying: https://twitter.com/evanbbb/status/704727611201724416

If you don't have a HTC Vive. Then try this: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=cc.openframewo...

This appears to be a blatant ripoff of https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=cc.openframewo... - they didn't even change the app ID to refer to something other than the original developer's domain.

author of inkspace here, thanks for pointing this out. I will try to flag this...

(update - google took it down. thanks again for pointing it out to me...)

This is by far probably the biggest motivating factor for me to buy one of these latest gen VR headsets. Everyone else seems largely preoccupied with trying to get into VR filmmaking or slapping VR onto just any old game, but this really unleashes a lot of the potential of VR.

Admittedly I'm a little disappointed to see nothing about the old company's story on the website. The founders must seem truly remarkable, yet the landing page gives no clue as to who they are. We just know that it's by Google, which technically isn't wrong.

Oh man I can't wait to see the Michaelangelos and Berninis of today

I'm nervous about reality preserving the medium for as long as their works have been around. Do you think it wouldn't be a problem?

Maybe in the future so much content will be created by so many (eg digital photographs, youtube), that the notion of preservation will lose a lot (but not all) of its former value, with the focus shifting on the next thing rather than enjoying the last thing for 400 years. Humanity as we understand it today, isn't going to exist in hundreds of years, we've already taken over control of our own evolution, and there's a high probability that we'll merge into the machines and never come back out. At the rate all of this is accelerating, long-term preservation is very likely going to be moot.

I have this idea in my head that one of the niche communities in fifty years will be people who trawl through discarded mass storage devices: cobbling together hardware fixes, undeleting files, and scanning them to see whether they contain anything interesting, like cached pages of lost websites, photos containing the faces of celebrities but from decades before they were famous, troves of old corporate emails, and so on.

Like historians? I also think they will exist in fifty years.

I think more like Verner Vinge's Programmer Archeologists[1], rather than Historians.

1. http://lambda-the-ultimate.org/node/4424

Like digital archaeologists, is more what I'm imagining. Not interpreting the primary sources, discovering them.


Imagine the kind of fun one could have with this and a bit of THC.

Or LSD, for that matter.

"That refresh rate is annoying, which is a shame because lots of people put lots of effort into making this artefact"

"So flat and pixelly"

"Why am I sitting inside a sensory simulation box when I could be doing more exciting and fulfilling things in that-which-we-refer-to-as-the-physical-world?"

"The faster you move your head, the more the graphics lag behind the sound... Woah, try it with the music visualizer, it's like multimodal flanging or some shit"

I have had the opportunity to play with Vive headset. The lag is hardly noticeable and once the drugs kicks in it should be more tolerable(i am guessing :P).

And for some the physical world is too boring anyways, So might as well be trapped in the sensory simulation box.

The real issue would be the ergonomics and the walking part to create something with the brush.

Magic Mushrooms are my vice

Draw stars and then watch them come down around you?

..and so with the introduction of the TiltBrush, Google enters a new era of VR-enhanced pscyhedelic paraphernalia

As someone who has never experienced VR before, this thing seems unreal.

I can't even imagine what we'll have by the time my kids are in their 20s

Neat. Dreams by Media Molecule on PS4 looks like a similar thing. (3D painting with motion controls, supposedly coming to VR too.)

You only get to draw on the planes you create is that correct? I would like to see how you select different panes. Not enough details, creating 3D art is tough. Recently I had a very immersive experience with the LeapMotion controller and my DK2. If you get a chance try the new Orion experience from LeapMotion! Wow!

I remember there was a similar system for CAVE st argonne national laboratory I think it was helped by crayons.

I would really love to do this with a bunch of friends in the same virtual room, physically present or not. Just painting together, walking through or around each other's creations and working together. I really hope they add a multiplayer aspect to this someday!

Has google made the source available for this? Would be a cool contribution to the VR scene.

Looks amazing. Wonder how this would compare to Oculus Quill (although Quill is still an internal tool at the moment).


Very similar idea to Sandde, http://www.sandde.com/, which stemmed from a collaboration between IMAX and the National Film Board of Canada.

Can you walk around, walk away and come back? How much movement is allowed before experience breaks down? This is the major difference between VR devices like Occulus/Cardboard vs Hololens.

It's on an HTC Vive so you're tethered to a PC with USB cables, but you have about a 15ft by 15ft square to move around in.

Do you happen to know the limitation they are getting around requiring cables? I can only imagine in the future it will be wireless. Not that I think I could wait that long to try VR, just curious :)

Bandwidth, power, weight, cost, combination of all?

All of those things. With current headsets you'd need to losslessly stream 1200p video at 90fps which is a lot of bandwidth and those numbers are only going to increase. It also has to be very low latency and not skip/stutter to avoid motion sickness. Hopefully we'll see it in consumer headsets in the next 5 years.

Reminds me a lot of "What Dreams May Come"


This is great! Is there a similar app for sculpting in VR out there?

Soooo cool! This is clearly the way of the future.

Can you share the space with other people wearing VR? Collaborating in something like this would really make it for me.

This is the first actual app I've seen that uses "room scale" VR that Valve/HTC talked up so much.

This is seriously amazing.

Something seems odd, why are the videos on the site not YouTube videos???

Answered my own question: TiltBrush was acquired by Google in 2015. Its still a missed opportunity by not having the videos on YouTube.

its so easy to miss the l

Is it open source?

simply OMG

instant nausea...

The Vive version? Absolutely not. I have a Vive Pre--before that the developer kit--and I've seen people new to VR spend over an hour straight in Tilt Brush. My Steam account shows 10+ hours logged.

I'm assuming you're either referring to the Google Cardboard version (which I haven't tried), or just trolling...

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