Oculus VR said on Thursday that Quill will finally be offered up as a beta for public consumption on December 6, the same day the Oculus Touch controller arrives. This will be a free tool enabling users to provide illustrative storytelling in virtual reality. The Oculus Story Studio Facebook page is also now showcasing artwork generated by this new tool, showing how VR-crafted artwork compares to the traditional paintbrush masterpieces.
Quill started out as an idea to help paint and shape Dear Angelica within the virtual environment. This is an illustrative film created by writer/director Saschka Unseld and art director Wesley Allsbrook, which tells the story of a teenage girl named Jessica as she looks back on stories previously told by her mother. Jessica recreates these landscapes and scenarios in her mind, and Oculus Rift owners are along for the imaginative ride.
To create this illustrative world correctly in the VR environment, Allsbrook needed a new tool. After a 48-hour hack session, one finally emerged that would eventually become Quill. It was perfect according to Allsbrook, but the tool was expanded nevertheless to be more versatile and scalable, allowing Allsbrook to draw her lines and then reshape them to fit them in a world without the physical boundaries of a canvas.
“It was important that Quill not add anything to an artist’s strokes, unless fully controllable and shapeable by the artist,” the company explained. “This means that with Quill, artists see their unique style come through, without filters.”
In the case of Dear Angelica, Oculus Rift owners will not see virtual paintings flashed before their eyes as if they are sitting in a fake museum watching a slideshow. The lines and splashes of virtual paint are floating in virtual space, moving with the flow of the story as well as the flow of a gentle virtual breeze or the panning out of the viewpoint.
Eventually, Oculus Story Studio reached out to other painters and illustrators to make Quill a tool for all artists to use and enjoy. The object of the current beta is to move beyond a few individuals shaping the tool and to embrace every artist to help make Quill the ultimate paintbrush in VR.
This first artist to be showcased on the Oculus Story Studio Facebook page is the team’s own Carlos Leon, whose film-based experience includes Despicable Me, Mr. Peabody & Sherman, The Lorax, The Penguins of Madagascar, and more.
Obviously, the Oculus Touch controllers will be the ideal input method for Quill. These motion controllers will be offered as a pair for $200 on December 6 and will come with an additional sensor to track the hand-held hardware. Oculus VR will also offer a stand-alone sensor for customers wanting better, full-room VR experiences.