Sunday, September 25, 2016

The undiscovered VR painting and sculpting app for the HTC Vive

sample PaintLab work from the developer

Painting in VR is synonymous with Google's Tiltbrush but did you know there's another app that can work better for 'solid' artwork -- and it's free!

Tiltbrush is a VR painting app for the HTC Vive where you paint with light.  It's an amazing experience when you can draw something and be able to walk around or peer inside your creation.

Tiltbrush's paint brush is flat.  When you want to create a solid object such as a sphere or a cube, the way you do it is by painting the skin of the object.  It works, but it can take a while to do even simple solids.

Is there a way to create solid structures quickly?  Yes, there's an app called PaintLab for the HTC Vive which does exactly that.  Here's a video about PaintLab:


To use PaintLab, you choose your materials from your left controller, and use the trackpad to select the color.  To apply the material, you press the trigger on the right controller as you move the controller.  The harder you press the trigger, the thicker the material will be.  You can also use the trackpad on the right controller to either undo or erase pieces from your work.  You can use the left controller trigger to move your work and rotate it as needed.

Here's a sample that I made (it took about 11 minutes in real time).


PaintLab is intuitive and easy to use.  However, I do wish it had some kind of tool to make surfaces smoother, and another tool for carving (different from erasing).  However, for solid creations, PaintLab is definitely much faster and easier to use than Tiltbrush.

Besides creating solids, there's also a spray paint tool for painting your work..

I also appreciate that PaintLab has a spectator mode, which can make it easy to do videos of you creating your work.  But I wish there was a way to save your work and export it as a 3D object.

PaintLab is a fun creative tool for the HTC Vive.  You can download PaintLab from the Steam store here.