The appeal of the Oculus Rift is most often expressed in terms of exploring digital worlds, from Seinfeld’s apartment to virtual amusement parks. What we usually don’t think about is how virtual reality will give designers and artists a whole new set of tools. But VR as a toolbox might be even more exciting than VR as a gaming platform. Just check out this guy!
What you’re seeing is a digital artist sculpting a virtual computer model while wearing an Oculus Rift and using two Razer Hydra motion controllers. The software he’s using is called VRClay, an in-development app that allows artists to sculpt 3-D models in virtual reality by just “molding” it with their hands. Obviously, a 3-D model isn’t actually hovering in mid-air a few inches from his face–the digital model has simply been interposed so you can see what the artist sees in his headset.
While watching this guy sculpt a VR spider with his bare hands is undeniably cool, this is really only the beginning If an Oculus Rift can allow artists to create digital sculptures as easy as molding clay in their hands, imagine the ways in which other designers can put virtual reality to work for them.
This–not gaming–is the true promise of VR. I can’t wait to live in a world where typographers jack into the Oculus-powered matrix to design new fonts, or the next Walter Gropius is a console cowboy. That’s when you’ll really know that virtual reality is here to stay.