Google open sourced its groundbreaking art app Tilt Brush, representing the latest move by the tech giant to cease development of its first efforts in virtual reality.
Google acqui-hired the developers behind the art application in 2015 as hype around VR built up ahead of the release of Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. It became the go-to VR art application over the last several years and a regular showpiece for VR demo-givers who wanted to show the medium had potential beyond games. Google also tightly integrated Tilt Brush with its Poly 3D-object hosting service, which the company previously announced would be shutting down at the end of June.
The addition of Tilt Brush to an open source repository on Github represents a gift to the VR development community, with other VR devs already crawling through the code for insights or ideas.
“Tiltbrush inspired Modbox more than any other project so I am absolutely going to check out their source. Either I’ll learn something or find out I’ve coded better than Google – either way worth it,” wrote Modbox creator Lee Vermeulen in a direct message.
Patrick Hackett, co-creator of the original software, left Google earlier this month to join Space Pirate Trainer developer I-Illusions “on a very, very special VR thing.” The head of Google-owned Owlchemy Labs — the studio behind Job Simulator and Vacation Simulator — wrote in a tweet that “we are continuing to grow, build awesome games for everyone, innovate and push VR forward! We also can’t wait to announce our next big thing!”
The announcement comes a day after Gravity Sketch switched to a free-for-individual-use pricing model across all devices. The transition of Tilt Brush toward open source essentially cements Gravity Sketch as the go-to VR art app.
“To some, this may look like the end of Tilt Brush,” Hackett wrote. “To me, this is immortality.”
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