New Mediums: The Future of VR and AR Art

In the art community, the big question has always been “What IS art?” What qualifies something to be considered artwork? Some say there are strict guidelines and qualifiers, others say it is up to each person’s judgement. One thing we do know is that art is always evolving, which has always left that question to be unanswered.

These days art has taken on some amazing new forms thanks to the technology boom we are currently experiencing, raising the question of what qualifies as true art even further.

By now, we’ve all seen the fuss over virtual reality technology. Some of you have probably wondered “Is it viable? Will it last? What’s it’s value?” While those questions are still being answered, others are creating value in the form of beautiful works of art and totally immersive experiences.


Yggdrasil - Tilt Brush Sketchby steveteepson Sketchfab

Virtual Reality

Goro Fujita was one of the early adopters of virtual reality illustration. He has teamed up with Oculus Story Studio and Quill, the VR drawing app they’ve developed. In VR Fujita is creating illustrative experiences like never seen before. He is best known for his VR dream worlds that have layers and depth beyond what is possible in any traditional art form. What makes these pieces truly unique is the ability to explore a world around you in a virtual environment where you are completely immersed in the art space.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="480"] Worlds in Worlds by Goro Fujita in Oculus Quill[/caption]

Oculus Story Studio, now facing closure, was also responsible for producing breathtaking short films like Lost, and Henry, that were exclusively viewable in VR. The idea behind Story Studio was to inspire others to create their own non-gaming VR experiences, and are now Oculus is focusing their efforts on backing others’ creative projects.


Recently, Google has started an online gallery of 3d art created in their application, Tilt Brush. Much like Quill, Tilt Brush allows you to draw and paint in VR. Users of Tilt Brush can upload their works directly from the program to the website for the Tilt Brush community and fans to view outside of the VR space.


But an even more exciting experience is being able to view these pieces from within the VR space. Last weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the Magik Gallery, an exhibition with art created in VR programs such as Google Tilt Brush, as well as Oculus Medium and Quill, where guests are able to put on a headset and jump into the pieces. Artists are able to create larger than life creations in VR, and that is what makes art in this form a truly unique experience. I don’t think anyone can truly appreciate a VR art piece unless they are able to view it in virtual reality.

Along with being able to view the work in the gallery, we were also encouraged to try out the devices ourselves, and create our own works. This was both mine and Nyko’s first time creating art in VR, and we both agreed it was mind opening and addictively fun.

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="800"] Various stations were set up to try out the different VR programs[/caption]

360 Video

Other forms of media have also been seen adopting the VR space. You might have seen NASA’s 360 degree space videos on Facebook, giving you a bird’s eye view of the world, or Coachella’s 360 videos of their live performances, where you could enjoy Coachella from the comfort of your couch, with the best seat in the house.

 And who better to adopt the VR trend then artsy music innovators Gorillaz? Already known for their live hologram performances, now they’ve come back with an animated VR/360 music video. Youtube has made it available as a rotating video on the website, but it is even more amazing when viewed with a VR headset like the DIY Google Cardboard. The video puts you inside the action, giving everyone who views it their own truly unique experience. Not one person will see the video the same, since you can watch from literally all angles.

Augmented Reality

Another blossoming medium for the future of art is augmented reality. Augmented reality is a mix of digital images you can only see with a device and the real world around you. A popular example of AR is the mobile game, Pokemon Go! But there is a more serious and artistic side to AR that is less noticed. AR can now be seen in virtual art galleries and installation pieces.

At the Magik Gallery I had mentioned earlier, one of the first things I noticed was a cluster of people holding their phones up to illustrations hanging on the walls. “Prosthetic Reality” was the name of the collection. With the download of an app called Eyejack I was able to join in, and the illustrations came to life through my phone’s camera. Luckily, the Eyejack app lets you record the display, so you can share your experience with others.

Others are working on augmented or in these cases “Mixed” reality experiences where no phone, tablet, or headgear is needed. One example is the work of Lightform. Lightform has been working on creating mixed reality devices using light and projection that can transform a space with careful scanning of objects. With their device you can transform any space or object with lighting-effect projections.

This is just a small sample of the creations that are being made in these new art forms and just a few of the many platforms available for creation.

What Comes Next?

With the expanding community of 3D/virtual reality artists, the community of software developers and tech innovators needs to find a way to keep up. It’s not often we are presented with a new art medium and completely new ecosystems for creation. The future is actually starting to look like “The Future”, which is an amazing concept to wrap your head around. Our view of the world (in the most literal sense) is changing rapidly and it’s our job to keep creative people inspired with the platforms we provide.

MasterpieceVR is an upcoming collaborative sculpting application for VR

All of this new media has reinforced our idea at uMake that 3D art is an ever growing platform that is not going away anytime soon. We are inspired by the creations we see, and we hope that we inspire our users to create beautiful works like the ones we’ve been seeing lately. So what’s the future of 3d art in uMake? We’ve already created the easiest to learn 3d sketching app for mobile devices, but where do we go next? We have so many new features planned for our future and who knows where we might end up.

So is this art? Would you pay money to attend a VR art gallery? Do you find what you’re seeing inspiring, maybe, beautiful? What do you see for the future of art? Join the conversation below, let us know what you think!

Posted on

May 24, 2017