Technology

The VR Roadshow Artists Get to Play Around in the Future For a Bit

December 13, 2017

The minds behind the open-source virtual reality platforms WebVR and A-FRAME dream of a time when anyone with internet access and creative vision can build virtual worlds for the web. These open-source web standards make the realm of virtual reality as accessible as standard websites. Imagine a web gallery that works like a first-person game, or a web game that works with any VR setup. WebVR and A-Frame give developers tools to build whatever they want for VR gear. So far, they’ve used it to make games, 360-degree images and video, LEGO-like building simulations, shopping apps, and 3D painting apps.

It’s an entirely new medium for artists, a way to paint and animate in three dimensions intuitively and naturally. Apps like A-Painter give artists VR wands to paint in three dimensions, creating surreal sculptures in light and shadow.

Mozilla (makers of Firefox) is showing off the technology around the globe at their Developer Roadshows. Artists and developers can use A-Painter to craft virtual reality artwork. No headsets required, but the pieces really shine with a Visor or a Google Cardboard. Mozilla is documenting artists and their work in an online web series shot in some pretty exotic locations, where the films show artist reactions to the tech and their virtual creations.

Computer engineer and artist Diego F. Goberna has worked extensively with Mozilla to develop A-Painter and several other VR games, and his artwork is being featured in the web series. The artist describes painting in VR as, “A whole new experience that feels magical but strangely physical and familiar.” He sees the tech as a means to enhance and amplify artistic vision and anticipates it becoming a popular medium across the world.

Penang, Malaysia-based illustrator and educator Charis Loke got to play with WebVR at one of the roadshows and immediately saw its potential for storytellers. “When you have a set of tools like this, it allows you to tell really powerful stories that elicit responses from the viewers, gets them to do something, to react, to collaborate with other people,” she says. “And that’s only possible if they can see the content in the first place, which is why having it on the web is really important.”

You can see WebVR in action at one of Mozilla’s Developer Roadshows and watch artist reactions in the upcoming web series. To get started with WebVR, visit the hub aframe.io. The site features how-tos, demos, code snippets and more.

Check out more in vr.mozilla.org