3D modeling comes to the HTC Vive
HTC has released MakeVR for the HTC Vive virtual reality headset. The 3D-object modeling application lets designers create and examine objects in VR and once they're ready, export them for 3D printing.
HTC describes MakeVR as turning the Vive's motion controls into freeform modeling tools. With the headset's room-scale tracking, the user can explore their creations from any direction, zooming in and out from the object as necessary. The app contains direct links to printing through Shapeways, an online 3D printing service.
The current version of the app sells for US$20 on Viveport. Its developers, Vive Studios and Sixense, plan to release a pro version with more advanced tools and features (based on user feedback) later this year. Printing services are not included in the price of the app.
In some ways, MakeVR seems similar to other VR creation tools like Tilt Brush or Quill for Oculus Rift. However, those apps have a more artistic bent with a focus on 3D illustration. MakeVR is poised to become a more industrial/commercial creation tool. It looks closer to being the Vive's answer to Oculus Medium, a 3D sculpting tool announced in 2015 that lets you export your creations to desktop 3D design software.
The introduction of MakeVR is only one recent effort for the Vive. HTC has been focusing on strategic partnerships with the entertainment industry and software developers to fully realize the VR ecosystem. For instance, HTC has announced a global partnership with Warner Bros. Pictures to provide content and experiences for the upcoming Steven Spielberg film Ready Player One (adapted from a book that's considered essential reading by VR enthusiasts), expected to hit theaters in March 2018.
Meanwhile, HTC continues to encourage developers in harnessing the power of the Vive hardware. Its VR/AR accelerator program provides $100 million in total funding to over 60 companies worldwide.
In addition, HTC released open-source code for using three Trackers for full-body VR tracking. Vive Trackers – an accessory unveiled earlier this year that has potential to turn almost any real-life object into a VR controller – are now available for developer purchase at $99 each.