It`s especially difficult if you don`t have experience with CAD or 3D models. Since there is no foundation on which to build, you often have to watch hours of tutorial videos to figure out how to accomplish a seemingly simple task (e. g. cutting a cylindrical hole into something).
California-based Startup Sixense has set itself the goal of breaking though this barrier.
“We wanted to democratize 3D modeling,” Steve Hansted, Director of Business Development, told Digital Trends. “Our goal was to give everyone, regardless of age and experience, the opportunity to get into a professional CAD engine and build geometry with a very flat learning curve.
The result of this work is a program called MakeVR – a 3D modeling platform that, unlike most CAD programs, does not run in a traditional desktop environment. Instead, users access and use the software via the HTC Vive VR platform.
Since more people own PCs than have their own VR setups on a spatial scale, it is possible that VR-only MakeVR could be a little disadvantage from a business point of view, but from a creative point of view, working in Virtual Reality MakeVR offers a number of distinct advantages.
“The difference with traditional modeling programs is that MakeVR is more volatile and tactile,” says Patrick Daniels, a freelance designer and modeler who visited DT headquarters to test the software. “This gives you spatial imagination, while when I sit down with my mouse and keyboard, I usually stare at only one model. But I could imagine working on entire environments with this software,” he explained.
That`s the magic of it all. Instead of modeling in a limited, two-dimensional environment on their monitor, MakeVR allows the user to fully immerse themselves in a virtual creative space and manipulate objects with two hands – just like working with solid materials in the real world. As Daniels eloquently put it, “It just fits in your brain“.
Most exciting, however, is that this is the beginning. MakeVR was launched on Viveport a few weeks ago, but Hansted says that the project us anything but over.
“MakeVR will continue to evolve,” he explained. “Right now we`re calling it advanced freeform modeling. You have access to the Boolean tools of the CAD engine and some other things. But there`s a lot more that we didn`t unlock in the first release. From here, we add tools for things like precision alignment, teamwork, physics – and finally, as many of the tools from MakeVR`s underlying CAD engine are unlocked as is useful in a VR environment and desired by users.”
Once you`ve seen the software at work, it`s hard to keep your imagination running. 3D printing is the area where MakeVR is most at home at the moment, but in the not too distant future the technology could easily be extended to other areas – such as game design.