Google Blocks: Your Modeling Tool in VR

The Virtual Reality space has proven to have a lot of opportunities which are underutilized. Google has once again exploited one of them and has introduced its latest virtual reality app called Blocks. This app lets you create, build and display beautiful 3D models on 2D screens in no time. That’s if you are an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive user. Google Daydream users are unfortunate at this moment, ‘Google Blocks’ needs headsets with hand controls.

Using this app, possibilities are endless. You can create simple and complex models using six simple tools. The tools allow you to shape, stroke, paint, modify, grab and erase any mistake you make. You can also export and import objects from and to the virtual reality environment. Sharing is also possible via links and animated gifs; this makes it possible for other third party apps to interact with the objects. You can also use both Tilt brush and Google Blocks as you can export objects from both.

The app aims at improving creativity with the shortest time possible. Google’s VR creativity efforts lead, Jason Toff said that handcrafting 3D objects is so cumbersome and almost impossible at the moment. He also added that rather than learning about the specular, textures and lighting, essential colors and shapes is okay. Google Blocks is just like a creative tool.

“Slice of watermelon” Source: Jarlan Perez/Google

Besides being a creative tool, this app finds a way to utilize the constraints that come with most VR headsets. One might think the app was designed for a lower level of realism. With the ability to build simple polygonal objects, this app is suitable for novice users, developers, and other experts. Google Blocks uses motion-sensing controllers in the headsets above to manipulate and implement low-poly VR art. This renders the App useless in other platforms that don’t have these controllers. At its top left intuitive interface, there’s a palette of the simple tools and shapes at your disposal.

Anyone without experience can use this app after a brief tutorial. After you know what you’re supposed to do, its immersive fun to play with. Being a simple app, it’s like playing with children’s blocks. If you are skeptical about it, you can look at others people’s creations in the gallery and maybe you can get inspiration.  The gallery is interactive and contains a wide array of creations and use cases from developers, artists, 3D modelers, and people with no modeling experience. Creations range from simple 3D objects to complex VR art.

“Piano” Source: Bruno Oliveira/Google

Comparing Google Blocks with other apps in the same field, you might find that it’s less capable. But this is what makes it interesting; it gives you the chance of using your imagination. Its simplicity and lack of a lot of tools make it more natural and approachable. No matter how you use Blocks, you will be continually impressed, since there’s no setup methodology put in place on how to build your objects. Google also hinted that it would enable more AR and VR apps that will work with other products that are not from Google.