Thursday, February 23, 2017

Making Models in VR with Kodon and Gravity Sketch

Recently, I have been experimenting with making 3D models in programs called Kodon and Gravity Sketch in VR. Kodon is more of a sculpting program that you get a basic shape and from there you can push/pull/smoothen a material using the controllers of the HTC Vive. Whereas Gravity Sketch is a program similar to TiltBrush, but instead of having a colored brush, it's a 3D sphere that you can draw with. Both programs are in their early developmental stages and not very close to being a complete software but are both fairly easy to use and self explanatory.

The first program we got was Kodon. It was already on Steam and was just like downloading any other games. Once I put on the headset I thought that someone was standing in front of one of the sensors because it was flashing and almost re-calibrating. It slowed down and I eventually got used to it. Its most likely due to the capabilities of our computer not being able to catch up with what the software is doing.

Another thing that was confusing was the seemingly infinite number of menus that seem to change randomly, but after a few minutes of finding my way, I was able to navigate to any screen from anywhere. It was still a bit confusing but after fiddling with some settings I understood and was able to use the controller easily. One of the settings is turning the controller around so you can use it more as a pen than a controller. It was slightly easier to use but still had its glitches. After using this for quite a while and then seeing the final result, I concluded I didn't want to use this software on this setup again. It was quite difficult. In the end, it may not look like much, but this pig-head model is my first tangible 3D model designed in virtual reality!

Then I tried Gravity Sketch which was more so what I wanted. As soon as it booted up it was very blank. Nothing at all. But the controls were surprisingly easy to figure out how to use. In a matter of minutes I was proficient in using it. As I said before, it is very similar to TiltBrush  After finding the download button I decided to start my first real project in Gravity Sketch. Making it was very easy to do and exporting and saving was easy. My one complaint of Gravity Sketch would probably be that for some reason, all the strokes are saved separately in one model, making my arch nemesis  overlapping shells. It adds one step too many between drawing to print. I need to drag it into Meshmixer and combine all objects, however when you have too many strokes (as mentioned, due to my computer's processing power), it crashes. But once I do wait for an hour for it to load, the outcome is well worth it.  I could then print it on the 3D printer and it was a very nice model. The software is very easy to use even though its in its beta stages. - Enzo, 8th grade

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