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Google Blocks lets you build 3D models in VR

Zak Killian
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With the explosion in indie game developers (and the games market in general), demand for 3D artists is at an all-time high. The thing is, 3D art is hard. Like, really hard. If you don't have the exceptional spatial skills that allow you to easily transform a 3D image in your head to a 2D image on-screen, creating tridimensional art is a time-consuming process of trial-and-error as you make a change, rotate the model, revert the change, and repeat. However, today Google says "what if you could walk around your model while you're creating it?" Enter Blocks.

Blocks isn't completely a new concept—the Tilt Brush app for the HTC Vive (also by Google) is a similar idea. The primary difference is that despite its VR-ness, Tilt Brush works more like digital 2D painting. Blocks, on the other hand, is a 3D modeling program intended for object creation. Users take their motion controllers of choice in hand and then use six tools (shape, stroke, paint, modify, grab, and erase) to manipulate those basic blocks into complex shapes.

Blocks obviously still has a learning curve, but being able to see your creation in 3D as you make it is an enormous advantage over traditional 3D asset creation. Right now, Blocks is limited to relatively low-poly shapes. Once you're finished, you can export your creation to .obj format, or publish them to the web and display them to the world. It's currently more of a nifty novelty than an actual content creation tool. Still, Blocks could be an enormously powerful piece of propaganda for promoting the puissance of VR-powered design.

You can check out Google's gallery of Blocks creations right here, continually updated with new models. If you've got the requisite VR hardware—in this case, an Oculus Rift or HTC Vive with their respective motion controllers—you can try out Blocks right now for free. It's available over on the Oculus Store for Rift users, and on Steam for Vive users.

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