Disclaimer: I cannot draw. At all. Like, even a little.
Paint VR by Coskami Games is an attempt to bring the 3d painting experience to Daydream. As you may know Google have a powerful 3D painting program called TiltBrush which can be enjoyed on the more powerful headsets such as the Vive but this is the first app for a less powerful system.
Full disclosure: I am not very artistic, but this sort of app is designed to be something anyone can use. It’s entirely possible an artist will feel differently about some of the features in this app, something we’ll revisit later on, but for now this is entirely from the perspective of a lay person.
The user interface for PaintVR is about as simple as one can be. Using a standard color wheel and fairly rudimentary set of brush choices, PaintVR is not trying to overwhelm you. having a choice between Paint Mode and Line mode gives you some more options and having different brushes like the grass brush helps you create more complex art work than you otherwise may have.
This feels like MS paint back in the windows 98 days, very simple, almost a demo of what could be possible rather than a full app. I would also like to see a complete save function. As it is right now there appears to be no way to save your image other than a screen shot which is less than ideal for showing of your amazing artwork.
Controlling your movement in PaintVR is cumbersome at best. Having to rely on the Daydream controller for everything is extremely limiting in this case as you only have one hand to use. To move in and out on the Y axis you have to touch the forward on backwards parts of the daydream touchpad which is ok but there is an acceleration issue that makes fine movement almost impossible. Forget connecting lines in PaintVR, it’s just not possible with any accuracy. The left/right X axis panning is a little smoother and the rotation system is the most fluid of the all. To rotate you simple touch the touchpad to pan then turn your head to twist round the object you have created.
Hopefully these controls can be fine tuned over time to make them more accurate for those artists who could benefit from such things.
There are two big issues with painting with the brush in PaintVR. The first is the brush itself, an oversized representation of a paint brush, its angle and size not correlating with the Daydream controller at all. That disconnect means it’s very difficult to find where the end of the brush is supposed to be in the space you occupy. I would would much rather see this as the Daydream controller and the light pointer line that normally represents the select point. It would certainly help with pinpointing exactly where your brush is going to start painting.
The other issue is having to press and hold the touchpad button down to draw. Using the touchpad to move and have it pressed down to paint is so fiddly I simply couldn’t get it to go where I wanted. Moving on the Y axis is especially hard as pressing the top of the pad makes it scroll away with wild abandon, making the lines too long or, if you try to do it slowly, to jagged. I’m honestly not sure what the answer is here, perhaps one of the side buttons? or redesign the controller to have a trigger? whichever they decide I hope they do it soon.
I don’t want you to think I am completely down on PaintVR because I’m not, i just think version 1.0 is not quite ready for prime time. The controls are too clunky and the brush choices are thin on the ground. But as a first attempt it shows some promise. The work plane is large, though not as large as it looks, and the brush choices should be enough to start you off if you are artistic. I’ve seen some artists make amazing things with the least of materials so I think someone can make far better art than me using this app.
The burning question I have to answer is simple; is PAintVR worth $4.99 to bring 3D printing to the Daydream and, potentially, the masses? The answer is unfortunately no, not yet. The interface is too basic and the controls too clunky to truly be usable to make amazing things. and thats what we all want really isn’t it? Oh and the above picture is pretty much the best I could do. It’s supposed to be and angel fish and a jelly fish. Yes. I suck. We’ve talked about this already.