Google Launches Blocks App to Make 3D Modelling for AR, VR Easier

  • New tool is developed for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets

  • Blocks is designed in a way that anyone can create 3D models

  • The models can be exported in OBJ format to use in AR or VR apps

Google has unveiled its new 3D-modelling tool, named Blocks, to simplify the process of creating compelling virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) experiences. The new tool, developed for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift headsets, works by allowing users to create a 3D object on a virtual 3D canvas.

“Current software requires building 3D objects on a 2D screen which is something our brains aren’t wired to do. It occurred to us that creating the objects while in virtual reality could make this easier,” said Jason Toff, Group Product Manager at Google, in a blog post on Thursday.

Blocks is designed in a way that anyone without any prior modelling experience can use and “feel more like playing with children’s blocks than working with traditional 3D modeling software”. Starting with a simple set of shapes, a colour palette and an intuitive set of tools, a user would be able to quickly create almost anything he/she can imagine – from a piece of watermelon to a whole forest scene. After the user is finished with the 3D model, the file can be exported in OBJ format to use in AR or VR apps they are developing.

In an interview with the Oculus team, Toff said experienced artists will benefit from the speed the Blocks app offers, while for amateurs it can be their first step towards making 3D models more naturally.

The app is available for free on the Oculus Store and on the Steam platform. Google has also set up a page where Block users’ designs are showcased.

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