Tvori is the most impressive piece of VR creation software I’ve tried since Google’s Tilt Brush. Once inside, it didn’t take me long to build a mock up of the Death Star and try filming my own animated version of the famous trench run scene from the original Star Wars.
The software’s creators want directors, architects, designers, teachers and artists of all kinds to have a powerful creativity and planning tool. Tvori, which means “create” in many slavic languages, is made by Russia-based developers Dmitry Kurilchenko and Viktor Komarovskih. Their idea is that a team whose members are spread around the globe should be able to go into VR and communicate complex 3D ideas.
It’s still early, but Tvori was sent to Upload exclusively by the developers and I found it to be incredibly well-crafted in its approach to unlocking creativity. Animating a scene using VR isn’t a new idea, but Tvori is still at the cutting edge and its developers are trying to make the process both easy and useful. In all likelihood, the software will end up being used for things its creators haven’t even dreamed up yet.
“The ultimate plan is to create a platform for people that need to express an idea in 3D without complicated tools,” said Kurilchenko in an interview. “And it should be collaborative.”
What can you do in Tvori?
In Tvori today, the first thing you want to do is use your hands to reach forward and position the height of a table. There are these little arrows next to the handles to make it easy to figure out how to do this. Then, from drawers, you can pull props and backdrops to animate and film a scene.
It’s also possible to teleport like in The Lab and sketch like in Tilt Brush. It’s even possible to teleport into a drawer to see what a prop looks like full size before you bring it out onto the table. Every movement can be recorded and played back. The way to do this is simple: move a virtual camera with one hand and an object with the other while recording is on to make an animated movie. The developers want to release it as an early access beta on Steam in late August, with collaborative features to be added eventually. So you should be able to occupy a single virtual space with other people once that is added.
Kurilchenko and Komarovskih started working on VR a couple years ago. Komarovskih was a lead artist at the VR-AR Lab and Kurilchenko worked on more than a dozen VR projects during hackathons and competitions, including Wendy, a VR app that won in last year’s Oculus mobile VR jam. Late last year they started working together on a creativity platform that would let you draw as well as animate with your hands. Here’s a video from March showing an earlier version of the software:
“It is very hard to impossible to express your ideas in 3-D without using complicated and unintuitive tools,” Kurilchenko wrote in an email. “We assumed that directors, architects, designers, teachers, new media artists and all kinds of visual creatives have a need for a simple, yet powerful way of expressing and communicating their ideas to others.”
The biggest problem I noted in the version of Tvori I tried is that holding a controller which transforms into a virtual camera requires some fine-tuning. As it is, my trench run scene looks like it is puppeted by some invisible ghost with shaky hands. Though the developers said they have some smoothing in place (effectively introducing image stabilization to a virtual camcorder), this was one area I noted needs some more attention before beta release. It’s obviously very early for the developers but the reason I mention this limitation is because I don’t know whether a true filmmaker would find the software useful just yet. With software like Tilt Brush, for example, there is a big difference between someone like me — with little experience drawing — and someone like Tipatat Chennavasin pulling from a wealth of that experience while creating inside the app.
Even if nothing changes between now and beta release of Tvori enough features are built in for the developers to put it into people’s hands and see what next steps need to be taken based on how people use it. I think there’s enough already there that a lot of people could find themselves creating pretty interesting things.
I am personally very excited to see where the developers take Tvori next and we’ll keep you updated. You can still sign up for an alpha version of Tvori for the HTC Vive. The developers are targeting an Aug. 25 release for the beta on Steam.
Correction: Developers plan to add multiplayer features after the first beta release. An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated the plan for inclusion of the feature.