Today, we’re announcing a revolutionary update to our painting and animation tool Quill. Now available in Early Access, Quill 2.0 transforms Quill into an end-to-end solution for making full VR-native animated stories. Since we released 3D animation support in February 2018, over 68% of all published #Quillustrations have been narratives clips. With Quill 2.0, storytellers can now become full-fledged VR directors, in addition to creating 3D painted scenes and short animated loops.
Storytellers are often forced to switch between tools at various steps in the narrative process. A typical project might include storyboarding, modeling, surfacing, rigging, lighting, and all kinds of rendering, each with their own specialized tool. With Quill’s new Animation Timeline feature, storytellers can sequence narratives, synchronize animations to sound, create transitions between shots, and much more. Storytellers now have everything they need to create long-form VR narratives, all in one tool.
Quill also saves time and resources by avoiding file transferring and the need to learn new software. Most importantly, it lets storytellers go from initial concept to finished project in the most efficient and accurate way possible. In traditional animation pipelines, things can often get lost in translation with each step of the production process. This happens as subsequent steps become increasingly abstracted over time. With Quill 2.0, the concept becomes the finished piece as storyboards seamlessly transform into final animation.
Additionally, Quill leverages the unique affordances of VR by taking advantage of spatial interaction. This lets creators effortlessly navigate the app, then paint and animate with physical movements.
New to Quill 2.0’s Animation Timeline are transform and opacity keyframes. You can now set keyframes for transformation and opacity values while also adding interpolation between them. Keyframes can be set for any layer type including: paint, audio, image, and 3D model layers. Groups and Sequences can also be keyframed, allowing for complex nested animations.
For example, you could animate a layered van with rotating tires and smoke in a group, and then animate the whole group down a street with a couple of transform keyframes. This lets you make adjustments to the group’s nested layers without affecting the overall group’s transformation. Previously, you would have to utilize frame-by-frame animation to transform the van. Although frame-by-frame is great for some use cases, it’s not necessary for simple transformations. And since keyframes only store values, this new feature greatly reduces file size. Bonus!
Stops are a new concept, native to VR animation, that let the main story action pause while keeping the supporting scene alive. In VR storytelling, there are infinite paths and camera angles. Stops let you explore at their own pace while the VR-specific loops continue to play, helping you discover every detail the creator lays out—and giving you the agency to choose when to continue the main story. This powerful feature opens a new avenue to interactive storytelling for a more immersive viewing experience.
Quill 2.0’s Animation Timeline also comes with a new layer called Sequence Layers. These layers are similar to Group Layers, but with one key difference: Sequence Layers are nested timelines within the master Animation Timeline, used to loop multiple sibling layers. As nested timelines, Sequences receive unique privileges on the master Animation Timeline. These privileges include ignoring Stops and securing their own playhead.
With Quill 1.0, we launched spatial audio support to enhance immersion in Quill scenes. Creators could import and position audio files in 3D space, so you could hear birds chirping from the treetops and music coming from a coffee shop down the street.
Now with Quill 2.0, we’ve added directional sound emitters in cone and pyramid shapes. This lets creators build scenes with complex audio needs. The audio files can also be animated. Imagine the sounds of cars whizzing by or talking characters walking down a street.
Additionally, Quill 2.0 now displays wave forms within each layer in the Animation Timeline. This is especially helpful when building complex animations like lip-syncing or musicians playing a song’s specific rhythm.
For full details on this new release, check out our release notes.
VR-native narratives built with Quill are helping to define an exciting new medium. We can’t wait to see what you create!
Get Quill for free with Oculus Touch activation on the Rift Platform today!
— The Oculus Team
Quill was born out of the creative needs of Dear Angelica, an Emmy-nominated VR film. The unique style and story of Dear Angelica required it to be painted and shaped entirely inside of VR—something that had never been attempted before. Since its launch in 2015, Quill has evolved into a mature VR painting and animation tool for creators. It empowers professional artists to create 3D illustrations and animations (aka Quillustrations) entirely in VR on an infinitely scalable canvas.