The Origin of Quill and What it Can Do—Beta Available at Touch Launch

Oculus Story Studio Blog
Posted by Story Studio
November 17, 2016

As announced at OC3, we’re hard at work polishing Quill—a tool that enables illustrative storytelling in VR—for public release. The Quill beta will be available for free when Touch launches December 6 and we can’t wait for everyone to try what our team’s been using for some time!

As excited as we are to share Quill with the world, we think it’s equally important to talk about how it originated.

Quill was born out of the creative needs of Dear Angelica’s Writer/Director Saschka Unseld and Art Director Wesley Allsbrook. The unique style and story of Dear Angelica required it to be painted and shaped entirely inside of VR, something that has never been attempted.

In October of 2015, during one of our 48-hour hack-a-thons, Inigo—the lead engineer on Dear Angelica and a mad genius with code—created the first version of what would eventually become Quill.

From the moment Wesley tried Quill, she said it gave her something she’d wished for all her life. To no longer be limited by the edge of the page and to be able to create an endless world around her.

Over time, we added versatility and scalability, modified the tool so Wesley could shape her lines after drawing them, and added features and functionality to let artists work comfortably in Quill for long periods of time.

Quill was developed to let artists create and shape their artistic visions directly inside VR, no matter their stylistic preferences. For that to happen, Quill needed to be “unopinionated,” as Wesley puts it. “I, as the artist, want to have the opinions. So the last thing I would want is for my tool to have them.”

It was important that Quill not add anything to an artist’s strokes, unless fully controllable and shapeable by the artist. This means that with Quill, artists see their unique style come through, without filters.

To make this possible, we worked with painters and illustrators to help transform it into a tool for anyone. Every month, we’ll feature a new artist’s work on our Facebook page. We’ll put traditional art next to Quill masterpieces to show off how VR can truly transform the craft.

Today, we’re featuring Carlos Leon, an incredible illustrator from Oculus Story Studio who has a unique oil painting style—it couldn’t be more different than Wesley’s, which makes him the perfect artist to prove our vision of Quill as an “unopinionated” tool for any artist.

As we wrote in our very first blog post, pioneering of any kind—but especially in VR—won’t happen through a few individuals alone, it requires a movement. This is why we’re so excited to share Quill with artists around the world and discover how other creative minds will use it.