Facebook today announced and launched Quill 2.0, bringing overhauled VR animation, audio, and narrative tools to make the app an all-in-one pipeline for storyboarding, drawing, animating, and storytelling.
When Oculus first launched Quill back in 2016, it was a powerful ‘VR drawing’ app with features like a layer system, brush styles & opacities, exporting, and video capturing functionality. But an update which brought animation tools to the app turned it into much, much more. Over the years (and now officially under Facebook’s purview) the app has increasingly become focused on VR drawing, animation, and audio.
Today Quill 2.0 brings a host of improvements to further mature the app into a “self-contained storytelling tool,” says Quill‘s lead engineer, Sebastien Chevrel.
Oculus detailed Quill 2.0’s new and enhanced feature set today and said that it’s now available in Early Access on Rift. The company says that 2.0 was built so that VR animators and storytellers no longer need to juggle several tools to make immersive artwork and narratives built with Quill.
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.
Oculus says that Quill’s animation features have been vastly upgraded with keyframe transform tools, making it easier to move complex objects with keyframes and automatic interpolation, rather than frame-by-frame animation.
Quill 2.0 also introduces ‘Stops’ into its animation tools, which gives storytellers a way to pause the scene at key moments so that viewers can indefinitely see the action up close until they choose to proceed, enabling ‘page-turning’ and ‘comic book’-like narrative creations.
Additionally, 2.0 has enhanced spatial audio tools which allow creators to define the position, direction, and area of sounds inside their creation. The sound volumes can also be animated along with everything else, allowing animators to pair moving objects with moving sound.
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Quill is available free to any Rift users who also activate Oculus Touch. Quill artwork can be shared and viewed immersively in the app itself and in Facebook Spaces. While the company has said they’re working to bring Quill artwork to Quest, they haven’t announced plans to bring the actual creation app to the headset (likely due to performance considerations).