Google’s VR art creation app Tilt Brush isn’t free, but the company made it open source a few days ago after announcing it has stopped active development, so it was only a matter of time before independent developers got under the hood to publish their own Tilt Brush-derived apps. Now you can play around with the first batch on PC VR and Oculus Quest.

Open Brush – PC VR

Developer Icosa Gallery has published its own fork of the Tilt Brush software, dubbed Open Brush. Although there’s a few missing features for now, notably the ability to use the eraser, Open Brush is already enabling some of the hidden brushes that Google never released before shelving the project.

You can download the experimental build of Open Brush over at Itch.io for free, and get painting through SteamVR-compatible headsets right now.

Icosa Gallery says there’s also a Quest version in the works, however it’s not ready just yet.

SideSketch – Quest

If you own an Oculus Quest or Quest 2, you can also test out the latest third-party clone from developer Shane Harris, called SideSketch.

Image courtesy Shane Harris

For now it appears to be a direct clone without any added features, albeit free of charge. Like Open Brush on PC, SideSketch is missing the eraser function.

To get SideSketch, you’ll need to set up SideQuest on your Quest headset, the unofficial app store for all things Quest. Check out our simple guide of how (and why) to use SideQuest to get up and running with SideSketch and a plethora of free and paid apps.

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Tilt Brush for WebXR

The amazing thing about WebXR is that all you need is a URL, a compatible web browser and a PC VR or Quest headset to start playing and connecting in virtual spaces.

WebXR applications are notably smaller than apps that require a direct download and installation, and it seems a WebXR Tilt Brush derivative from developer Daniel Adams of msub2, called Silk Brush, is still brewing as a result.

At the moment, Adams says its still only capable of basic drawing, as he’s still working on integrating the wand’s complete set of functions—not a simple task since it needs to be light enough to run in-browser.

Seeing Tilt Brush as a potential WebXR application is really exciting though. Not only will users be able to pop in and create things quickly, but the hypothetical addition of multiplayer could make it a great place to quickly connect with others for everything from product ideation to collaborative art. Adams hasn’t mentioned that bit yet, although it was buried in the code as a ‘to-do’ by Google before they stopped active development.

If you’re looking to paint via WebXR now though, check out Mozilla’s A-Painter as a great alterative.


Know of any apps making use of Tilt Brush code? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Wild Dog

    Nice.

  • m₂

    Thanks for the shout out! But my first name is Daniel, not Douglas.

    • Mikey

      Oh my gosh… Douglas Adams… BWAHAHAHA

    • Brain scrambled and I defaulted to one of my favorite authors. Sorry Daniel!

  • Let’s hope the community will keep this alive!

  • Denis

    Open Brush is great. I first wanted to build the original Tilt Brush
    based on the code, but you’d have to install Unity and Python as well as
    being somewhat familiar with these programs. The alternatives offer a
    much easier path to using the software.

  • Zantetsu

    I’m really confused about why one specific feature – erase – would be missing from these versions. Surely Google had a build process that anyone can follow to produce the exact same version that they released with all of the features that would have been in the original build, including erase.

    Unless the project was run by monkeys, it should be possible to sync the code to any release point and rebuild from there using build instructions at that point. Why you wouldn’t just get the same version that Google built (minus app signing keys if that’s even a thing for Steam store or Oculus store, I do not know as I’ve never built an app for those) is a mystery to me.

    I guess the only explanation I can think of would be that they didn’t release *all* of the code, and that some library dependency existed that is used by erase that was not open sourced, so until a replacement for that library is written, that feature would be disabled.

    • Patrick Hogenboom

      When looking at the issues on github, I only see an issue with erasing the experimental brushes.
      Which sounds logical, as Google never finished those and not much more has been done yet besides enabling experimental mode and getting it to build.

      https://github.com/icosa-gallery/open-brush/issues

  • Ad

    You should connect the WebXR one to metachromium, which would make tilt brush become a universal feature of all apps in a sense.

  • TechPassion

    They grabbed full sources of a finished product and play heroes to compile it :)

    • Patrick Hogenboom

      Please, let’s be a bit more encouraging to open source devs who volunteer their spare time to projects like this.
      Even for getting this proj to build you need to have Unity and Python skills and go through the publishing process with itch to get it online.
      The project has just been open sourced, what else did you expect than a bare build ?

  • Michael Nisbet

    Just a correction, the eraser tool always worked in Open Brush, there was just some experimental brushes it enabled that didn’t erase correctly! Also SideSketch is Open Brush now too.