Gravity Sketch on Oculus Quest: Transforming digital design

Last summer, we launched the mobile version of Gravity Sketch with Facebook’s Oculus Quest, with the aim of transforming digital design.

Gravity Sketch
Gravity Sketch on Oculus Quest: Transforming digital design
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Before Gravity Sketch came to Oculus Quest, designers needed a VR-ready PC, as well as a tethered head-mounted display with external tracking. Now, any designer can pick up an Oculus Quest 2 for half the price of a smartphone and use it from the comfort of their own desk or studio.

We explain why the Oculus Quest will have huge implications for the future of design, and how you can make the most out of using Gravity Sketch on your Oculus Quest.

The impact of Oculus Quest on the Gravity Sketch vision

We are seeking to transform the way in which you work and create in your day-to-day lives. Our CEO and Co-Founder Oluwaseyi Sosanya sees today’s design process as broken and inefficient.

“…The vast majority of our ideas are 3D: our cars, homes, clothing, and entertainment. However, we start our initial creation process in 2D with pen and paper. Moving from 2D representations to digital 3D models is a complex process involving lots of different people and this can lead to miscommunication and repetitive rework. Due to time constraints and poor communication, many compromises must be made…”

We want to solve these pain points through a 3D Design and Collaboration platform, that allows you to create, collaborate, and review designs together in real-time, in three dimensions. Our vision is that you will seamlessly transition between VR, desktop, tablet, and mobile devices to create digital 3D assets, which can be exported to CAD software for rendering and finishing touches. Our relationship with Oculus is crucial for realising this vision.

“…Previously, design teams needed to use purpose built VR studios and VR head-mounted displays tethered to expensive gaming computers in order to use Gravity Sketch. With this launch, creatives can sketch from their desk or the comfort of their home. You can just pop the headset on and go — it cuts out so many steps for the setup process…”

Gravity Sketch - Cycling helmet designed by David Spiro
Artwork by David Spiro

The benefits of using Gravity Sketch on the Oculus Quest

We’ve noticed that there are still a lot of questions from our community about how Gravity Sketch works with Quest and Quest 2, so we wanted to take the opportunity to answer them.

First thing’s first, what is the Oculus Quest and why is it so different to other VR headsets?

The Oculus Quest is a wireless, standalone headset that does not require tethering to a computer. Most design applications for VR have highly complex software that requires powerful headsets to operate it; however, the Quest is still powerful and Gravity Sketch was, in fact, the only design software that could be deployed on Quest.

There are several advantages to using the Quest over other VR headsets on the market:

  • You won’t get tangled up in cords or brought up short as you move around, because the headset is completely wireless
  • The headset works without Wi-Fi, and without a computer, so you can create designs anywhere in the world
  • A Quest 2 headset and 2 controllers is priced at $299 for the 64Gb model! You also get to avoid buying an expensive PC with a powerful enough GPU (for more information on this, check out our VR hardware blog post)
  • It grows with you. If you feel like you need extra GPU power in the future, you can use the Oculus Link (or other compatible cable) and plug your Quest into a computer

Is the full Gravity Sketch feature set available?

Yes, we have managed to port the full GS feature set to Quest aside from the ability to use orthographic viewports. The overall experience is extremely similar to that of the Oculus Rift / Rift S or HTC Vive.

Due to hardware limitations with Quest, you will also not be able to see shadows in Gravity Sketch. This is to ensure that users are able to sketch smoothly with no issues.

Gravity Sketch on Oculus Rift / Rift S or HTC Vive and on Oculus Quest (no shadow) being compared, artwork by Adam Paquette
Left: Gravity Sketch on Oculus Rift / Rift S or HTC Vive; Right: Gravity Sketch on Oculus Quest (no shadow). Artwork by Adam Paquette

How much is Gravity Sketch for Quest? Is there cross-buy?

Gravity Sketch is primarily an Enterprise software, however it is available on Quest through the Oculus Store for £22.99 (or $29.99). This is part of our aim to support the wider creative community by giving you easy accessibility to the tool set.

Gravity Sketch is cross-buy on Oculus, so if you have already purchased it on the Oculus Store for your Rift, you will have full access on your Quest, and vice versa. If you have a VR capable PC, you will also be able to tether to your PC and run the PC version through your Quest, using the link cable from Oculus (some other USB cables also will work).

Should I still be interested in Quest if I’m an Enterprise user?

Absolutely! Our Enterprise customers have been piloting the new version of Gravity Sketch on Oculus Quest and are already seeing results. Ford Motor Company has reduced the length of the concept development in the design phases for a vehicle interior and exterior from four months to just 20 hours thanks to Gravity Sketch.

Michael Smith, Design Manager at Ford said “we realised we can get ourselves into the mind and virtual body of our customer” adding “because we’re operating on a human scale, we’re designing at a human scale. The vehicle is 1:1”. We now have several contracted automotive customers, and are speaking with more about the use of Gravity Sketch on Quest.

The launch of Gravity Sketch on Quest extends our growing partnership with Oculus, which saw them feature us at F8 (Facebook’s annual developer conference) in 2019 as one of the first enterprise tools to launch on Quest. Large companies interested in the commercial use of Gravity Sketch can also gain access through the Oculus For Business program.

Photo of Gravity Sketch being used on Automotive design by Michael Smith from Ford Motor Company
Gravity Sketch in use by Michael Smith, Ford Motor Company

Can I still export my designs to my computer and bring in reference images?

Yes — in addition to launching Gravity Sketch for Quest, we developed LandingPad, our cloud-based platform that enables you to store content and export your work from Gravity Sketch to any computer as CAD-ready data.

By creating a Landing Pad account, you can quickly sync your Quest and Landing Pad to access your design files and transfer them between your computer and VR headsets, just like using an external thumb drive. You can also share your designs with other Gravity Sketch users.

Landing Pad users currently benefit from 1GB free storage space, early access to new features, and free reference models and fonts.

LandingPad is continuing to be developed. You can read more about the features of the most recent update here.

How is Gravity Sketch different on Oculus Quest 2?

The Oculus Quest 2 provides a higher resolution and increased computing power than the first Quest. This does provide a clearer display, however the biggest differences for Gravity Sketch are due to the upgraded comfort and memory.

The Oculus Quest 2 provides a significant increase in memory. What this means for Gravity Sketch users is that you can bring in much bigger sketches and models than you could with a Quest 1, and experience no slowdown. With the Quest 1, we found that some users who really pushed the limits of the software would suffer from slight slowdown if their models because very large.

The controllers have also been changed for Quest 2. While of course there is always an element of personal preference for this, most of the Gravity Sketch team prefer the new controllers for sketching. The headset is also lighter, which increases the comfort during longer sessions.

Head over to the Oculus Quest store now and pick up a copy!

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