While painting in augmented reality is not a groundbreaking pursuit, the ability for Magic Leap One, iPhone and iPad, and Android users to collaborate remotely on virtual artwork would be.
That is what Across Realities is aiming to do with Spatiate, an app that launched on Thursday through Magic Leap World for $9.99. And soon, the app will also be made available on iOS and Android.
In its basic function of art creation, the app operates similarly to the myriad of ARKit apps, Google's cross-platform Just a Line, or the AR painting tool on Facebook.
However, due to its ability to connect online users in the same virtual environment, Spatiate also acts as a rudimentary AR telepresence tool as well. In addition to collaborating remotely, the 3D models produced within Spatiate sessions can be exported and published to content platforms like Sketchfab.
"Spatiate is an art creation tool, much like a crayon or a paintbrush, with the world as the canvas. It is an outlet for making freeform art within mixed reality and allows for endless experimentation of ideas. We love seeing what people are coming up with as they share their art online," said Kacey Weiniger, chief marketing officer for Across Realities, via a Magic Leap blog post. "As a communication tool, people can use Spatiate to collaborate and rapidly convey their ideas. In fact, we used these features to design the UX inside the app itself and have been holding our team meetings in there ever since."
The app has already garnered rave reviews from its beta testers through Magic Leap One.
"This medium of 'projected light' is what I have been waiting for as an artist for many years," said designer and consultant John Hanacek, who detailed his experience with the beta of Spatiate in a blog post.
"Unlike 3D modeling in a computer, we now have a medium that allows for 3D expression at the scale of being in a direct way. I will explore VR drawing as well, yet something about the mixed reality drawing is truly the most captivating. To draw with the world in this new way is hypnotic and beautiful as an experience, and the results are fascinating even at this early beta stage."
Across Realities was co-founded by Steve Lukas and Alexandria Heston, who were among the first members of Magic Leap's #LeapSquad online developer community and now fill the roles of developer relations and UX designer, respectively, at Magic Leap. When Lukas and Heston departed Across Realities for Magic Leap, the idea for Spatiate was continued via their #LeapSquad compatriots, with Andres Ornelas leading development.
Ornelas told Next Reality that iOS and Android will arrive in beta within the next few weeks, with a public release to follow. However, the company has its sights set on even broader compatibility and more apps.
"Our plan is to continue rolling out support for other platforms, as Spatiate is already prepped for deployment on most VR and AR devices. You may see a few more surprises along the way as we explore deeper partner integrations with the industry," said Weiniger. "Beyond that, we see a lot of potential for the AcrossXR platform to deliver more apps of this nature, focusing on collaboration, accessibility, and innovation in spatial computing. We're excited to bridge the gap between the high-end premium headsets and the greater mobile market, as we believe all immersive content should be made available across all realities."
Spatiate may not be the biggest Magic Leap release to date, however, its cross-platform compatibility represents a major milestone for those who believe that augmented reality needs to be device agnostic (rather than within a walled garden, such as the iOS-only multi-user protocol of ARKit 2.0), in order to succeed as a paradigm shift in computing.
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