Adobe Productizing Oculus Medium Acquisition As ‘Substance 3D Modeler’

Back in 2019, Adobe acquired the Oculus Medium PC VR sculpting tool and made it free. Adobe just launched a new ‘Substance 3D’ suite of creation tools, and Medium is evolving to become Substance 3D Modeler.

Oculus Medium started development in 2014 as an internal showcase of the potential of positionally tracked controllers.

Oculus Touch controllers were shown at dozens of trade shows & conferences in 2015 and 2016, with Medium being the demo of choice for creatives. We first tried it at Oculus Connect 2, declaring the experience “the future of creativity”.

When the Touch controllers finally shipped in December 2016, Medium was one of the pack-in titles. HTC Vive owners could purchase it for $30 and run it using the tool ReVive.

Medium was always pitched as a serious creation tool for professionals, with the team making it clear they wouldn’t downgrade the software to make it run on the mobile Oculus Quest. Instead, it was bundled for free with the PC-based Rift S.

As Facebook’s focus shifted from PC to standalone, Medium’s future became less clear. In December 2019, Adobe announced the acquisition of Medium – and much of the team behind it – from Facebook.

Nine months later, Adobe renamed the software ‘Adobe Medium’ and made it available for free to all. It will remain on the Oculus Rift Store for free.

Adobe now plans to productize an evolved vision of Medium as ‘Substance 3D Modeler’. A private beta is now beginning. Unlike Medium, Substance 3D Modeler will also support non-VR interaction:

“Modeler uses a VR interface to recreate the natural, organic feeling of sculpting clay with your hands and it lets you interact with your model on the desktop so you can leverage the precision of mouse and tablet controls.”


Substance 3D Suite

While Substance 3D Modeler is launching in the future, the wider Substance 3D Collection consisting of four desktop tools is launching today.

Adobe acquired Allegorithmic in December 2019, including its IP & team. Substance 3D Designer & Substance 3D Painter are based on Allegorithmic’s products of similar names.

Adobe says Allegorithmic’s tools were used in “the vast majority of AAA game titles, including Half Life Alyx and Microsoft Flight Simulator“.

Substance 3D Sampler lets you create materials from real world objects, or combine existing materials from Adobe’s library.

Substance 3D Designer lets you create dynamic textures & materials using graphs.

Substance 3D Painter is used to apply textures and materials to 3D models.

Substance 3D Stager lets you position models in a scene, apply realistic lighting, and render images from the created scene. It replaces Adobe Dimension.

There’s no price announced yet for Substance 3D Modeler, given that the software is still in a beta testing release, but the rest of the Substance 3D Collection is priced starting at $39.99 per month at the time of this writing.

“3D is the next generation of creativity,” said Scott Belsky, Chief Product Officer, Executive Vice President – Creative Cloud, in a prepared statement.

Adobe AR Concept Syncs Digital Notes To Physical Documents

Adobe shared a new concept they called ‘Dually Noted‘, which uses AR to allow for seamless collaboration when editing a document simultaneously across physical and digital versions. The tool syncs notes so they can appear on the physical version of a document via AR.

The concept was presented as part of a series called Adobe Sneaks, which showcase innovative, proof-of-concept projects in the works at Adobe. These concepts will not necessarily make it to a full release, however, viewers can vote online for their favorite Adobe Sneak project, in the hopes that it might be worked on further.

Dually Noted uses AR to synchronize notes and edits between digital and physical copies. The tool allows for notes made in Adobe Acrobat on a PDF to be linked to a physical copy of the document and displayed in AR using your mobile phone.

dually noted adobe ar concept

For example, if an author and a publisher are collaborating on the final review of a book, the publisher can make annotations on the PDF digital copy and the author can then view those annotations overlaid on the physical copy while they proofread. This means that you can mark and review documents physically while also using your phone to check for any notes that were made digitally.

However, the app also then allows the AR user to reply to notes on their phone, which get synced back into the digital copy of the document. Plus, AR can be used to highlight and comment on sections of text as well. This takes the best of both worlds — allowing for physical proofing and eliminating the need to also open up a digital copy on your computer just to see a few notes that pertain to certain pages.

You can watch the full Adobe presentation on Dually Noted here. If you like Dually Noted and want to see it worked on further, head over to the Adobe Sneaks event page on Twitter and like the Dually Noted tweet to vote for the project.

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Adobe Acquires Facebook’s ‘Oculus Medium’ VR Sculpting Tool

Facebook today announced that Adobe—the company behind industry-leading creative tools like Photoshop, Premiere, and Substance—has acquired Oculus Medium, the company’s VR sculpting tool.

Oculus Medium launched back in 2016 alongside the company’s Touch motion controllers, and began as an exploration of how VR could be useful beyond gaming and entertainment.

3D modeling on a computer is notoriously abstract compared to working with a physical medium; with VR’s unique, one-to-one perspective and input, Oculus set out to make a ‘sculpting’ tool which would feel more like working with clay in the real world than drawing primitive shapes and vertices with a mouse.

At launch Medium included a range of tools for making and forming 3D volumes. Models could also be ‘painted’ with spray paint-like control. The app also supported exporting of models so that they could be refined in other common 3D modeling and texturing tools, and ultimately used in production projects like games and films. Oculus continued to expand the app as VR’s potential for this sort of modeling work became increasingly clear. A Medium ‘2.0’ update launched in 2018, overhauling performance, UI, and tools.

Today Facebook announced that Adobe has acquired Medium; the price of the acquisition was not disclosed. Adobe is promising “continuity in the way [existing Medium users] access and experience the tool;” it remains available on the Oculus Store and will continue to be free for new activations of Oculus Touch.

What Will Happen to Medium Next?

Adobe says it “can’t wait to work with this community to keep Medium growing and improving,” so at least outwardly, the company is signaling that this isn’t a mere talent acquisition which would threaten to deprecate Medium and absorb its developers into other Adobe projects. Rather, Adobe says it plans to align the Medium team with its Substance team to “work together on the next generation of 3D tools” (Substance is a  3D tool widely used by game developers, which itself was acquired by Adobe in early 2019). This makes it sounds like Adobe wants to make Medium’s functionality part of the company’s broader 3D modeling offerings.

In the announcement shared by Oculus, the Medium team is calling this “a new chapter” for the tool, and says that users should “stay tuned for more features, improvements, and other developments coming from Adobe in 2020 as Medium continues to evolve.”

Who Wins?

At least from the outside, this actually looks like a win-win-win for Facebook, Medium, and Adobe. Medium has demonstrated itself as a unique and powerful creative tool, but this kind of product is quite far removed from Facebook’s core business; Medium‘s ultimate potential may have been stifled by a lack of interest from the parent company, and in a worst-case scenario, Mediumlike Oculus Story Studio—might have been wound down and left to fade from existence. Rather than let that happen, Facebook found a way to let the project go without killing it outright.

Adobe’s entire business, on the other hand, is about making tools which empower artists and creators to produce great works. While the company’s foundation is in photography, videography, and print, in recent years it has clearly recognized opportunities in the 3D realm and has worked to aggressively expanded in that direction by building new tools—like Dimensions and Aero—and making acquisitions of companies like Mixamo, Allegorithmic (Substance), and now Medium. Under Adobe, Medium has a home where it could reach its true potential—becoming a core part of the 3D production pipeline—rather than a niche VR app.

What About Quill?

The news of this acquisition can’t help but turn eyes toward Quill, another Facebook-owned VR art tool with origins very similar to Medium.

Though they seem similar on the surface, Medium focuses primarily on a clay-like sculpting approach to 3D modeling while Quill is borrows more from the art of illustration, painting, and animation (even though it’s ultimately a 3D tool).

Oculus Artist's 'Quill' Shorts Show the Incredible Potential of Illustrating & Animating in VR

Quill was not mentioned in today’s announcement of Medium’s acquisition, but it’s hard to imagine that Quill isn’t in a similar position with regards to Facebook (a company which doesn’t seem to have a core business interest in helping Quill reach its ultimate potential as a powerful creative tool). If anything, the Medium acquisition seems to set the stage for some serious discussions about the future of Quill, and we wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar spin-out of the tool and team in 2020.

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Adobe Acquires Oculus Medium Sculpting App From Facebook

Adobe is the new home for the Oculus Medium sculpting app that originally launched three years ago from Facebook with the Oculus Touch tracked controllers.

The surprising move raises intriguing questions about the ongoing strategies in VR and AR by some of the world’s largest creative and technology companies. Medium was seen as a groundbreaking sculpting app on the PC-based Rift headset when it launched and has been updated a number of times over the last three years.

A blog post from Sebastien Deguy, former CEO of Allegorithmic and now Adobe vice president of its 3D and immersive efforts after the acquisition of the company and its Substance tools last year, describes Medium’s “shaping as something we’d love to tackle. The redoubled investment of Adobe in the 3D and AR space finally allowed us to join forces and bring our complementary talents together. The Substance and Medium teams are ready to work together on the next generation of 3D tools.

According to a tweet from the Substance Twitter account, and supported by additional tweets from Medium team members, “Several members of the Medium team are moving to Adobe.”

The addition of Medium to Adobe’s range of creative tools gives the company a custom engine that can maximize visible detail while sculpting and may strengthen Adobe’s position offering a suite of creative tools for VR and AR creators.

The move raises intriguing questions also about the future of other creative VR tools, like the animation and 3D drawing app Quill at Facebook, as well as the Blocks and Tilt Brush tools at Google.

What do you think of the acquisition? Please share in the comments.

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Adobe Acquires Oculus’ Sculpting App Medium

Ever since the Oculus Touch controllers were first made available in December 2016 Oculus has ensured they can aid creativity thanks to homegrown apps like Medium. A piece of sculpting software which has built a reputation as an important professional design tool, today Adobe has announced the acquisition of Medium.

Known for its suite of design apps like Photoshop, Illustrator, Dimension, Substance and many more, Adobe is one of the world leaders when it comes to software tools for creative professionals. The addition of Oculus Medium into that family certainly demonstrates its importance as a VR tool to enhance productivity across a range of use cases.

“Medium has been a beacon of creativity in the VR space, pushing creative and technical boundaries of 3D modelling,” says Sebastien Deguy, VP, 3D and Immersive at Adobe in a blog post. “The creative tool enables users to sculpt, model and paint in an immersive environment – to easily create characters, objects, environments, expressive works of art and more. The integration of Medium’s tools and technology will greatly contribute to our 3D and immersive strategy.”

While it certainly marks a turning point in Oculus Medium’s life cycle this will cast doubt over its future as a freely accessible VR app – even though it’s sold on the Oculus Store for £22.99 GBP, Medium is free with every Oculus Touch, which comes supplied with every new Oculus Rift S. The Oculus Blog does mention: “To our passionate Medium users, nothing is changing for you today. Stay tuned for more features, improvements, and other developments coming from Adobe in 2020 as Medium continues to evolve.”

Oculus Medium

“During my time at Allegorithmic (acquired by Adobe in January 2019), we’ve always looked up to Medium and seen shaping as something we’d love to tackle. The redoubled investment of Adobe in the 3D and AR space finally allowed us to join forces and bring our complementary talents together. The Substance and Medium teams are ready to work together on the next generation of 3D tools,” Deguy adds.

So there will be changes to Medium in 2020, let’s just hope they help to widen adoption. As further updates are made available, VRFocus will let you know.

Adobe kauft Allegorithmic für AR und VR in der Creative Cloud

Wie Adobe mitteilt, hat das Unternehmen Allegorithmic übernommen. Allegorithmic hatte zuvor das Substance Toolset für Texturen und Materials entwickelt und zeigte auf der Oculus Connect 5 ein VR-Tool, welches ein schnelles Wechseln zwischen VR- und Desktop-Ansicht ermöglicht, um das Erstellen von 3D-Objekten einfacher zu gestalten.

Adobe kauft Allegorithmic für AR und VR in der Creative Cloud

Substance Adobe

Es ist nicht bekannt, welche Summe Adobe auf den Tisch legen musste, jedoch sagt das Unternehmen, dass Virtual Reality und Augmented Reality immer wichtiger werden und das Substance Teil der Creative Cloud werden soll. Das Besondere an dem VR-Modus von Substance ist, dass alle Desktop-Tools auch in der Virtual Reality direkt und nahtlos verwendet werden können.

“Wir sehen einen zunehmenden Appetit der Kunden, die 3D-Technologie in den Bereichen Medien, Unterhaltung, Einzelhandel und Marketing zu nutzen, um vollständig eindringliche Erlebnisse zu entwerfen und zu liefern”, sagte Scott Belsky, Chief Product Officer und Executive Vice President von Creative Cloud, in einer vorbereiteten Erklärung. “Creative Cloud ist die Kreativplattform für alle und Substance-Produkte sind eine natürliche Ergänzung zu bestehenden Creative Cloud-Anwendungen, die bei der Erstellung immersiver Inhalte wie Photoshop, Dimension, After Effects und Project Aero verwendet werden.”

Aktuell ist nicht klar, wie es um den Support der bisher verkauften Produkte in der Zukunft aussehen wird.

(Quelle: Upload VR, Allegorithmic)


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Adobe Acquires Allegorithmic For AR/VR Creative Cloud

Adobe Acquires Allegorithmic For AR/VR Creative Cloud

Adobe announced the acquisition of Allegorithmic, makers of the Substance toolset for textures and materials.

Allegorithmic also built a hybrid VR tool demonstrated at Oculus Connect 5 that allowed easy switching between desktop and VR modes so that 3D content creators can easily get a look at their work in a VR headset with access to all the same panels and UI elements from the desktop version.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. A press release announcing the acquisition references VR and AR as becoming “more critical” to brands and that the Substance tools will be integrated as part of “new offerings” in Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite of subscription software tools.

“We are seeing an increasing appetite from customers to leverage 3D technology across media, entertainment, retail and marketing to design and deliver fully immersive experiences,” said Scott Belsky, chief product officer and executive vice president for Creative Cloud, in a prepared statement. “Creative Cloud is the creativity platform for all and Substance products are a natural complement to existing Creative Cloud apps that are used in the creation of immersive content, including Photoshop, Dimension, After Effects and Project Aero.”

Project Aero is Adobe’s AR authoring tool. The company also built 360 video tools into its Premiere editing product and has shown other experimental VR and AR tools.

Adobe’s creative tools are industry standard for many designers and artists, so if Substance becomes part of new Creative Cloud tools and software subscriptions from the company, the acquisition could play a part in accelerating VR and AR software creation.

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Adobe Launches AR Creation Tool ‘Project Aero’ For Creative Cloud

Adobe released a powerful new AR editing & creation tool, currently named ‘Project Aero’. The key feature of Aero that sets it apart from similar projects is its direct 1st party integration with Adobe’s popular Creative Cloud suite, which millions of creators already use and love.

This article was originally published on October 17, 2018. The tool is now publicly available for download on iOS devices after more than a year in beta. There have been no updates on Aero’s availability on other platforms. 

Creators can instantly export their 2D or 3D content from Photoshop CC to Aero. They then simply open the Aero app on their iPad and they can view the content in real dimensions in real space, leveraging Apple’s ARKit framework for high quality positional tracking.

Aero might ultimately become a tool used to prototype AR content, to create AR experiences, or it could be used as a visualization tool for creators making 3D designs of objects that will become physical. For example, a furniture designer could use Aero to rapidly see how their new chair would look in a physical room, and then adapt their design based on how it looked.

Project Aero brings Adobe Creative Cloud projects into AR

Right now Project Aero is iOS only, however Adobe tell us the “vision is to bring Project Aero to additional platforms and devices in the future.” Google’s ARCore SDK provides the same general ease to integrate high quality AR tracking for Android devices, but very few tablets have support for ARCore. Most Android tablet manufacturers use mid-range chips and low-quality rear cameras while Apple tends to use high end components. The result is that even the $329 iPad base model is able to support AR.

Project Aero is clearly in its early stages, but Adobe believes that it will help to push AR forward, helping to solve the issue of lack of compelling AR content by letting the many Creative Cloud users of the world use a toolset with which they are already comfortable.

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Adobe Introduces AR Authoring Tool

Adobe is not a name you might normally associated with augmented reality (AR), but they’ve certainly changed that in recent weeks. Their latest update is the introduction of Project Aero, a multi-platform AR authoring tool.

The company says that the new tool will allow creators to design immersive content that can be published on the web or on VR and mobile devices.

Adobe are also working with Apple and animation company Pixar to add usdz support Adobe Creative Cloud app and service. This will allow designers to create AR content using popular creative tools such as Photoshop CC and Dimension CC. Creators will be able to use the usdz support to convert assets into a form that can be published natively within the Apple ecosystem.

On Adobe’s blog, the company stated: “At Adobe, our mission has always been to push the limits of creativity, and continuously innovate to support exciting new mediums. Apple is building a leading platform for augmented reality, and we are incredibly happy to announce that we are working with them to help designers and developers create these incredible AR experiences.”

Adobe is also collaborating with fifteen artists to create an immersive art exhibition which will be on display at The Festival of the Impossible, a celebration of artwork that will take place in San Francisco from 8th-10th June, 2018. Further information on this event can be found on the official website.

In a statement on its blog, Adobe said: “AR content development today also requires a combination of creativity and technical skills. Project Aero will deliver a system for both developers and creatives to build simple AR scenes and experiences leveraging Apple’s ARKit. Designers can easily create immersive content that can then be brought into Xcode for further refinement and development.”

For future coverage on new AR and VR projects and services, keep checking back with VRFocus.