Google ‘Blocks’ Update Matures Tools for Even Easier 3D Modeling in VR

Google Blocks, the 3D object creation tool for VR/AR app developers, just got a big update that includes new environments, improved object snapping, and a number of experimental features that the company says makes Blocks “more powerful and even easier to use.”

Released to Rift and Vive users for free back in July, Google intended the creation experience in Blocks be more akin to playing with children’s blocks than working with traditional 3D modeling software like Z-Brush or Blender. Giving you a simple set of shapes, a color palette, and a number of simple tools, the user can easily create objects from within VR that you can then export to a standard OBJ file for inclusion in other 3D creation software.

Now, Google has added a few more features to make creation a little more hassle free.

Background environments now include a night version of the desert environment, and also plain white and black background options. An improved snapping function has also been included, which the company says address the “often unpredictable or difficult to control” snapping tool from the previous build. The company says they’ve “vastly improved [their] snapping algorithm and introduced a brand new user experience to guide you.”

Google has also added a host of experimental features, many of which are responses to user requests. For more information on how to use each tool, check out Google’s official blog post announcing the update.

New Features

  • Non-coplanar face mode: Now you can enable non-coplanar faces to avoid creation of extra triangles.
  • Loop subdivide: Subdivision can be a really powerful tool. It’s even more powerful if you can cut a loop around an entire mesh. With loop subdivide enabled, simply long press on the trigger while subdividing to see a perfect subdivision loop form around your object.
  • Edge, Face and Vertex Deletion: With this feature enabled, you can use the eraser tool to delete a single edge, face or vertex. We’ll “collapse” the mesh based on the edge, face or vertex you delete.
  • Worldspace grids: This feature will show grids along every side of your worldspace. The grid units are equivalent to the actual worldspace grid units, so you can precisely measure and place objects along the grids.
  • Volume insertion ruler: This experimental feature allows you to enable a ruler when you are inserting a mesh. As you insert the object, you’ll see relative measurements in meters appear on each axis so you can precisely and accurately measure every object relative to the others.
  • Expanded mesh wireframe: When reshaping a mesh you see a helpful wireframe around the section of the mesh you are reshaping. Now, you can turn that wireframe on for the entire mesh.
  • Stepwise selection undo: You can now undo and redo steps in your multi-selection. You can use the undo and redo buttons on your non-dominant controller to undo or redo the selection of objects in order.

Check out Google Blocks on Oculus Home (Rift) and Steam (Vive and Rift).