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Apple Hires Developer of VR Painting App

Google has the Tilt Brush team, Apple has the developer of Cyber Paint: The Cupertino company recently hired Sterling Crispin, who previously built a painting app for mobile VR headsets, Variety has learned.

Crispin’s Cyber Paint app allows VR users to draw their own 2D and 360-degree pictures while wearing their headsets. The app is currently available for Oculus Go, Daydream, GearVR and Vive Focus, and was purpose-built with these mobile headsets in mind: “Cyber Paint is heavily optimized for mobile VR allowing for 4k 360° photosphere paintings and fluid simulation effects at 60 fps on 2015 era smart phones,” Crispin explains on his Linkedin page.

Crispin previously worked for DAQRI, a Los Angeles-based maker of augmented reality (AR) solutions for industry applications. More recently, he worked as a consultant for a variety of AR startups, and his work included “significant SDK development for a head mounted augmented reality device,” according to his Linkedin profile.

Apple hired Crispin in May as a prototyping researcher. The company didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but it’s no secret that Apple has been investing heavily into AR and VR development. Recent reports indicated that the company may be working on a combined AR / VR headset that could ship in 2020.

Crispin wouldn’t be the first hire with an artistic background to join Apple’s AR/VR team. Last month, Variety reported exclusively that the company had hired YouTube star Mark Rober as a product design engineer.

Cyber Paint is just one of a number of apps exploring drawing and creativity in VR. Best known among these apps is undoubtedly Tilt Brush, a 3D drawing app for high-end VR headsets that was acquired by Google in 2015.

Facebook-owned Oculus has a VR drawing and animation app of its own: Quill, which was developed by former Pixar technical director Inigo Quilez, has been used to create the animated VR short “Dear Angelica.”

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