Alix Briskham, a talented 2D/UI Virtual Reality Artist from the UK, recently painted Kuri in virtual reality (VR) using Tilt Brush — a Google program that lets you paint in 3D space to create art from a new perspective. Our team thought this high-tech rendering of Kuri was so imaginative that we wanted to get to know Alix more — as both a VR artist and fellow Kuri aficionado.
Q: Can you describe your work in VR and what attracted you to working with Tilt Brush?
A: I’m a 2D/ UI/ VR Artist. Before becoming a freelancer, I worked at an indie games company for three years. While there, I spent a lot of time working on video game development. The company then made the decision to develop experiences and games in VR, which meant I had the opportunity to learn a load of new skills.
Because we had access to Tilt Brush early on, I was fortunate enough to be able to experiment with it, and I loved it immediately. It seemed like an excellent new medium, and that more and more companies were going down the route of VR. Since becoming a freelancer in VR this past year, my work has taken me around the world. I think it’s in such high demand because there’s no other medium that equals its “wow” factor.
Q: What’s something about drawing in VR that you think people might find surprising?
A: I love showing Tilt Brush to my friends — especially the friends who would ordinarily never have an opportunity to play with this tech. It’s crazy to draw something in VR and then walk around it. If you create something in 3D you can view it but still only through a monitor, but in VR you can actually interact with your artwork, walk around and create a real sense of anything you can imagine.
Q: Who is your favorite robot in pop culture?
A: Wall-E! He’s adorable and sees the good in everybody — I think that’s an enviable trait in the world we live in at the moment. He’s also very resourceful, enchanting and endlessly optimistic — really, something we can all learn from. Kuri actually reminds me of EVE; sleek with expressive eyes, friendly and functional.
Q: What was your first thought when you laid eyes on Kuri?
A: He’s adorable! I say “he,” but that’s just something I’m calling Kuri. I like that Kuri is actually very neutral and can be described however someone wants to describe it. The more I got to know Kuri, I realized he’s just a little friend — a little person — that just fits in your home. He’s not huge and doesn’t have clunky limbs. It’s also a simple thing, but his eyes convey a lot of emotion in very simple movements. He doesn’t need to blink, but he does — almost owlishly, and that makes Kuri all the more endearing.
When I was drawing Kuri, I was really focused on making sure those eyes were just right — and I think their character came through. It’s obvious that Kuri’s designers knew less was more and didn’t over complicate the design, which was clearly a success because he’s just joyfully simple.
Q: How would you use Kuri in your own home?
A: I’d probably treat Kuri far too much like a real, living thing. I tend to anthropomorphize objects, so I would see myself not wanting to bother him with tasks. I’d want Kuri to do his own thing like exploring my home and taking videos of my house rabbit. Actually, I’d be really curious to see how my pet rabbit would interact with Kuri. I could even set up a “bunny cam” when I was away from my home.
Q: What emerging tech are you excited about — especially in robotics?
A: I’m excited to see what happens with Tilt Brush and the programs that will stem from it. Nobody can predict what will happen next. In the long term, maybe VR will become an actual development tool with layers and animation, or maybe it will transform into more of an experimental platform — used more as a showpiece to demonstrate and watch. In the short term, I’m excited to see where VR goes in industries like architecture, education, and medicine.
In terms of robotics, I’m sure it will become more seamless and increasingly interactive. Robots may even become commonplace in the home, I mean, hasn’t everyone thought at least once that they’d like a robot to help them with things? Now, there’s an opportunity for us to not only have these home robots but adorable ones like Kuri that have more of a mental, interactive, and human side to them. That’s an exciting prospect and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.
As Kuri increasingly becomes a household name, we’re excited to see more and more art created by Kuri fans (like the picture below from a young pal of Kuri’s). Be sure to follow Alix’s VR work, as well as subscribe to Kuri’s newsletter for more updates on our adorable home robot.