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Disney animator uses HTC Vive VR headset to recreate his characters

VR art

Right now VR seems the bright, exciting future of games. But while we focus heavily on what it will be like to explore worlds as if we actually exist within them, other industries are thinking of completely different uses. Glen Keane, an animator who worked for Disney for forty years, is excited to see where VR will take animation. 

Keane created Disney’s Little Mermaid, Tarzan, Duet, and Beauty and the Beast. In the video above, he uses a HTC Vive headset and controllers to step into a virtual reality studio and draw his most famous creations. The difference between working with a sketchbook and working in VR is that you can easily draw characters life-size, and Keane proceeds to sketch out a massive Ariel in 3D space. The character can be turned and rotated, allowing Keane to sketch her almost as a sculpture, rather than a flat image.

“Making art in three dimensional space is an entirely new way of thinking for any artist,” says Keane. “What does this mean for storytelling?”

Unfortunately Keane doesn’t answer his own question, so who knows where VR will take the artists of the future. But the idea of using the equipment for more than games – or perhaps even using VR to create the art that is used for VR games – is interesting and exciting. If nothing else, VR is clearly making splashes in wider circles than just games.