MasterpieceVR is pleased to announce the winner of the REMIX contest- Cody Rutty!

Last fall we released REMIX, our latest update that increases workflow productivity for creative professionals making 3D content in virtual reality. The update includes:

Rasterization: Convert any imported 3D models into an editable format. With the ability to access libraries of 3D models on Sketchfab and Google Poly.

Clay Oven: Select and convert any part of your MasterpieceVR creation into mesh objects that can be layered and built into complex characters and scenes in seconds. Quicker, scalable, flexible.

View Mode: Make your model polished with shadows, ambient occlusion, bloom, and 3-point lighting

The REMIX Contest invited participants to use our new stamp sets, make their own and create something amazing. Kitbashing without a set theme. We are wowed by Cody Rutty’s work! In addition, Cody Rutty's stamps will be uploaded to the MasterpieceVR archive so you work them too!

We teamed up with Loot Crate to offer the winner a one year subscription to their awesome monthly boxes! Thank you Loot Crate!

One of the Winning Pieces by Cody Rutty

About Cody Rutty

Cody Rutty (b. 1984, Pocatello, Idaho) is an artist living and working in Boise, Idaho. After studying architecture and virtual design at the University of Idaho he pursued fine art full-time since 2012. His work focuses heavily on technology as both an influence and mode of creation and he is best known for larger abstract works executed in traditional painting techniques. Rutty's work has been shown in galleries across the United States and can be seen in private and public collections around the world. He has been awarded several artist in residencies and is a winner of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and Idaho Commission on the Arts. Currently his work has a central focus of bridging the capabilities of virtual reality with visions from his practice as a painter as a way to both collaborate on and independently produce artistic experiences in the VR/AR realm.

We sat down with Cody Rutty and asked him about his work and thoughts on VR.

Hi Cody, first congratulations on being the winner of the REMIX Contest. Can you tell us about the three pieces you submitted?

Thank you. I’m honored and first want to say thanks to everyone who made things for the contest. The three pieces I submitted were based on stamp sets I made with a lean toward science-fiction and low-poly components. Making the stamps took the most time. I spent a few coffee hours making a list of about 200 stamps I wanted to create before modeling them. As soon as those were made, organized, and loaded, the construction in MasterpieceVR of the 3 models was the most fun I’ve ever had in VR. I made a fortress and two space ships. These three share the same modular building blocks and are related. I really wanted to make things things that you might want to go pilot or explore.

Dust+Storm+(with+Flags), Painting by Cody Rutty

You are painter by practice, can you tell us a little bit about where you studied and your thought process when making work?

Originally I went to college in my home state of Idaho for architecture. Then I switched to virtual technology and design. After three years I stopped going. I really wanted to paint full time and get going as an artist.

What steps did you take to reaching that goal?

Well, this led to several years of working various part-time jobs but eventually, about 7 years ago, I was able to go full time with painting. My thought process when making work feels like solving puzzles I don’t have the box for. I’m usually trying to ask questions like: ‘what haven’t I done before’ and ‘what’s the most unpredictable way I can go about attempting this’. I’m interested in challenging myself, even if it means making a lot of flightless birds. I take refuge in the fact that we all feel largely similar things from day to day, so I’m always aware of respecting that. So how do I tell you what you already know or feel? I see my pursuits as an artist being less about conveying those things and more about blasting and paving winding roads that examine how we get there. In a sense, if I’m not pulling my hair out at times and problem solving to cross the finish line I don’t consider the work as worthwhile or enjoyable. This leads to a lot of unexpected results and I’m never bored with waking up.

How did you start using VR?

A couple of years ago I was given a Google Cardboard at a VR event in Boise. I’ve always been enamored with computing, and VR was moving rapidly. When I got home, that was the first time I was able to experience VR without distractions or any time constraints. I spent a lot of time in Cardboard. Then I started to study Unity to make an experience for it and published that to Google Play. Of course then I thought it would be awesome to have a Vive to add more interaction and immersiveness, so after an art teaching job back East I was able to foot that money on my VR setup. Since then it’s been just a crazy dive into VR mostly revolving around learning what’s possible with software and trying to best anticipate what’s accessible in terms of the future of computation and VR.

What do you like about MasterpieceVR?

There are a number of VR programs I’ve used, and I usually try to test-break something or at least take it apart when first using it in an attempt to see its contours and boundaries. MasterpieceVR was the first program of its kind that I immediately felt empowered and challenged by its effectiveness.

I had a ‘whoa’ moment very early on.

There isn’t a process-oriented ceiling of operations and it puts the focus on the user to make the most of its potential. I forget that I’m in there. I like how the toolset is not focused on a singular feature. It has a balanced and dispersed interface that feels like unlocking levels in a game without having to beat unnecessary bosses. There’s a great relationship to explore between the clay and mesh tools. I love the scalability of the stamp ecosystem and being able to change the shape of the clay brush. That makes for some really neat and unexpected combinations. To me, MasterpieceVR bridges the often uncomfortable divide between the raster and the vector mentalities by allowing the user to take advantage of mixing both within the same compatible workspace. It’s like a 3D-VR  marriage of Photoshop and Illustrator. I love how you can get as granular and detailed as you want while mentally managing a feasible superstructure. To me it’s a very comfortable environment in which the challenge isn’t the software, it’s your imagination. I like that it doesn’t make things look better than they are, an issue I’ve encountered with other programs upon export. There’s a direct 1:1 appearance and I absolutely love ability to combine parts of projects together. It feels like everything I do in there has multiple uses.

How does your painting methodology influence how you make in MPVR?

This is something I’m still figuring out. I’m making things in VR that surprise me, and making things outside of VR that are influenced by that surprise. I’d like to say for the first time I’m able to extrapolate a 2D mythos and universe into the flexible canvas of a 3D environment, even though the results happen to be things I couldn’t predict. Not that I’m able to really predict how a painting will turn out, but it’s such a huge difference in capabilities and setting, working in VR.

When I take what I make in MasterpieceVR into a 2D render setting, the results look like something I would paint. It certainly has that feel to it, almost like the paintings now have a corollary to bridge that one added dimension. So it’s surprising to me and fascinating how there isn’t a bottleneck in medium. I like to work with lines and facets with flat traditional art. So now I’m able to work with structure and environment as extensions and study the relationships.

What are you making in MPVR these days?

After the remix contest and seeing that capability I’ve been working on the train of thought behind using simple constituent pieces to build more complex forms. This is something I wouldn’t have the touch or intuitive control over in classical 3D modeling software. The ability to construct vastly different outcomes with the same building blocks is something that’s been consuming most of my work within MasterpieceVR lately. It’s just like the proverbial infinite dispensary of Lego. Any kid wants an infinite amount of Lego. Making your own shapes is exhilarating. I guess what I’m working on is finding the right language to further develop a visually varied but cohesive architecture for interactive VR experiences. I’m also just practicing a lot of environmental designs with the clay and paint feature to bring into game engines.

How has VR helped your workflow? What other programs do you use?

How has VR helped your workflow? What other programs do you use?

VR has taken some constraints off of how I am able to conceptualize and 3D model ideas. The ability to rapidly see and edit a thought has irreversibly altered how the thoughts then come into being. Without having to move a mouse around and worry about coordinating locations of placing components on a screen I’m able to move much, much faster and iterate with a greater leverage on my experience in painting and drawing. Until VR it felt so much more arduous to express anything in 3D. When I draw it’s natural and fast. VR has unlocked that same movement and gesture with 3D. I use a few programs and try to at least test every program I can. So currently I’m really into MasterpieceVR, Gravity Sketch, TiltBrush, Tvori, ShapeLab, SculptrVR, Blocks, and am just about to start tackling a few Oculus programs through ReVive such as Quill and Medium. Outside of VR I’m really kind of obsessed with trying to wrap my head around Houdini, but mainly operate with Blender, Maya. I also do a lot of work with Mandelbulb3D, Golly, StructureSynth and play a lot of online Chess.

Where do you think VR is headed?

That’s a big question and I could bore you with my opinions. Seriously bore you to death. Mix some artificial intelligence in there and you’d stop texting me back. But I do know some personal qualities with VR that have changed my life. I’m able to make things I couldn’t make otherwise, which is very interesting on a base level, and I am constantly seeing phenomenal creativity erupting from VR-based programs. It’s additionally important to consider that some of what’s being made is coming from people who aren’t technically-oriented or have lengthy backgrounds in CG. It’s apparent that there’s a latent art and design proficiency being unlocked to a large group of people who might not know the first thing about traditional programs like ZBrush or 3DS Max but who are able to use VR and sculpt and model things now that are just incredible. I think the barrier to entrance for expressing ideas is wonderfully reduced. I know this is true for me. Also, I’ve had artist friends over to use VR and they just immediately kind of get it and are off to the races unlocking ideas. By the time I’m saying ‘press the trigger to-’ it’s already become their world, their work. It’s remarkable. I think VR is on the plateau of a large S curve, and that adoption is slow despite the cost. But I think the important thing maybe isn’t where VR is heading as much as the fact that more and more people are heading into VR and leveraging its potential in meaningful ways. I’d like to think it gives a voice to some people who otherwise didn’t have the right tools, and has the power to grant access to a global community that may be looking for the those voices while having access to the right tools for change. I do think that increases in computation will create a very startling first-experience to those who haven’t experienced the foundations of VR, like being dunked in a pool of orange juice before ever having tasted an orange.

What does 2019 have in store?

Collaboration is something I’m really hoping for. I’m also gearing up to release my first VR experience to Steam and have a new body of work with painting that’s almost ready to put out into the world. Mostly I just want to get stronger with some of these tools and make some things that weren’t there in 2018.

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