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April 2, 2019

Studio Visit - Ali Mitchell

A chance to find out what is useful, of interest, and moving these VR creators

Object Design by Ali Mitchell

For this studio visit we sat down with a true champion on VR. Ali Mitchell is a leader of VR in her community and is all about bring more people into the fold of art, creativity, and virtual reality.


Hi Ali, where are you based and what do you do?

I am an artist that lives and works out of Salt Lake City, Utah. I hold two bachelor’s degrees in Painting and Drawing as well as Art History, and I have been selling my paintings for the last 10 years. Now, at 25 I own a virtual reality art studio (www.apxrmultimedia.com) where I work on various projects and collaborations.

What kind of projects does APXR Multimedia work on?

At the studio some of our projects include creating custom VR station for events, modeling and 3D printing virtual sculptures from Masterpiece VR, teaching art classes using VR modeling, and architectural concepting with VR modeling.

APXR Multimedia Studios, VR Installation

How did you get into VR?

I first started using VR by incorporating Google Earth VR tours into fine arts exhibitions. We put together an event for the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance whose goal is to protect and preserve Utah Wild land. Most everyone is familiar with Bears Ears National Monument after this past year. We worked with SUWA to create a stunning VR tour of the lands that they were hoping to protect. It illustrated the consequences of oil drilling on protected sites. We received such great feedback from this event that why we developed APXR Multimedia. A company to create custom VR artwork and Entertainment. From there, we have set out to test the capabilities of VR to expand our ability to design, create, and share our vision.

What is the most exciting part of using MasterpieceVR?

Masterpiece VR is one of our favorite design tools. Using this tool we have been able to take drawings and sketches into VR and back into the real-world with 3D printed objects within hours. This kind of turn around time is absolutely impossible in traditional media like ceramic. I enjoy the ability to scale objects and design a sculpture at the size of a house which will ultimately be printed and finished at 2 inches.

Do you have a background with 3D programs?

I have never learned how to 3D model objects in CAD programs. With MasterpieceVR I can create complex 3D modeled objects in minutes. We really enjoy the object libraries, the clone and stamps tool, the ability to import reference images and objects, as well as the ability to model by hand.

Where is your focus these days when you are in VR?

My favorite thing to do in VR is sculpting in MasterpieceVR. I am in love with the ability to easily and quickly create real world objects with literally no resistance. In MPVR I can create complex 3d sculptures of drawings and sketches that I create in minutes. These sculptures clearly show my hand and my movements to make them but I don’t have to spend hours or weeks hand sculpting. I am able to create works at such an amazing pace! It’s unbelievable how easy it is to create what would be the most masterful sculptures in any other medium. We have used this to create a whole variety of objects including masks, jewelry, fine art sculpture and homewares.

Object Design by Ali Mitchell

What are you working on over the next year?

We have also opened an online store where we are selling our sculptures... so we hope to get some traffic to this in the near future!

As masterpieceVR continues to add more object file stamps into its object library the ability to quickly sculpt with already modeled parts is going to be great. We are currently working with local architecture firms where we create concept sketches in MPVR. We will also continue to use MPVR to create 3D modeling landscapes for international wildlife non-profits so we can tell stories about their sanctuaries around the globe. We are really hoping to get our hands on some ceramic and metal printers too.


6. Where do you think VR is headed?

We are really excited for VR to gain a higher resolution and better shared virtual spaces. The ability to share and model a VR sculpt with someone across the globe in real time is going to totally change the way that we communicate and design. We are super stoked for AR tech to integrate into how we display and share our artwork. Also, as the resolution improves in programs like MPVR it’s going to be easy to obtain the quality of dimensioning that can be sent over to a manufacturer...  cutting out the computer and keyboard interface all together! It is our hope that design building will be as easy as playing with building blocks and that fabricating objects can be a  done totally at home cutting out the massive energy and resource intake of our current product and consumer market and hopefully seriously reducing our carbon emissions!

What was your top take away from studying painting and drawing/ art history that you still use in your VR practice today?     

Honestly, the basics.The same basic principles of design are the same on paper as they are in a 3D modeling. Because I can draw in real-time, I can make quick instinctual design designs with a flick of my hand. For me, the ability to supersede traditional mediums, to never have to worry about clay crumbling, or ink spilling means I can be less worried about the physical resistance of material and focus more on the design.

Thanks for your time Ali!

Check out her process in the video:

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