vCAD In Action: Anna Zhilyaeva & Tiltbrush

Anna Zhilyaeva is an amazing artist who works in a variety of mediums- including Tiltbrush. At the VR Awards this year, she painting a piece, via Tiltbrush, to a musical performance and with a live audience. Anna tried out vCAD with some of her artwork and here are the results!

Anna at the 2017 VR Awards, painting "Four Seasons"

When did you start working with Tilt Brush?

I first discovered Tilt Brush through a video presentation on YouTube last February. I got swept off my feet, and at first I couldn't even believe that this amazing stuff was available for everybody. I was immediately convinced that this was what I want to do. I ordered Vive the very next day, and when I was done setting up a few days later I started experimenting.

What drew you to this medium?

There are just so many creative possibilities. The first thing that caught my attention was that creating work in Tilt Brush is similar to painting with oil. I've always dreamt of having an easier way to transport and store canvas and paint. VR is the perfect solution; you can draw immensely large works, and they only need the space on your hard drive. Fantastic. So I took my real world paintings and extended them to the virtual space.

Shortly before I had made a series of acrylic paintings enhanced with Arduino sensor controlled lights. Bringing that work into VR made it possible to demo how the final effect of the work would be, without having to make a full installation at an exhibition space.

But I made lots of new works too, of course. At the time I had fairy tales and Greek mythology on my mind, so I did some "scary" stuff : A Minotaur, the house of Baba Yaga and Medusa. I did some experiments superimposing the real world on the virtual; for example "meet the cats from both worlds."

Of course, soon I wanted to find out how large a Tilt Brush work actually can be. So I drew an underwater world of more two hundred meters, complete with jellyfish, castle, pan and Mother Nature.
I really like to combine Blocks with Tilt Brush. It allows you to create forms really quickly in one program, and bring them to life in another.

My YouTube channel has around 50 works made in VR of different styles and techniques:

How would you describe your artistic style?

For now I just keep on experimenting. My works have a pretty wide range. But I guess I am still influenced by traditional painting with lot of nuance of colours. Artists never stop creating, and they're never satisfied with what they do. The style is always in flux with new ideas. I view the artist job as to create new experience that induces emotion and inspires others.

Of course it's important to have your own identity and style. But the more important, it’s just to keep on working and creating, trying new things.

What are your top 5 favourite pieces?

1) "Above and under water"
This is my biggest work till now. I divided the painting into a few parts to be able to show it on YouTube. It was the first time I tested so many different brushes to apply transparency and various other effects.

2) "Fire"
One of a series called "Women spirit" dedicated to diversity of beauty.

3) "Funny Bunny"
I'm soft on funny stuff. One of my AnimVR animations.

4) "Infinity"
One of a series of works that I'm still developing – It combines acrylic painting, Arduino and Tilt Brush.

5) "Tilt Brush on Real Canvas"
I still like the idea of augmenting real world paintings in VR. I like the way it breathes new life into my old work.

What was it like to experience with vCAD?

It's easy to use. People get the general idea with the presentation photo, and then can go on to check the 3D model if they wish. I think it's great, and I'm thankful for their efforts and enthusiasm. It's not easy starting up something new, and I would really like to encourage people to support vCAD.

Does it provide a different or new perspective to your work?

Artists need an audience. We need feedback on what we do. We need to be inspired by other artists. vCad is about bringing the community even closer, and provide a new way to present your work.

What other types of art do you do?

I make book illustrations, usually in watercolour, sometimes in Photoshop. I also continue traditional canvas work; acrylic, oil and installations.

I've worked as a 2D and 3D designer before, and also done animations for film. I'm writing a series of educational books with illustrations, to help people study drawing, painting, perspective, anatomy and manga.

.... and I dance tango and do martial arts.

What do you love about VR and 3D?

I like the enthusiasm of people about VR. It is a whole other dimension of creativity, it gives unprecedented liberty of expression, size and place. You aren't even bound to a physical geographical location to do the work, or even to visit an exhibition (if it's virtual). It really brings us together across borders on a different scale.

I also love that you can almost touch your own brush strokes, and even paint with fire and light. It's incredible, and it's just the beginning. There's still so much to do and to discover.

What projects do you have planned next?

Right now I'm preparing live performances. I'm also working on a 360° short movie I draw in Tilt Brush. I wrote some scenarios over the years that I'd like to realize in VR or with plasticine. And of course I'll continue to show works on my YouTube channel.

What would you like to see different or improved with the vCAD functionality?

It would be nice if we could rotate 3D models more easily around their Y axis (change the centre of rotation). Also, some brushes are not rendering well yet, but I'm sure this will get better with time.


Follow Anna on Social Media:
Twiiter: @AnnaDreamBrush
Instagram: @anna_dreambrush