Category Archives: VR and Interaction lab

Google Tilt Brush Competition

Are you willing to push your art skills to the limit by using them in 3D?

The Multimedia Virtual Reality and Interaction Lab is hosting a competition for all undergraduate Multimedia students to use Google Tilt Brush to create 3D artworks in Virtual Reality.

If you’ve never heard of Tilt Brush, check it out here.

The competition has two categories:

  • General: You can use any brushes and your sculptures can be any size. The winner will be the sculpture that is deemed most impressive and best-looking overall by the department. The winner of this category will receive R50 3D printing credit and their sculpture will be exhibited on the Multimedia blog.
  • 3D-printable: You can only use Tilt Brush’s Cartoon brush and the winner will be the sculpture that is deemed most impressive and best-looking while still being 3D-printable, as determined by the department. The winner of this category will receive a 3D printed version of their sculpture and their sculpture will be exhibited on the Multimedia blog.


  • You have a maximum of 50 minutes to create your artwork. This includes the time needed to acquaint yourself with the tools as well as the actual drawing time.
  • Sign up for the competition by booking a slot here. Use your name, surname and student number when making a booking.
  • Each person may only book 1 slot.
  • You may share your slot with 1 other person. In this case, only 1 person makes the booking on the Doodle and neither can make another booking later.
  • The department has the right to use your artwork for future marketing purposes



How do I enter?

Just book a slot on the link above. Your booking is your competition entry.

Do I decide beforehand which category I am entering?

You don’t need to decide. When your artwork is judged it will be placed into a category.

What is 3D printing credit?

This credit can be used to make 3D prints using the system available to all multimedia students at

How can I prepare for the competition ahead of time?

Watch YouTube videos on Tilt Brush and try to learn the layout of the controls.

What makes an artwork 3D printable?

You need to use Tilt Brush’s Cartoon brush as this creates models with strokes that have enough width and depth to be printable. The artwork should also avoid overhangs, as these have to be printed with supports.

Do I have to be good at drawing to do this?

No, although it would probably help you a bit. You just need to be creative. It’s a great experience and definitely worth trying out even if you don’t win.

Your lecturers in 3D – VRI Lab – 3D Scanner

As you know, we acquired a 3D scanner. Today, we had some time to play around with it, so we naturally decided to scan all of the Multimedia lecturers’ faces. Below you can view each of us in glorious 3D! Do you recognise your lecturers?

Update: Yes we printed them and added them to a little stand, just for kicks!



VRI Lab – 3D printing open to students

The VRI lab has expanded over the last few months. With the purchase of our own 3D printer as well as our acquisition of a second 3D printer from the MakerSpace we now have the capacity to print various sizes. We (and by “we” I mean Diffie Bosman) developed a queuing system to enable us to manage the printers and the models of the students.

The 3D printing queue system

The queuing system allows students to log on and upload an STL file. The students can also select the colour they want the model to be printed in. Currently the system is only usable by the honours students and the 3rd years as we are still streamlining the workflow. The uploaded file is then put through a slicer (software that changes the STL file into a format that the 3D printer can use – gcode). We use CURA as our primary slicer with two different profiles for our two 3D printers. This part of the process is done manually by one of the lecturers. The print is then added to the queue using the queuing system.

While the printing is done, students can view the printers working online. The URL for viewing the webcam feeds are only accessible while on the UP intranet (wired network). The students are charged a fee for the printing which includes material cost, an hourly rate (for printer maintenance and upgrades) as well as a handling fee (for miscellaneous purchases for the printers). The students get notified about the cost before hand but a minimum fee of R 10 is charged for each print.  The students are notified when the printing is done and can then collect their printing.

Managing the 3D printers

On the printer side of the process we use free software called Repetier that allows us to communicate with the printers remotely. Each printer has a webcam feed which allows us to check up on the prints. If something goes wrong the print can be stopped remotely. The software also allows use to upload the Gcode files directly to the printer and start the printing process remotely. This obviously requires the printer to be set up and be ready for the print to start.

Manual management of the printers are also required as the prints need to be removed from the printer. The print surface also needs to be cleaned after each print. On the large printer (The Robobeast – 350 x 350 x 300 build volume) we print on of masking tape that allows us to more easily remove the prints when they are done. The smaller printer (Duplicator – 200 x 200 x 180 build volume) has a heated build plate which also requires cleaning after each print.

Moving forward

With the 3D printing section of the VRI lab functioning we are planning to expand to our other undergraduate students. Currently most of the printing being done on the printers are by students seeing “what the printers can do” and testing the boundaries of 3D printing. This is evident in the amount of game related items, figurines and models . The honours students are using the printers mostly for prototyping for their final year projects. Below you can see some of the prints that was done up until now on our printers (click on the image to access the album).

VR and interaction lab – 3D printer / Google Photos

Project MYTUI – Development of a low cost 2.5D Shape display

This was an honours project  created by Paul Jordaan in 2015. The project produced both the prototype and a research paper. The aim of the project was:

“In order to expand research on tangible interfaces more HCI researchers need access to
working tangible interface systems. Since most tangible interfaces are still research based, they are generally very costly to produce and as such available to a limited group of researchers that have access to the necessary resources. This paper will discuss the design and development a prototype for a low cost 2.5D shape display based open source software and built with commercially available components.
By making shape displays and tangible interfaces more affordable and less complex, more
researchers will be able to build their own tangible interface and contribute to the field of

You can also watch the prototype in action below.