Adobe is acquiring Oculus Medium, a virtual reality sculpting tool originally revealed by the Facebook-owned VR company in 2015. Nothing is apparently changing for now — an Oculus blog post notes that Medium will remain free for people with an Oculus VR system. But it suggests that Adobe will bring “more features, improvements, and other developments” to Medium in 2020.
Sébastien Deguy, Adobe’s 3D and immersive content head, says Medium will complement Adobe’s existing Substance app for 3D texturing. Medium was launched as a mass-market art tool, but as Oculus notes, it’s been used by game developers, concept artists, and other ideal Adobe customers.
Deguy and the Medium team both mention wanting to preserve Medium’s existing community. This would make sense in any context, but it’s especially important in VR, where the community is tiny and its users are responsible for figuring out how tools like Medium should be used at all.
Why is Oculus selling Medium? It could be Facebook scaling back its non-gaming VR efforts. But Medium is also slightly redundant for Oculus. The company also launched a professional-oriented art app called Quill, which was relaunched as Quill 2.0 in August with expanded animation capabilities. And where Quill is a 3D painting app in the style of Tilt Brush (which is owned by Google), Medium works a lot more like a traditional 3D modeling program, so it fits better with Adobe’s existing offerings. As for its impact on VR in general, it depends on where Adobe takes the product in 2020 — and how deeply it integrates Medium into its larger creative suite.