Ford and Gravity Sketch Debut 3-D Technology That Allows Designers to Work in the Same Virtual Reality Space

A Ford Motor Co. designer in Dearborn and another in Shanghai are able to work together in real time on a virtual reality 3-D design thanks to a program called Gravity Sketch with a feature named Co-Creation, developed by Gravity Sketch in collaboration with the automaker.
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Ford designer working with Gravity Sketch
Ford is the first automaker to work with Gravity Sketch, a 3-D virtual reality tool that enables designers to come up with more human-centric designs. // Image courtesy Ford Motor Co.

A Ford Motor Co. designer in Dearborn and another in Shanghai are able to work together in real time on a virtual reality 3-D design thanks to a program called Gravity Sketch with a feature named Co-Creation, developed by Gravity Sketch in collaboration with the automaker.

Ford is the first automaker to work with Gravity Sketch, a 3-D virtual reality tool that enables designers to create more human-centric vehicle designs. Designers trade in their sketchpads for a headset and controllers to become immersed in virtual reality, imitating gestural interactions through motion tracking that replicates sketching with pen and paper.

Designers can draw, rotate, expand, and compress a 3-D sketch. The Co-Creation feature allows multiple designers to engage in content creation, while making these real-time adjustments.

“The Co-Creation feature adds more voices to the conversation in a virtual environment, which results in more efficient design work that may help accelerate a vehicle program’s development,” says Michael Smith, design manager at Ford.

Consumer purchasing trends differ in each global region, meaning an attractive design in one region may not be as appealing in another. Co-Creation gives designers from different regions the opportunity to come together in one space and review a 3-D sketch to make important decisions earlier in the design process.

Gravity Sketch, combined with Co-Creation, allows designers to speed the process from weeks to hours, skipping the 2-D stage and working with a 3-D model from the beginning. Through Co-Creation, a designer can transfer to another designer’s point of view within virtual reality to see from his or her perspective. This is especially helpful when training other designers in Gravity Sketch.

“Our collaboration with Ford designers has enabled us to get immersed in their creative process and discover ways to help fine-tune this application to better suit their needs so they can build the best possible vehicles for their customers,” says Oluwaseyi Sosanya, co-founder and CEO of Gravity Sketch.

Across five global Ford design studios, dozens of interior and exterior designers now are experimenting with Gravity Sketch for workflow feasibility and its capability for real-time co-creation and collaboration. Shifting to a model that designs and evaluates in virtual reality could revolutionize the entire process by drastically reducing development time and allowing for more 3-D representations in the evaluation stage, the company says.

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