Take an infrared selfie and post it @LeapMotion #3DJam. Create your dream house in VR. Weave light and sound with your bare hands. Or just paint some happy little trees! In today’s 3D Jam spotlight, we’re featuring 17 brand-new art and music experiences and utilities that will ignite your creative spark. They’re all free for download at itch.io/jam/leapmotion3djam.

(Don’t forget to rate each demo and boost your favorites in the rankings! For VR demos, make sure you check the runtime requirements on their game pages.)

ArchyTech

archytech

Creating the spaces where we live isn’t just for architects – now anyone can do it! Created by Latvian developers @GoVR_studio, ArchyTech is designed to “guide you through the fun process of building your dream house. All the tools you’ll need are at your fingertips, and Archy is there with his professional architectural suggestions.”

The game is designed as a small preview of what the future of architecture might be – one where physical design is opened up to the masses in the same way that digital design is becoming more accessible than ever. You can learn more about Go VR’s work, which includes virtual walkthroughs for architects, on their website: worldwithoutarchitect.com.

Requires: Windows, Oculus Rift

Hand Capture

hand-capture

A new motion capture and animation plugin for Autodesk MotionBuilder 2016, Hand Capture lets you “capture hand and finger movement in real time directly inside MotionBuilder.” These movements can then be assigned to the hands or fingers of 3D characters, or a wide variety of other object properties.

Requires: Windows, Autodesk MotionBuilder 2016 (trial available)

Handful of Tones

handful

Handful of Tones is a music app that lets you control the volume and pitch of a chord with your hands. According to creator and game design student Miko Sramek, it “n an abstraction of the hands rather than a direct translation – allowing for a much more organic connection between the user and the experience. Using one’s own hands to find and create harmonies, instead of just using a slider in a program or a notation system, allows for broader exploration of what is possible with tones.”

Requires: Windows

HappyLittlePainter

happy

If you’ve never watched Bob Ross smack his brush onto a canvas and instantly create a majestic evergreen, clear 27 minutes from your schedule and watch this video. You won’t be disappointed.

HappyLittlePainter is a simple, easy-to-use painting application inspired by Bob Ross and his happy little trees. Created by Finnish developer @unitycoder_com, it includes brush sounds and the ability to share your creations in an online gallery.

Requires: Windows, Mac, Linux with tool tracking enabled

#Headlight

headlightCreated by Cipher Prime based on their art show We’ve Traveled So Far, #Headlight is an impressively innovative use of Leap Motion’s image passthrough – generating a Tron-style stream of liquid light that streams across the 3D objects captured by the twin infrared cameras.

Just hold up your controller like a smartphone, cycle through colors and brightness, and snap a picture. You can even share it on Twitter @cipherprime with the hashtag #Headlight. If you’ve been looking for a new profile picture, this is the way to go.

Requires: Windows, Mac

Iterazer VR

From 2014 semi-finalist Felix Herbst (Prefrontal Cortex), Iterazer is a tool to play with complexity and create intricate sculptures of light and geometry in 3D space. Spawn fractals in midair and control them with telekinesis. Artwork can be saved as panoramic images, ready to be shared both in VR and as traditional images.

Creating Iterazer involved giving the player some superpowers, said Felix: “At first, I wanted users to directly grab the controls and move them around. However, that becomes very cumbersome if you don’t want to constrain their movement – if the user pushes them out of arm’s reach, they couldn’t be retrieved anymore. By anticipating what should be grabbed (a bit like pointing at something) and then putting the ‘force’ into the moved object, these constraints aren’t necessary anymore. The artist gets empowered beyond what would be possible with physical controls.”

Requires: Windows, Oculus Rift

Jamming with Leap

jamming

The Hang is a musical instrument that superficially resembles a drum – though according to Wikipedia, its creators hate it when you call it a “hang drum.” Created by a team of four student developers, Jamming with Leap lets you create melodies on a virtual Hang.

“Our team (HisarCS.) consists of four high school students each thriving in their own given interests, music, 3D modelling and coding,” said Mert Bozfakioglu, one of the creators. “With this project, we intended to combine our interests into a product that everyone can enjoy. We learned how to use Unity, code in C#, design in Autodesk Maya, and use a Leap Motion sensor. This project was hard for all of us but with research that lasted for hours and endless nights of coding, we managed to create our first instrumental project.”

Requires: Windows, Mac, Linux

#LivingArchive

livingarchive

Originally presented as an interactive art installation in October in Birmingham, UK, The Phantom of JHB’s Sculpture #LivingArchive lets you navigate a 3D object in a hologram-like environment, using the classic Pepper’s ghost technique. The setup includes an Arduino, Macbook Pro, and a small LED Projector.

Requires: MacBook Pro, Arduino, Ultrasound sensor HC-SR04, Processing, Pure Data Extended

LMix

An open source 3D drop-music game, LMix lets you hit notes flying through space. This student project is fully open source with an MIT license, and includes songs from a number of different genres.

Requires: Mac, Windows

Lyra

Lyra is a virtual playground for musicians that lets you create music in VR. Created by Metanaut, a newly formed VR studio based in Taipei, Taiwan and Vancouver, Canada, it lets you chain chords, melodies, and instruments together in complex webs.

“We’re rethinking the music making process from the ground up for VR, rather than trying to translate existing paradigms to VR,” said Dilun Ho, one of the creators behind Lyra. “You can place and interact with customized instruments anywhere in 3D space. It’s a whole new fun immersive experience in composing and playing music.” You can sign up for their newsletter and follow the project at lyravr.com.

Requires: Windows, Oculus Rift

PaintThrush

Built in your browser with the LeapJS library, PaintThrush is a peaceful art app that creates procedurally generated birds. It was created in a single night by Kate Compton, a PHD student at UC Santa Cruz who previously worked on SimCity and made the planets on Spore. “I like procedural generation,” she told us, “and letting the computer do the hard work.”

Recommended: Google Chrome

Pensato

pensato

Ableton Live is one of the most powerful digital tools in a musician’s arsenal. But what if you could bring that power into VR? Designed for people familiar with digital music workflows, Pensato “brings the musical performance capabilities of Ableton Live into a VR environment and allows an artist to see audio-reactive changes in their performance.” This means that you can interact with widgets in VR that correspond directly with musical sequences and audio parameters linked from Ableton Live.

Pensato was originally conceived as a project for creator Byron Mallet’s Master’s thesis – at the time, using a set of VR gloves. Having rebuilt Pensato for the 3D Jam, Byron said that “it continues to surprise me how difficult it is to design user interfaces in 3D space for VR applications. By removing the ability a mouse gives you to decide whether to interact or not interact with the environment, and instead have a hand that is constantly in an intractable state, forces you to consider how to layer and reveal parts of  the interface in order to reduce the chance of accidentally triggering elements.” This is a design challenge that VR developers will need to continue imagining their way through as VR continues to evolve.

Requires: Windows, Ableton Live (30 day trial available), Python 2.7LoopMidi (optional), Showtime-Live (included in download)

Raybeem – Lightshow VR

raybeem

Created by LA-based game developers Sokay, Raybeem is “a VR app by ravers for ravers.” You can listen to the music of your choice in a variety of mesmerizing environments that react to the frequencies of the audio.

“In creating Raybeem, I was experimenting with a familiar idea (music with visualizations) with a new context (virtual reality),” said developer Bryson Whiteman. “I could explain the idea to people, but showing them personally is when they really understood it. I didn’t expect to get such positive reaction from people from such a rough execution.” You can learn more about Sokay’s work (which includes “a game about a tank that shoots flowers that makes people happy and another about a cop eating donuts raining down from the sky”) by downloading their free zine from zine.sokay.net.

Requires: Windows, Oculus Rift

Rhythm’n Dream

rythm

While some music games are built mainly around player reaction times, @CarniBlood wanted to build a game that required understanding and following the beats. “For now,” he said, “it’s been particularly concocted as a tool for kids to help them learning music: entertaining enough to focus, rewarding enough to persevere, with adorable animals acting like a teacher, giving guidance only when needed.”

Requires: Windows

VREZ

Rez is a classic game for the Sega Dreamcast and PlayStation 2 that combined rail shooter and musical synthesis, leading to some trippy synesthetic sequences. Polish indie developer Mindhelix decided to bring that vibe into VR with their own rhythm-based action shooter. They plan to keep working on bringing new sounds and visualizations to the table, so be sure to leave comments on their game page.

Requires: Windows, Oculus Rift

VR Guitar

Through Zach Kinstner’s #DevUp video series, we’ve watched VR Guitar evolve from an elegant concept to a powerful instrument that uses cutting-edge UX/UI design. While the virtual strings resemble a guitar, you can strum through dozens of different kinds of instruments! No previous experience with a real guitar is required, so dive in!

Requires: Windows, Oculus Rift

Alex is the head writer and blog editor at Leap Motion, where he stands as the final bulwark against bad grammar. Want to share your Leap Motion project? Email acolgan@leapmotion.com or PM leapmotion_alex on Reddit.

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