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Spin Paint Manual
Welcome to Spin Paint!
You will be painting in a Virtual Reality environment and be able to paint anywhere in 3-Dimensions.
You can paint all around you in 360 degrees, and move around as you paint. Or paint only on a canvas in front of you, but also let the paint stream off of the canvas in any direction.
There are thousands of colors to choose from, many different brush types, and numerous ways to setup the paint itself, including transparency, bumpiness, and width. And of course you can import your own pictures or textures to use as paint.
First Things
The most important thing is to experiment with different options and settings. You will quickly figure out what works for you and your artistic style.
You can always save and re-load any scene you paint.
To start painting you just click the Controller touchpad. Move the brush (by moving the Controller) and you will see the paint in front of you. Click again to stop painting.
The User Interface
You can change the brush style and color and paint styles via the UI, which is accessed via the middle App Button on the Controller. Close the UI with another click of the App Button. The rest of this manual has screenshots from the UI so you can see how to do various things.
Later in this manual is a detailed reference for the UI.
There is Help on all of the UI Screens -- in the upper right corner of each screen is a '?' button which will open a help screen above the UI screen.
When you first start Spin Paint you will see a Welcome Screen that takes you into a short Tutorial. Please take the Tutorial as it introduces you to the basics.
You can also look at the Tutorial at any time via a button in the UI.
How to Paint
When you work in Spin Paint you will be in one of several Studios. You choose a Studio in the UI Menu in the lower left of the UI.
You can set the intensity of the lights in the Studio, and choose a sky color for the outdoor Studios.
You can move between Studios at any time (using the UI screens), and your paint will go with you. When you move around in a studio you won't be able to move past the walls.
Here are the four studios that you can choose from:
Studio Room
This is a simple room with a tile roof and wood plank floors. Clean, spare art studio.
This is an outdoor studio on a grassy plain with mountains in the distance. It is much larger that the Studio Room so you can move around as much as you want.
This is an outdoor studio on a snowy plain with glacier mountains in the distance. It is much larger that the Studio Room so you can move around as much as you want.
This is a Studio with no walls or floor or roof; kind of like painting in outer space. You can move anywhere you want and also you can go up and down. There's no picture since until you paint in this Studio there is nothing to see, just empty sky.
When you paint you will be using one of these brushes that you choose in the UI:
Types of Brushes
This is a flat ribbon of paint. You can set the color of the paint, the width of the stroke, and vary the width while painting.
This is a flat ribbon of paint also, but it has more texture to the paint stroke giving it a more 3D feeling.
This is a series of spheres. You adjust the width and height and depth to create any shaped spherical paint. You can choose to put a single sphere per stroke or a string of spheres like pearls on a necklace.
This is a series of cubes or boxes. You can adjust the width and height and depth to create any shaped box-like paint.
This is a rectangular and flat surface that you can use to hold a picture or color. They are great for establishing a paint canvas area, and then you can paint onto it. Or use a picture of a leaf (with transparent alpha) and put a large fall leaf in the air.
Paint Gun
This is a stream of paint that is softer than the Ribbon or Dab, more like particles.
These are preset shapes like paint chips or snowflakes.
This is a curved or straight line. You can connect the ends of the lines to each other, or have each new line in a new place.
How to Move the Brush
To paint you just move the Daydream Controller around in front of you, or even over your head or down to the floor. The paint brush will move just like the Controller in your hand.
To move the brush towards you or away from you rotate it. Clockwise moves closer and counter-clockwise moves further away. You can turn this feature on or off in the UI in the Brush Control screen. If you turn this off then the brush will always be at a constant distance from you.
When you are not painting you will always be able to move the brush towards/away from you, but if this option is not selected then when you start painting the distance of the brush will not change.
How to Vary the Brush Width while Painting
You have the option of varying the brush width while painting. The toggle for that is in the UI on the various brush Config screens. When you are painting move your thumb/finger on the touchpad to the left (smaller) and the right (larger) to change the width. If you choose this option then you will not be able to move yourself while painting.
Different Ways of Moving the Brush
There are two ways of moving the brush — around a Sphere and on a Wall. They allow specific freedom to certain aspects of the brush movement.
In this case the brush moves around you in a sphere. You can paint on the sphere anywhere you want. If you move the brush further or closer to you then you change the radius of the sphere.
In this case the brush moves along a flat wall in the Studio. The wall is not visible, but its location and orientation is set by the first stroke you make. When you make a stroke the wall is set to face you, and the rest of the stroke will be on that wall.
You have the option of having a series of paint strokes all on the same wall, like painting on a canvas. That toggle is set in the UI. If this is off then when you start painting the 1st stroke will set the wall location, and each additional stroke is placed on the same wall. You can use this to setup a canvas to paint onto.
Setting up a Canvas
Here are the steps for painting on a flat canvas.
  • Turn off starting a new wall on each stroke (see image above)
  • Select Wall move type in Paint Menu.
  • Click a small ribbon paint directly in front of you to set the wall's location.
  • Choose Canvas and create the canvas as you want on the wall.
  • Add any other brush style and continue to paint onto the Canvas.
  • You can then switch back to Sphere, or create another wall by choosing Sphere and then Wall again to start a new wall.
Types of Paint
There are four types of paint.
Paint Plus
This is a choice of colors and a set of material options, like highlights or color emission. It uses Google's Daydream Renderer and its shaders.
Paint Standard
This is also a choice of colors and a set of material options like highlights and reflections. It uses Unity's Standard shader.
Just Color
This is just a pure color with no material options at all. The color will look the same regardless of the angle of the light.
Pictures & Textures
These are image files that you download from the web. You can also create them using Photoshop or any other image processing program. See below for details.
Using Pictures for Painting
In addition to the colors for painting you can import your own pictures. These appear in the UI when you select "Pictures & Textures" as the Paint Style:
When you select this you will see the Textures menu to the left. There are 4 tabs, the first of which (Paint) has built-in pictures that you can use. The other 3 tabs hold your pictures (User1, User2, and User3).
When you first choose one of the User tabs there will be a message about granting permissions to Spin Paint to access your Download directory. You only have to do that once and when completed you will see pictures from your Download directory.
The first 84 pictures that are jpg, jpeg, or png files are loaded.
To put pictures in your Download directory just go to your browser and when you find a picture that you like then click and hold to see a popup menu, and then choose "Download."
Pictures With Transparent Areas
You can also use pictures with transparent areas (alpha channels). If the picture has an alpha channel the import will detect this and set that appropriately so you will only see the non-transparent areas of the picture in the painting area.
Adding Transparency to Pictures
Using the "Transparency" slider at the bottom of the Textures Screen you can add transparency to a picture that you paint with. If you set the value to less than 1.00 the painted texture will be somewhat transparent, with lower values producing greater transparency.
Click or Touch to Start Painting
To start painting you can choose to either click the touchpad or touch the touchpad.
When starting & stopping painting via touch, keep your finger/thumb on the Controller touchpad to keep painting. When you stop touching then the paint stroke stops.
When you are working with colors and transparency and the different paint options you can save them under the Swatches screen in the UI. Swatches are a convenient way to reuse paint and materials.
To activate a swatch just click it and you will see four small red spheres at its corners.
When you click Add it adds a new Swatch with the current settings.
When you click Update it updates the currently selected swatch, so make sure to select a swatch first, then make changes to the setting, and then click Update.
And to delete a Swatch first click the Swatch to select it, then click delete.
How to Walk around the Studio
You walk around the Studios by using the Controller. By moving your finger (or thumb) to the edge of the Touchpad you will start walking. The top of the Touchpad will move you in the direction you are facing, the bottom of the Touchpad will move you backwards, and so on all around the Touchpad edge.
If you want to disable the move feature you can do that in the UI on the Paint Menu screen.
You can also set the speed that you walk at in the UI on the Studios screen.
And of course you can walk while painting, which allows you to create more expressive paint strokes. And setting the Move (or Walk) speed higher allows you to run around the Studio while painting in front of you so the paint strokes are place all around the Studio.
How to Undo & Erase
You can erase individual paint strokes, or clear the entire Studio.
Undo Last Paint Stroke
On the UI is an "Undo Last Paint" button that removes the last paint stroke. You can click Undo multiple times to erase backwards, even until there are no more paint strokes left
Erase All Paint
There is also an "Erase All Paint" button in the UI that clears the entire Studio. Before Erasing All the Paint you can always save your scene and all of the paint strokes just in case.
You can erase a specific paint stroke using the Eraser. Choose the 'Erase Mode' button in the UI and you will see the cursor change to an Eraser (and the brush will vanish). Place the Eraser on a paint stroke, it will turn pink as highlight, click the Controller Touchpad, and the paint stroke is gone forever.
You can exit Erase mode with by clicking the App Button.
Saving and Loading Scenes
You can save and load any scene in order to work on it later. In the UI there are two screens -- one for load and one for save.
The Save screen is to the right of the UI. To save the scene and its current paint strokes just enter a name for the scene and click "Save." Use the VR keyboard to click the letters. The backspace is the 'x' on the right at the top.
You can click the "Swatches" toggle to also save the current swatches with the scene. When you later load this scene you will load (and over write) the current swatches.
After the scene is saved you will see a status message above the Save Screen.
You can load any scene that you have saved. It will take a few seconds or minutes to load the scene, so please be patient. There is a load status in the UI just above the main level of screens.
If the number of scenes is more than the space available the message at the bottom will cue you to scroll by swiping on the Controller up and down to scroll the list of scene names.
In order to load a scene just click the toggle next to the name and then choose "Load." And to delete a scene select it and choose "Delete."
Load Scene With Studio
When you load a scene you can choose to also switch to the Studio that the scene was saved from (click toggle "Studio Load.") You can also choose to first clear any existing paint before loading the saved scene (click toggle "Clear First"). If you don't clear first that the new scene's paint strokes are added to any existing paint strokes. In this way you can combine different scenes together.
Fast Load
"Fast Load" is the default, and will load the scene more quickly by batching together paint positions. If you want to watch the entire scene load then uncheck that box and you will see the scene repaint the same as your original session.
Stop a Load
You can click the Controller AppButton (middle one) to stop a load. You will have any paint that has been loaded in the scene.
The User Interface (UI) Reference
Paint Styles
Paint Plus
  • Opaque - paint that is completely opaque.
  • Cutout
  • Blend
  • Premultiply
  • Additive
  • Multiply
  • Smooth - this is the smoothness of the highlights.
  • Wrap - this is how much the color "wraps" around the paint stroke itself.
  • Highlights - this turns on specular highlights.
  • Vertex Light - this turns on lighting at the vertex rather than the pixel level.
Paint Standard
  • Opaque -
  • Cutout -
  • Fade -
  • Transparent -
  • Smooth -
  • Metallic -
  • Reflections -
  • Emission -
  • Emission Color -
Just Color
Pictures & Textures
Color Pickers
There are several color pickers in the UI. All of them have same structure. At the top is a horizontal bar where you can choose the hue you want. Below that is a rectangle that has the saturation and brightness that you can choose. And below that is a sample of the current color (cannot be clicked).
To the right of the sample are the current RGB and HSV values for the color. Some of the color pickers have a transparency (alpha) slider where you can set the alpha value.
What the Color & Material Options Mean
Problems and What to Do
Daydream Help
Google's Daydream Help is located here. It has helpful information on the headset and controller.
Controller Battery Running Low
You can always see the current battery level in the UI above the Scene Load screen. If it is Low you will need to plug the Controller in with its power cord and let it charge.
VR Scenes are Spinning Slowly to the Right or Left
This is an Android issue and can be cleared by power-off and power-on the phone.
I Can't See My Paint
  • Check Color Transparency being set to 0.
  • Check BrushWidth being set to 0.