A new Microsoft app lets you easily sketch 360-degree scenes

Artists and designers can now easily sketch 360-degree scenes thanks to a new Microsoft app.

Sketch 360 is a free program that uses Windows Ink to let users draw digital models and share them with others, reducing the time it takes to explain, edit and re-do prototypes.

These can then be used to create 3D models, which are very labour-intensive, before being exported to Windows Mixed Reality devices, other headset platforms or a web browser so an entire team can walk around the design and view it in detail.

Michael Scherotter, Creative Experience Engineer at Microsoft and creator of the app, said: “It’s very difficult to freehand draw in 360-degrees. You need to draw straight lines curved and you can’t see how your creation turns out until you’ve finished the whole thing.

“I can see Sketch 360 being a great tool for architects looking for a digital canvas that brings their ideas to life.”

Creators can trace along gridlines using a pen or touch in a variety of thicknesses and 30 colours, while the canvas colour and gridline opacity can be changed. Sketch 360 files can be imported and edited, too.

The app was created in the Microsoft Garage, an area at the company’s headquarters in Redmond as well as a global community of employees who explore new technology and ideas.

Mike Pell, Lead Designer for the Microsoft Garage, said: “Sketch 360 is a game changer for designers working in cross-reality. This tool unlocks a whole new way to do rapid prototyping to fuel those experiences.”

Sketch 360 can be used alongside the Microsoft program Macquette — a mixed-reality tool for creating immersive prototypes using a PC virtual reality headset. While Macquette focuses on 3D objects to make spatial prototyping quick and easy, Sketch 360 is aimed at helping designers with the setting around those objects.

Sketch 360 is available now in the Microsoft Store.