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Microsoft reveals VR & AR-focused Windows 10 'Creator's Update,' expected in early 2017

Microsoft is making a big push into augmented reality and virtual reality with its newly announced Windows 10 Creator's Update, and bringing tools for creation of the new media natively to Windows 10.

At a Wednesday press event, the company promised to "unlock a new era of creativity" with the additions to Windows 10, which it claimed will make "3D for everyone" possible. A series of promotional videos demonstrated the potential behind a new Paint 3D application from Microsoft, with features like 3D-scanning, and import of the scanned items into other apps.

A Windows 10 HP X3 phone was used in conjunction with the 3D Capture application to scan an object, with only a brief period of post-scan processing required for the object to create a mesh, complete with textures. Microsoft claims that the process is envisioned on "any device" in the future, but what specifically that means is not clear.

Microsoft Paint 3D now has some photo manipulation tools, such as a magic selector to extract a 2D object from the background. Additionally, the meshes drawn from the 3D Capture application, as well as Minecraft objects, will be importable, and printable to compatible 3D printers.

SketchUp has been enlisted by Microsoft to assist with the rollout, allowing users to import objects from the model hosting community into Paint 3D as well. In conjunction with SketchUp integration, the Paint 3D app has a wide array of sharing tools for social media as well.

Microsoft promised to integrate 3D across its "most popular" applications, demonstrating use of the technology in PowerPoint, including graphical transitions, and animations embedded into presentations.

The effort will ultimately facilitate content creation for Microsoft's HoloLens "mixed-reality" project. A proof-of-concept demonstration at the event showed the Edge browser extracting compatible graphics from a home design website, and displayed on the HoloLens in conjunction and in scale with the surrounding environment.

Launch partners for 3D accessories and VR headsets are HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus, and Acer. Creators Update accessories for display, creation, and interaction will start at $300.