No matter the hype and how much certain companies may want to publicize it, virtual reality is failing to replace film as a vehicle and medium of choice for storytelling. NVidia has an article with some hints on why this is happening. More on NVidia's website.
Lucasfilm has made available a proposal for an open, platform-independent standard for specifying the "look" of CG objects built using shader networks so that these looks or subcomponents of a look can be passed from one software package to another or between different facilities. More on MaterialX's website.
After years of development Expresii has finally been released. The ink painting software uses fluid dynamics to simulate watercolor and other natural media, and features GPU-accelerated water-based paint, organic brushes simulation and ultra-deep zoom capabilities. Expresii is offered at an introductory price of $59, a trial version is available. More on Expresii's website.