by Kevin Condie:
VR17 Release Features
Learn about the new Design 3D CX VR17 Release features, Publish to VR and Render VR.
(This is a Strata Design 3D CX 8.2 (Mac) and 7.6 (PC) VR17 Release feature only, it is not available in Design 3D SE.)
The new VR 360 Stereo Camera allows you to create a rendering that can be viewed using your smartphone and a VR device, like Google Cardboard, Samsung Gear, or other similar devices. Place a VR 360 Stereo Camera into your interior, landscape, underwater, space or other 360 panoramic environment, snap off a rendering, save the rendered snapshot as a JPG or PNG image and use it in a software application or online services, like IrisVR.com’s Scope product, to transform it into a 360 VR panoramic environment to be viewed on your smartphone VR viewer device.
How to set up a VR 360 Stereo Camera and use the rendered image.
- Model your scene in real world dimensions. For example, if using inches, 72″ (inches) = 6′ (feet)
- Place a camera in the center of the interior room or landscape scene. Set it to the desired height, about the height of the average human. Experiment with different camera heights, if needed.
- Select the camera, if not already selected.
- Name the Camera. Give it a name that indicates where it is positioned in the scene and consider appending “VR 360 Stereo” to help remember what type of camera it is.
- In the Object Properties > Object panel set the camera type to “VR 360 Stereo”. The camera window will be adjusted to the required aspect ratio needed for VR 360 Stereo renderings. [Equirectangular, 1:1 aspect ratio (square)].
- Adjust the Eye Separation, if necessary. The default is set to what is considered the average eye separation distance for most people, 2.5 inches. If this is to be viewed by people other than yourself then consider leaving this at the default. If it is for your eye only, then you might want to change it to be specific to your eye separation distance for more comfortable viewing.
- Go to the Windows menu > Camera Windows and select the VR 360 Camera. This camera window will open.
- Open the Rendering dialog, either by going to the Render menu > Render Image… or by selecting the Rendering Tool in the tool palette and shift-clicking in the camera window.
- Choose your render settings. If is not recommended to select the higher quality options (Best or Extreme) because the VR 360 Stereo rendering must render the scene twice within the one image, significantly increase the time require to complete the rendering. Use Raytrace instead of Raydiosity for faster rendering.
- Change the rendering size to 4096 pixels. Stereo images need to be 1:1 aspect ratio (e.g. 4096 x 4096). For maximum compatibility and performance, image dimensions should be powers of two (e.g., 2048 or 4096). 4096 pixels, is the recommended rendering size. Currently, rendered image at high resolution, like 8192 x 8192 pixels are not saving in the needed formats, JPG or PNG and the rendering time is significantly longer. We hope to resolve the saving of high-resolution images as soon as possible.
- When the rendering finishes, save the image as a JPEG or PNG. JPEG is recommended for improved compression.
Okay, you now have a VR 360 Stereo image, now what!?!
There are several ways to setup and view the VR 360 stereo panoramic image that you just rendered. A couple of online services allow you to import the image and make it available for viewing using a smartphone app and a VR Viewer (Google Cardboard or compatible VR Viewer device, Samsung Gear VR, etc.). If you are a web developer you might want to look into VR View by Google to put your VR 360 Stereo images on your own website. There is also a VR View plugin for WordPress.
The online products that we’ve found that can help with setting up and viewing a VR 360 Stereo panoramic image are IrisVR.com’s Scope and InstaVR.co.
Here is a quick tutorial using a service/product by IrisVR called Scope to setup and view your VR 360 Stereo image.
- Go to IrisVR.com and set up a free Basic Scope account which includes a 21-day trial of Scope Pro.
- After setting up your IrisVR.com Scope Basic w/trial account, Login, if not already.
- Click on your account name in the upper right of the webpage and select Scope Libary.
- Click on Add Panorama Set.
- Name the panorama set.
- Click in the box with the plus sign and follow the directions to upload your Design 3D CX – VR 360 Stereo image(s).
- After uploading, click the Share icon (next to the trash can icon).
- Click the Generate Code button.
You’re all set now to view your VR 360 Stereo image. Below are the steps to view the image.
To view your Design 3D VR 360 Stereo renderings using IrisVR.com’s Scope product…
- Download the Scope viewer app for your smartphone. To download the Scope app for you IOS or Android phone, go to the IrisVR.com Scope download site (https://www.irisvr.com/downloads) using your smartphone browser or search for it on the App Store or on Google Play.
- Open Scope on your smartphone.
- Click the Plus button in the lower right.
- Enter the access code: XXXXXX
- Click Add Set
- Download any or all of the available Panos.
- Click one of the Panos to load the downloaded items for viewing.
- Place the phone in your VR viewer device, like the Google Cardboard or other smartphone base hardware like GearVR, etc. If you don’t have a VR viewer for your smartphone, you can order the Strata VR Viewer on the Strata Store site, https://www.strata.com/downloads/strata-vr-viewer/
- Set the viewer with the phone in it on a flat surface for at least 10 or so seconds.
- Look at the VR 360 Stereo image.
- Then click on the viewer’s button on the top right. The Pano selection menu will appear.
- Select and view another Pano in the set. if any are available. If you downloaded all the images, then all four Panos are available using the viewer’s hotspot selection button.
Other ways to view your VR 360 Stereo panoramic image:
- On your own website using Google’s VR view method
- On your WordPress site, using the Google’s VR view plug-in for WordPress.
- Other sites that support uploading a 360 Stereo panoramic image.
Examples of VR 360 Stereo rendering image using the VR view plugin for WordPress.
(On your SmartPhone, browse to these URLs to view the VR 360 Stereo image.)
Publish to VR
Publish to VR allows you, with the click of a button, to publish your objects directly from Design 3D CX to Strata InStudio VR over the network and view them using the HTC Vive virtual reality system. Then view, rotate, scale and position object in a virtual 3D environment. InStudio VR supplies a number of interactive virtual 3D environments into which you can resize, rotate and position your objects. Additionally, you can toggle lighting in real-time and see how it interacts with our designs.
To make use of Publish to VR you need a virtual reality capable PC with Windows 10, the HTC Vive VR system and the Strata InStudio VR application.
Strata InStudio VR – The minimum required hardware is:
- Full HTC Vive Set
- PC computer (with at least the minimum requirements outlined below):
- Windows 10 or newer
- Graphics Card: GeForce GTX 970 or AMD Radeon R9 290 or better
- CPU: Intel Core i5 4590 or AMD FX 8350 or greater
- RAM: 4GB or more
- Video port: HDMI 1.4, DisplayPort 1.2, or better
- USB port: 1 USB 2.0 or faster port
Setting up to Publish to Strata InStudio VR
- Open a New Project in Design 3D CX 8.2 (Mac) or CX 7.6 (Windows) VR17 Release
- Create or insert an object(s) into the modeling window
- Select the object(s) to be published to VR
- Click the Publish to VR button in the button bar.
- Select the desired publishing options.
- Continue previous session
- This option tells InStudio VR to load the objects for the previous publish to VR session. If you don’t want the object(s) from the previous session to be loaded into InStudio VR, disable this option.
- Publish each selection individually
- This option allows you to publish to InStudio VR and have each selected object load as an individual object. If you want the selected object to be loaded as a single object, disable this option.
- Continue previous session
- Click the OK button. A new dialog will appear indicating that your object(s) are now being shared with InStudio VR over the network.
- Launch Strata InStudio VR and put on your HTC Vive headset.
- Click on the InStudio VR Main Menu button on the right-hand controller.
- Point and click on Import to see your loaded object.
- Grab an object and drop it the scene.
Now, you can position, rotate or scale the object in any of the included staging environments. You can also change the lighting to study the different lighting options and how they affect your object.