Some days ago, the popular opensource 3D modeling software Blender has launched a new VR view tool to let you see your 3D scene in VR! You could already use Blender in XR with the MARUI plugin, but here we’re talking about the official support by the Blender Foundation, that comes with version 2.83.
All the 3D Artists’ community got hyped about this because it is very cool. Do you want to try it yourself? Guess what, the Ghost has got you covered!
How to view your 3D scene in VR in Blender – Video
Here you are my usual video tutorial where I explain to you how to activate the VR view feature in Blender, with what devices it works and how it performs in action. It’s a very easy process, so the video is quite short. Enjoy!
There is a little error regarding configuration of WMR headsets in the video. Refer to the guide below for Mixed Reality headsets
How to view your 3D scene in VR in Blender – Text
Let’s dig into this new VR feature for Blender.
Blender VR works through the OpenXR standard, for which a runtime has been implemented only for Windows Mixed Reality headsets and Oculus headsets. So, if you have one of these headsets you can go on, otherwise you have to wait for Valve to adapt its SteamVR runtime to OpenXR.
Blender also advises you to have a PC running Windows.
To try VR visualization of your 3D scenes in Blender, you have to install Blender version 2.83 or above.
The little problem is that at the time of writing, on the official downloads page, you just see version 2.82a… so where the heck can you find version 2.83? Easy peasy, on the page dedicated to the Daily Builds of the software, where you can already find the alpha version of Blender 2.83.
Download it and save it onto your PC, then unzip the package wherever you want Blender to be: this isn’t an installer, but a portable version of Blender, so mind where you unzip this folder.
Open the folder you have just unzipped, but don’t launch “Blender.exe” as usual, but follow the instructions described at this page to launch Blender in the correct way to use it with VR. Let me copy them here below to semplify your life.
Windows Mixed Reality
To check if a PC meets the requirements to run Windows Mixed Reality, Microsoft offers the Windows Mixed Reality PC Check application.
- Make sure the Windows 10 May 2019 Update (1903) is installed.
- If the system meets all requirements, the Mixed Reality Portal should already be installed. It is also available in the Microsoft Store. On first use, it will guide through some setup steps.
- Launch the Mixed Reality Portal. Click the menu button
...in the lower left corner. In the menu it opens, select the Set up OpenXR. Windows Mixed Reality is now ready to be used with OpenXR.
For more information, refer to Windows’ Getting Started Guide for Windows Mixed Reality and OpenXR.
After you have configured WMR this way, you can finally launch the Blender.exe executable.
Oculus only provides prototype OpenXR support. To use it, Blender has to be started in a special way, as described below.
- Download and install the Oculus Rift software.
- Start Blender by double-clicking the
blender_oculus.cmdscript inside the installation directory. It will open a command-line window with further information.
Configure Blender for VR view
Once you have opened Blender, you have to activate the VR viewer add-on. So go to Edit -> Preferences… and in the dialog that pops-up select the “Add-ons” tab.
In the “search” inputbox (in the upper right corner) look for “VR” and then click the checkbox next to “3D View: VR Scene Inspection” to activate the add-on.
Compliments, now Blender is ready to show your content in VR!
Now, if you want to activate the VR view, you have to click the little “<” in the right of your 3D view of the world to show the lateral toolbar.
Select the VR tab, and now you can see some options related to the configuration of your VR visualization. You can use this webpage as the documentation that explains to you the meaning of all those options (even if some of them are self-explanatory).
There is one parameter that is “Camera”, that lets you choose the camera in the scene through which you’ll have the VR view. By default, it selects the main camera of the scene, but if you want to use a special view for VR, you can. Select Type “Custom Camera”, then add a new Camera to the scene, and then select here the one through which you want to see your 3D scene in VR.
At this point, click “Start VR session” to see your scene in virtual reality! While you explore the environment in VR, you can also use your mouse on your desktop screen to move the camera in the scene to move your view in VR!
If you don’t know where to find some cool Blender scenes to watch in VR, you can find some demo assets directly on Blender website.
Blender VR visualization review
I was really amazed by the easiness of downloading Blender and configuring it for VR. I’ve used it with Oculus Quest + Link and I can tell you that it worked really well.