VR in Blender

After discovering the walk feature in Blender, I figured a VR option would let me look at my models in VR while I’m working on them. I heard Blender had this feature but not much more than that. Today I was working on a golf club and after modeling it I wanted to check how it looked in VR, just in case it looked off. This is when I decided to investigate the VR options.

I discovered two ways to get VR working in Blender. There is a plugin already installed in blender called “3D View: VR Scene Inspection”. The other way is something called BlenderXR. I gave both of these a shot.

VR Scene Inspection Blender Add On

3D View VR Scene Inspection is already installed with Blender 2.9. All you have to do is hit the check mark to enable it in preferences.

This plugin adds a VR tab. I found this tool to be underwhelming. While it is very exciting to look at what you’re working on in VR,  you don’t have a lot of control. It really is just a VR view. Its good if you want to quickly inspect something in VR.

To get it to work, you need to add a camera to your scene. You can change the settings by clicking the VR tab. When you hit “Start VR Session” you’ll be able to view your scene in the headset. 

Starting the VR session should automatically start Steam VR, but I like to have it running before I launch it.

BlenderXR 

BlenderXR is a plugin you can get here: https://www.marui-plugin.com/blender-xr/

This allows you to be able to work in Blender in VR. I found this tool amazing. Its what I wanted. 

Setting this up was confusing, but luckily they offer a video tutorial showing how to set it up. 

Blender XR seems to be a bit out of date. The website notes that the last update was in May of 2020. I’m not sure if this is going to be a reliable tool in the future. During the installation you have to download a new version of Blender that they give you. This version of Blender ended up being version 2.82. As far as I could tell, you have to use that version for it to work. 

After installing and following all of their directions, you can finally start working. I opened a project in their version of Blender. You can access the VR feature by going to Window –  New VR Window.

This started Steam VR for me. There are only so many buttons on VR controllers and they tried to cram all of blenders controls onto them. Everything is labeled and it didn’t take me long to figure out. The movements were weird, but eventually I got used to them. 

Since I got it working in VR, I wanted to add a monitor in VR so I could also work in the normal Blender window. I opened XS Overlay to do this. I found that some of the controls conflicted with my overlay software. The grip on the Index controllers rotates the scene in Blender but that is also my control for rotating my overlay screens. I ended up rebinding my right controller grip to do nothing so that I could use my overlay without interfering with my Blender Scene.

My biggest issue with this setup is that I can’t use the most updated version of Blender and I found that the program wouldn’t let me save projects while a VR window was launched. Both pretty big issues. While its very cool to have this set up, its a lot to run on any PC. 

A VR option is most useful to me when I need to look at something specific. The default VR option in Blender is easier to use and gets the job done, so its probably going to be my go to. BlenderXR gets closer to being able to work in Blender in VR, though its a lot to run on my PC and I think I’ll have trouble managing it without lag. 

Elaine Karapetian

Elaine Karapetian

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