//Publish to HTC Vive Using InstaVR and Autodesk 3ds Max, VRay, Lumion and More

Publish to HTC Vive Using InstaVR and Autodesk 3ds Max, VRay, Lumion and More

Topics Covered
1. What are Autodesk 3ds Max, Vray, and Lumion?
2. What is the HTC Vive?
3. What is the Basic Process for Creating a VR App for HTC Vive using 3D Computer Graphics Software?
4. Special Considerations Unique to HTC Vive & 3D Computer Graphics Software
5. Client Examples

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1. What are Autodesk 3ds Max, Vray, and Lumion?

3D computer graphics software is used by companies to do 3D modeling and 3D rendering. This type of software is utilized by a wide variety of professionals — engineers, architects, graphic designers, entertainment industry professionals, marketers, and more. The software is important because it allows users to create, or model, a wholly computer-generated environment.

For example, when designing the interior of a building for a client, architects & engineers will want to do a rendering of the building in 3D to give a representation of how they want the finished area to look. Traditional blueprints are a good jumping off point for designing the layout of the building interior, but it is the actual 3D rendering that gives the best idea of the look & feel of the finished product. The 3D computer graphics software does much of the heavy lifting, turning the ideas and drawings of the designer into something visually tangible.

There are many different 3D computer graphics software companies. Though InstaVR has a certain affinity for Autodesk — our Founder (Daniel Haga) worked there and we exhibited at Autodesk University last year — we’re by no means limited to only ingesting output from them. In fact, we can accept computer generated images and videos from a wide variety of providers, including: 3ds Max & Maya, Lumion, OTOY Octane Render, VRay, Redshift Render, Podium, and more.

To find links to those various software providers, please visit our FAQ on accepted 3D computer graphics software providers.

To find out our required file types and resolutions, please visit our FAQ on suggested image types for upload to InstaVR.

There are many 3D software companies. We’re generally agnostic to which one you use, as long as the renderings can be exported to 360 degree png, jpg, tiff, or cubemap format.

2. What is the HTC Vive?

InstaVR announced during February 2017 our ability to publish to HTC Vive. The high end VR headset was released publicly April 2016, and is a product of the collaboration between HTC and Valve Corporation. The HTC Vive requires a headset, a connection to a powerful PC, motion controllers, and a camera. The HTC Vive gives the user what is known as “room scale” VR, meaning the movement of the wearer of the headset is captured and reflected in the VR world, creating a more immersive and realistic feel. A tether-less HTC Vive — meaning no cable connected to a computer will be needed — is slated for release in 2017.

The flagship company to use our HTC Vive publishing capability was Toyota High System, a division of automotive company Toyota. They created an immersive long-form app to give users a comprehensive tour of their offices. This recruiting app is particularly valuable as Toyota goes on the road to meet potential candidates, and allows them to impress the best and brightest from universities. Rather than having a short VR experience giving the user just a taste, Toyota decided to roll out a much more impressive app that wouldn’t be practical on iOS/Android/Google Cardboard.

Though HTC doesn’t continuously update sales numbers, it has been suggested they sold 420,000+ units  in 2016. That number is sure to increase as more VR experiences are released for HTC Vive, they lower their price, and they offer a non-tethered version. HTC is outpacing its most direct competitor, Oculus Rift, in total sales, despite the Rift having Facebook’s marketing muscle behind their platform. Our clients are particularly interested in the Vive because of its ability to render high quality & long-form VR experiences, and its ability to do room scale VR. For companies serious about utilizing VR, the HTC Vive is undoubtedly a good choice.

The HTC Vive is a high-end VR platform that provides some of the highest resolution and longest running-time VR experiences possible. 

3. What is the Basic Process for Creating a VR App for HTC Vive using 3D Computer Graphics Software?

Once ingested into InstaVR, the process of authoring computer generated 360 panoramas into a VR app for the HTC Vive, or any other platform, is basically the same as for any other mobile app.

Below is a quick overview of the process:

  • Render your computer generated images into formats accepted by InstaVR. The first step in authoring your app is uploading your panoramas into InstaVR. But before you do that, you have to render those panoramas into the correct format. There are a few FAQs that are relevant: Will InstaVR Work with 3D Rendering Programs Like… , What are 360 Panorama Stereoscopic Cubemaps?, Cubemap Rendering Process and How to Incorporate in InstaVR, What Formats of Images and Their Resolutions are Supported by InstaVR?
  • Author using Navigation Links & Hotspots. Just like if the images had been captured with a camera, you’ll need to add Navigation links between your computer-generated scenes. You can also add gaze-based Hotspots that overlay directly on your CGI panoramas, and can trigger text, media pop-ups, or audio narration. For example, on a tour of a proposed new building, you may want to overlay the CGI with actual photos of similar completed buildings, so the user can get a sense how closely the real world equivalents match up with the CGI renderings.
  • Brand your app. Unlike with a mobile app, you don’t have to do quite the same level of branding for an HTC Vive app. But you still need to do some basics like naming the app properly.
  • Publish. Your output file will be a .exe file. You’ll need to download a zipped version of the .exe to be run on your HTC Vive. While you’re publishing to Vive, you may consider publishing the same VR app to other platforms such as iOS/Android, Web VR, and Gear VR — assuming you can make your VR experience under 2 GBs in size. You can also promote your HTC Vive app through these other platforms, which are much more accessible, though less immersive and impressive.

The actual Authoring process for HTC Vive is really no different than for a standard mobile app. The downloadable file will be a .exe that you’ll run on the computer connected to the Vive headset.

4. Special Considerations Unique to HTC Vive & 3D Computer Graphics Software?

The creation process computer generated 360 environments and for publishing to the HTC Vive have a few nuances that you should consider during the app development process with InstaVR. If you run into any roadblocks, don’t hesitate to interface with our Customer Support team. They’re available via Live Chat in your Console 24/7, weekdays GMT.

For cubemaps, you’ll likely have to run your computer-generated panoramas through Autodesk A360. We’ve outlined that entire process here to make things simple for you

Make sure after you’ve uploaded your panoramas, that you select the correct file type on the right side of the Console. Our system needs to know what it has ingested before displaying it properly in the Authoring window for you to create your VR app.

Publishing to HTC Vive is a relatively straightforward process. You should definitely consider why you are publishing to HTC Vive though. Just because you’ve invested in the hardware doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best fit for your project. For instance, if you’re exhibiting at a trade show, it’s going to take a certain amount of time to load up people into the Vive headset. If you have a large amount of foot traffic, you may want to use the InstaVR platform to also publish to Google Cardboards, so people will have other VR experiences to interact with while they wait.

Because you’ve invested a lot of money in the Vive platform, and a certain amount of time authoring your app, don’t forget to use our Heat Map technology to analyze where your users were spending the most time viewing in your VR environment. This will help you to iterate and improve your HTC Vive app.

5. Client Examples

AECOM – Uses software solutions like Autodesk Maya, combined with InstaVR, to create 3D renderings of buildings and infrastructure projects. A virtual fire drill, for instance, allows a user to navigate a building trying to exit in the most effective manner possible. This virtual fire drill can be seen by executives and other interested parties prior to the construction of the actual building. Read the AECOM customer success story here.

Toyota High System, Inc – It’s hard to stand out at a college job fair. Everyone is either wearing formal attire or company branded shirts. Giveaways all start to blend together. And how are you supposed to convey your corporate culture? Toyota High System used InstaVR to create an immersive long-form tour of their offices for the HTC Vive. You can’t bring every candidate from a job fair to your offices, but you can do so virtually. Read more about Toyota High System’s use of InstaVR here.

7. Conclusion

3d Computer Generated Software can create impressive, immersive renderings that are important for a large number of industries. If you’re investing the time and money into rendering high resolution CGI, you’ll want to publish it on a superior platform like HTC Vive. InstaVR can act as your bridge from computer rendering to distributing your app, and allows you to augment your images/videos with additional text, media, or audio narration. If you have access to an HTC Vive, leverage InstaVR to make for an extraordinary VR experience!

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April 19th, 2017|General|

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InstaVR is a virtual reality focused technology company, providing tools and services to enable professionals to author and publish interactive VR experiences. InstaVR is completely web-based and requires no specialized engineering knowledge. Over 10,000 clients have signed up for InstaVR, creating thousands of immersive 360 degree apps for iOS, Android, WebVR, Gear VR, Oculus Rift, HTC VIVE, Google Daydream, etc.

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