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How to, Resource, Technical, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Back in Spring of 2016, VR technology experienced an explosion of excited users wanting to get their hands on the VR release of the year: the Oculus Rift. After the Rift’s release, a huge wave of tech companies went to work creating video games compatible with the 360 experience.

Fast forward to today, Virtual Reality has a developed relationship with Enterprise. Numerous businesses have incorporated the advanced tech into their workflow, enhancing productivity and improving efficiency. Industries like Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) have found VR to answer many of their barriers internally and when meeting with clients. As VR continues to see mass adoption in both entertainment and business, it’s no wonder the advanced tech market is projected to be worth approximately $30 billion USD by next year.

There’s currently an overwhelming amount of information on how the VR experience is radically transformative and immersive experiences will be a game changer for the future. As a company, you may be very interested in incorporating VR into your workflow, but where do you even begin if you want to start creating your own VR content?

How to Create VR Content for Business

There are options available for anyone at any expertise level to create stunning VR content. Creating VR content is not just exclusive for those inexperienced 3D design. Let’s explore 3 different avenues at 3 levels of expertise for creating a beautiful VR project.

Level 1: No 3D Design Background

For someone who may have zero knowledge about 3D design, it can definitely be overwhelming knowing where to start. It’s important to remember that VR isn’t a piece of technology that is only exclusive for the tech fanatics. Nowadays, there are a number of options to produce a 3D scene compatible to view in VR.

We would recommend finding a 3D rendering company (like KiSP’s Visualization services) that could take your vision and turn it into (virtual) reality. Outsourcing is a great way to produce VR content if you have no background in 3D design, or especially if you’re in a pinch for time. Also, using the service is perfect for businesses that occasionally want an extra boost in a pitch. Rather than spending your time trying to figure out how to design a beautiful 3D model, outsourcing a project is an excellent choice for “one-time use”. Plus, these people are experts in what they do — you can rest assured that they will communicate your vision into something absolutely stunning.

In the long run, it may be the most cost-effective option for producing 3D content in both time and resources. Allow the leaders in design to help you walk through the design process and take your first leap into VR.

Level 2: No Design Background but Some Experience in Tech

Another way to create content compatible to view in VR is 360-degree photography. Compared to outsourcing a VR project, 360 photography requires extra hardware, and the knowledge to use it. Although many opt to use 360 photography, one of the limitations is that you are only able to capture spaces that already exist. If that isn’t a problem for you, 360-degree photography is a great and simple way to capture a space in VR.

A 360-degree photo is a spherical panoramic image that closes in on the original point from which the photo was taken. 360-degree photos give a “human’s-eye” view of a space, allowing the viewer to experience the setting like they’re actually there. Uploading the photo to a VR viewer allows you to look up and down, left and right, or spin around in a circle to fully explore the space.

360-degree photography is quite simple and intuitive to use, however it also requires investing in the necessary hardware for a fully immersive experience. Although the overall price of the cameras has become increasingly more affordable, depending on the make and model, it can still be a heavy investment.

Here are two 360-degree camera options and different price points:

Vuze XR – $439 USD

The Vuze XR is a powerful handheld 360-degree camera that can take 18-megapixel photos or 5.7k 360 videos. This lightweight and easy to use option takes 360 content with just a simple click on a button. Additionally, their camera has 2 different mode

We have found the camera performs quite well, is very light and portable, making it convenient for on the go shooting. Although the camera is close to $500, we have found the price point is reflected in the quality it produces and it performs very well in comparison to other handheld camera options.

Insta360 Pro – $3,499 USD

The Insta360 Pro camera is definitely very pricey, however, it produces extremely high-quality 360-degree content. This camera is one of the first that performs at the calibre of a professional 360 camera yet it is very easy and intuitive to use. The camera has 8k resolution, including 360 photo and video capabilities.

At the end of the day, the Insta360 Pro is a high performing 360-degree camera. It generates extraordinary high-quality 360 content, while still being very easy to use. We personally enjoy using it when we are shooting a space for a client for the exact reason for the quality it produces. Your 360-degree content will be without a doubt remarkably stunning when using the camera.

Level 3: An Adept 3D Designer

Now heading to the most advanced option of producing VR content: designing in CAD software. Navigating through the software for a person without a background in design can be overwhelming and confusing. However, for the seasoned professional, going from a 3D model to VR content will take just one added step.

Before converting your 3D model to VR content, make sure you have at least a basic layout of a space: 4 walls, a ceiling, and a floor. Additionally, make sure to select your desired camera angles in your design.

After that, you’re ready to convert your design into a cubemap.

What is a Cubemap?

To put it simply, a cubemap is a series of six images duplicated per eye (a total of 12 images) that form the faces of a cube. The end result forms a JPEG image that you can upload to a VR viewer. Each face represents the view along the directions of the world axes. Definitely check out our knowledge base article if you would like a more in-depth look into what cubemaps are.

How Do I Create a Cubemap from my CAD Software?

A few CAD programs are capable of producing cubemaps within the software, however, CAD software like SketchUp or Rhino don’t. Nowadays, a number of VR programs have CAD plugins that will convert your 3D design into a cubemap ready to view in VR. Think of plugins like the bridge between your 3D design and Virtual Reality.

Here at Yulio, we have built plugins for SketchUp, 3DS Max, Rhino, and CET Designer. After installing your program specific plugin, you will see it appear in the toolbar of your CAD program. Select the scenes you would like to view in VR, render the cubemap, and upload it to Yulio to view it in 360.

Anyone Can Create Content for VR

We understand that diving into the world of VR content creation can be intimidating. Hopefully, walking through the different levels of content creation arms you with confidence that there are VR solutions appropriate for you. Whether you’re a professional designer or someone who’s just interested in the tech, anyone is able to create content for VR.

Here at Yulio, we strive to be the best VR presentation tool available for business. If you’re interested in learning more about our software and what we offer, please visit our page or take our product tour. To learn more about our CAD plugins, click here to download our user guides.

Architecture, Business, Design, Resource, VR, Your Business + Virtual Reality

People are naturally resistant to change not only because of the discomfort but also because of legitimate fears about losing efficiency. When deadlines are pressing, people don’t want to take additional time to try new software or build render time into their workflow.  

With a little education, you can overcome this hesitation and lead VR adoption for your business. Take a look at some of the key insights from our Client Success Manager, Dana Warren (DW), as she discusses working with VR. We’ll help you learn how to adopt the technology to wow your clients and feel confident in every client interaction.

What do you think are the biggest hesitations people have when they start working with virtual reality?

DW – The biggest hurdle I find users have trouble with is figuring out how they want to adopt VR into their workflow. Designing in a CAD program is already time-consuming, so they feel like adding a new step to the workflow is daunting; but it honestly comes down to the rendering stage. You can render VR-compatible scenes with our CAD plugins, which means all you’ll need to do is upload your files to Yulio and click ‘View in VR’ to send them to the Yulio Viewer app on your phone.

New technology can seem intimidating, but Yulio was designed to be used by anyone. Things like our CAD plugins and authoring within Yulio may seem complicated, but we can assure you that the workflow process for you is not changing much, and anything you’re unfamiliar with is a small learning curve in the scheme of things. We’re here to make sure you have success with your clients so anything you run into we can help you overcome.

What are the most common questions you get from users who are just starting out?

DW –The main question I get is surrounding where the VR content comes from. Once users sign-up, they find that they’re inside our interface, but they aren’t sure how to get started working with virtual reality as they may not know how to create content.

Here is where our CAD plugins come in. If you install the plugin that matches the CAD program in your workflow, you can make any 3D CAD design into a VR design. Click on the Yulio plugin button in your CAD program, and once the project is done rendering, you can upload the cubemap file to Yulio, and there you go – a virtual reality experience you can share with your clients. You can start working with VR in this way in minutes.

We also get a lot of inquiries from new users asking about what kind of headset they should use or buy. When people think about VR, they picture tethered VR, which isn’t as easy to use in business – you have to have someone on site for every meeting, you have to watch for safety and clients have a greater chance of experiencing nausea.

Yulio focuses solely on a mobile virtual reality experience because of the simplicity, mobility, and how intuitive it is for all kinds of users. We typically recommend the Samsung Gear VR (about $100 and widely available on Amazon) for a higher-end mobile experience, or there’s also the Homido mini or Google Cardboard which still provide great viewing experiences, but with a smaller price tag of $10-$15.  

Another common question we get is around how to share a virtual reality project with clients or coworkers. This is where Yulio shines – it’s all about making you look good in front of your clients, and is a simple presentation tool for working with VR. Yulio has two ways of sharing; link, and embed.

If you want to privately share your VR project, then sharing a link would be the way to go. Every VR project has a unique URL associated with it, and you have the freedom to share this link with the audience of your choosing. If you and your clients know how to work with a URL, it’s just the same.

You can also embed any VR experience on your website – you can find the embed code for your website under the sharing link, but just like a video or other resources, you just use the code to add to the site.

What’s the best way for new users to start working with VR?

DW – If I could recommend one thing it would be to just dive in. Give yourself an hour or so and just explore the features and functions, maybe read through some our resources – once you spend time learning the technology, I can promise you that you’re going to become an expert. And that one-hour investment is going to do amazing things for your business – VR adopters find they:

  • Are perceived as leaders in their industry for having adopted new technology
  • Have better, more engaging conversations with clients who better understand their design presentations
  • Get to decision making faster, with fewer meetings since VR brings clarity
  • Have fewer late-stage changes as their clients are in sync with the design from the beginning

Some resources we have on-hand include, ‘‘how-to” video walkthroughs on our Youtube channel, we have our knowledge base and FAQ’s to answer some of your questions, a live chat on our website which I answer within hours, so if you can’t find an answer you can definitely reach out to me there.

Finally, we just started hosting weekly training webinars to introduce new users to Yulio, and help you with getting started with virtual reality. Grab a spot any week, here.

Do you have any tips or tricks for users who are just starting to use VR?

DW – Some tips that I find helpful and useful when working with VR are:

  • In your CAD program, set the camera height to 5’6” – This is the average height of people in North America. It’ll give you a good perspective height when you’re viewing the VR project. And think about the camera position your client will see at the start of the experience – you don’t want them facing a blank wall, so you have to consider that starting spot
  • Depending on the headset that you’re using, VR can be isolating; which is why we remove head straps on our headsets. This makes it easier to pop in and out of virtual reality to keep the discussion with clients flowing.
  • Next, really think about what you’re designing for. When you’re designing for virtual reality, you have to keep in mind that the user can look all around them as opposed to in one single direction. So remember to design for above, behind, and below your client as well as key areas that you want to showcase.
  • Finally, think about the story you’re trying to tell, and how you can get that across with features like audio and navigational hotspots. You want to paint more than just a pretty picture, you want to captivate your client and truly allow them to see your vision come to life in front of their eyes.

A big thank you to Dana for sharing her knowledge and insights, and for providing so much ongoing support. She will be continuing to host our weekly training webinars for new users every Thursday at 1 pm EST. At these webinars, Dana will equip you with everything you need to know to start creating awesome VR presentations for your clients using Yulio.

She’ll take you through things like:

  • Business use-cases and real examples of VR projects from our clients,
  • How to create a VR project from rendering to authoring
  • Customizing and enhancing your VR project to be the best it can be
  • Go through CAD plugins within the actual programs themselves

On top of all of that, the webinar is completely live so you can feel free to stop and ask questions at every step of the process and she’ll do her best to address all of your comments, questions, and concerns.

If you’re interested in joining one of our weekly webinar training sessions, you can sign up here. Or if you want to give Yulio a try you can sign up here and get access to a Yulio account and test our all our features for free.