VR envinroment using photogrammetry dev log part. 2-8

"Art", 3d, VR

A part II of my game (sort of) dev log.

Planing part II using mobile so only vertical view for now. Restrictions I have to work with with limited set of models. Flow chat drawing on mobile for puzzles in games. All in all this is a dev log that might be interesting for people working with 3d graphics and planing to step in to real time engines as well as doing some photogrammetry and all of that in Virtual Reality. So its still planing part, and here also show some snippets from my previous VR environment and some workflows very briefly, just to give you a taste of whats coming.
here is a video from my first environment – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7SRu…
and the environment itself – https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfile…
and joggling in vr with carrots and skulls just like in hl alyx!

So in the third part I am doing retopo of a scanned model in 3D coat. then splitting the result for better uv shall / island distribution to maximize texture space. And last thing – sins steamVR / hammer / source 2 (?) doesn’t support tessellation / subdivision, I am “baking tessellation” to the mesh using height map that i have from baking my original model.

In the forth part I am testing if it is worth to split lower part of tower to 5 separate models each with 4k texture and sort of a displacement map baked directly in to the mesh sins there is no tessellation in hammer editor. (At least steam VR version of it). Also accidentally recorded a hammer crash, that just happens each ten mouse clicks. Well to be honest might be each 20 mouse clicks :) so save regularly and pray..

Strange problems with hammer editor
normal maps or smoothing groups (max terminology) soft edges (maya terminology) phong breaks ? (in cinema 4d) shade smooth ? (blender)

so for some reason importing obj file to hammer brakes smoothing groups and only way to fix it i found is selecting all edges on object in hammer and setting normals to smooth. in general more detailed walls do look better then just flat ones, so i will use quite a dense mesh for my tower. its around 15 k – 20 k for ground, and all 4 walls and a dome as one model.

One small update on normal maps. Sometimes you might end up in a situation where normal maps are not as punchy not as strong as you might want them to be. But you do not want to spend time doing things again. so i found this sort of cheating method. it kind of works. Basically it makes your existing normal map to have more effect. sort of. all you need to do is duplicate the image in 2d image editing software and modify its “levels” to be specific only blue channel of an image. And you use this as overlay blending mode on top of original image, save it and here you go. I should do more A B tests to see is it worth it, but at least it doesn’t make it worst or it seems so :) go ahead try it out and report me back if it works for you as well.

Continuing my development of photo realistic 3d scanned VR environment for steam vr in 3d studio max. Sins I have spitted upper and lower part of my tower walls to have better texture density i end up having unwanted seams that i plan to hide by making beams (big wooden things that you find in ld architecture). Here I only make a box, add some edges, some noise some chamfer and make uv’s.
Main take away – dont model too much detail, and see at what point its best to do uv unfolding. You make it later in process its harder to unfold. You make it too early and you might destroy something. Adding some chamfers, noise’s and stuff could be done after unfold is done and uv’s are done.

In this episode we will continue with VR environment (with photogrammetry assets) devlog. In last part we created beams (jolts?) and made their uv’s. Now lets draw textures using texture projection. I found that 3D coat lets us use one texture to be simultaneously painted in normal map and color textures – that is super neat! So i decided to draw some burned wood textures that i have prepared in photoshop by mixing up some reference photos. Drawn two versions of wood texture – regular and burned. Made a mask in photoshop to mix up these textures. And load it up to engine.

devlog part 1 for VR environment with 3D scanned models

"Art", 3d, VR
An intro to my game (sort of) dev log. planing part using mobile so only vertical view for now. discussing game engine choice in 3 sentences. Also flow chat drawing on mobile for puzzles in games. All in all this is a dev log that might be interesting for people working with 3d graphics and planing to step in to real time engines as well as doing some photogrammetry and all of that in Virtual Reality. well just the end result in VR not the whole process :) more on game engines to present your 3D scanning stuff in VR: easiest – publish on sketchfab. easy to do, but very limited in interaction. though u can still walk around (teleport) around your objects in VR. You can add sound. here is an example – https://skfb.ly/6zAvR all models created using photogrammetry. then there is hardcore option – unity and unreal. Here you can do probably anything, make any move movement style, or anything really, but you will probably need to learn programming. At best use visual “programming” using node system like blueprints in unreal. Here I am taking a “middle path” less complicated then unity / unreal, but more then sketchfab – iam doing VR environment for steam VR. Its is created using source 2 engine (?) and has quite a bit of interactivity. Basically you are modding valve game here in their level editor called hammer! that’s what i will be doing in this dev log.

List of festivals, cinema theaters and platforms for cinematic VR

3d, VR

I found following festivals to submit your work. Add some more please!


Sundance NEXTFEST festival.August 7-9, Los Angeles, USA

Future of story telling FoST FEST. October 7-9, New York City, USA

Tribeca Film Festival. Article. April 13-24,

Kaleidoscope tour. ???

Vr Fest.  January 6-9, Las Vegas, USA

LICHTER Filmfest March 29 – 03 April , Frankfurt, DE


And this is a first entry for VR cinema in my list:

The Virtual Cinema Amsterdam, Netherlands EU. Oosterdokskade 5
1011 AD



Vrideo, Littlstar, Kolor, YouTube, Facebook,  Jaunt, 360s.tv, Wavrp, DiscoveryVr,


HMD related and other platforms:

Milk VR (Samsung gear VR), Oculus share, Steam VR, Vr CardboardUnimeriv, Vrapps, Wearvr, Vrcodex, SideloadVr, StoreVmr, Open source VR, V, Rift cat, Leap, Bowl roll,


Full Dome Festivals:

full dome festival, Jena, DE EU


If you have additions or corrections, let me know.

List of links that include thoughts on cinematic VR

3d, VR

So a list of links to podcasts, you tube videos and alike regarding various vr related things but all of them (i hope) have something related to cinematic vr, even though non of them are exclusively about it. So we have to pick relevant parts. But still for today the net is not over saturated with thoughts about vr techniques, therefore i’d say its good to see them all :)  Links are of no particular order.

Things you should know working with VR

3d, VR

So basically I care most about cinematic Vr. But it does help, IMO to to know basics, History, real time, rendering technology and all the rest.  Even though Vr is an old “thing” vr content used to be very scarce and closely connected to specific hardware- usually so called caves. Basically, for most of common people who are not lucky enough to be around in 70’s somewhere in usa, uk, de universities in mathematics engineering or it departments or military… well then for you Vr content is non existent :)

So there was some scientific research, but there was very little “artistic” stuff. And even though there where some artists doing installations but not so many so the common “language”of vr would emerge.

Now that we have so called second wave of VR, we have much more people trying to make content. Most do game related content – which makes sense- as soon as we have positional tracking we need real time 3d rendering. (unless again you are in research team that works with light fields or similar..)

Others yet go for real life filming or so called action footage. Animators are somewhat in between these two extremes, on one hand we are closer to video – cos we are used to make stories, aka “films” on the other hand we create stuff more then we capture from real life and  in that regard we are closer to game creators. Now ofcource all things overlap and there cannot be clear cut definitions and boundaries…

So people from the second wave are creating content for about 3 years now. And some share their knowledge and experience publicly. Here I gathered some material from youtube and other places. If you work on Vr content some of these might be relevant to you.  Now most of them fall either in 3d real time category or 360 video. But one can always find relevant information even if it is not exactly from your field – most things are connected. So here it goes, my link collection:

  1. what is vr? from Chaos group (makers of vray)
  2. Articles from WEIRD. 6 rools for VR cinematic content, where do you show your films / experiences ? vr / movie ? and more festivals are poping up, I ll have to make a list later..
  3. 5 lessons from “Lost”, oculus story studio. And another post from their blog   on Swayze Effect  ” Can you even tell stories in VR?  What if you can’t? What are we even doing? “
  4. Why do we care about locomotion in VR? The motion in VR from real time rendering perspective.. “Limbo” “Blink” “comfort mode
  5. general things: Different Different projects. Story telling in VR. New adventures for creativitySVVR
  6. techniques. Light fields, Octaine, Rendering optimization Pollen (Unity 5 engine).
  7. What does the Oculus say? The Carmack himself!  Optimization of your VR.  Developing for VR. Not so much technical but very important –  Human visual system and Vr. Sound for VR.


Some other good resources:

VFX VR boot camp. Example here. Digital tutors.  And the book.

Most of this was for real time Vr. Next update will be more towards cinematic VR.And one after that – books and academic thoughts on VR.