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Explore 6DOF 3D models from 360 videos in VR on Oculus Quest

Creating 3D models from 360 videos
Creating 3D models from 360 videos

What if you could create a 6DOF 3D environment just by recording a 360 video with a consumer 360 camera?  Here are sample 3D models generated from a 360 video that you can explore in VR with Oculus Quest, Quest 2, Oculus Go, or Sketchfab, like being able to walk around inside a photo!

Dr. Maxime Lhuillier from CNRS/Institut Pascal/UCA has been researching videogrammetry software that can convert 360 videos into a 3D environment.  To capture his videos, he uses a 360 camera mounted on a helmet.  Dr. Lhuillier uses Garmin Virb 360 or a GoPro MAX both of which are consumer 360 cameras (although they both have built-in GPS, Dr. Lhuillier does not use the GPS data).  After recording the videos, he uses software that analyzes the videos and converts them into a 3D model.

Unlike very costly LIDAR cameras or conventional photogrammetry that requires thousands of photos, this approach with 360 videos is much faster to capture and uses affordable consumer cameras.

Here’s a demo video of one of the 3D models:

Now you can explore several of these environments yourself in VR with Oculus Quest, Quest 2, or Oculus Go, and yes, they do support 6DOF VR with Oculus Quest.  Not only can you move forward, backward or side-to-side, but the perspective will also change if you crouch for example.  If you don’t have a VR headset, you can also look at the models on Sketchfab.

How to view the 3D models

To view the models in VR, you will need to sideload them into your Quest, Quest 2, or Oculus Go (see instructions below).   Once installed, you can view them on your Quest or Quest 2 by going to your Library and selecting Unknown Sources.  The 3D models you installed will be listed there.  You can then move around physically or by using the right controller’s joystick.  By default, the user moves at the same height as the camera.  But if you press the A button on the right controller it will bring up a menu where you can disable the camera constraint.  In this mode, the height will change depending on the terrain.  But please note that this is more likely to cause motion sickness.  Another tip: move slowly to avoid nausea.

Option 1: Sidequest

First, install Sidequest.  If you haven’t done so, see Step 3 here.  I recommend using the most current version of Sidequest.

On Sidequest, you can click on the browser (globe icon in the title bar) and enter this address: https://sidequestvr.com/user/330664 . Then click on the install button for the model you’d like to explore.

Option 2: Sidequest – APK

If you have an older version of Sidequest, it might not install correctly (mine just kept loading).  So here’s another option: download the APK from Maxime Lhuiller’s website, which you can install using ADB (see below) or Sidequest.  Just drag the APK into Sidequest, which installs them on your Quest.

Option 3: ADB – APK

If you don’t have Sidequest, you can also install the APK (see option 2) via ADB.  Here are instructions for using ADB in my ALVR tutorial.

Option 4: Sketchfab

If you don’t have a VR headset, you can also look at the models in Sketchfab.  Here is one of them, with 2.3 million triangles and 1.4 million vertices.  Note: Sketchfab is also available in VR and technically you can use the Sketchfab VR app to view the models but the scale will be wrong.  Also, a user reported that Sketchfab would crash.  If you have a VR headset, I highly recommend downloading the APK instead (options 1, 2, or 3).

Semi-medieval town, helmet-held 360 camera
by Maxime Lhuillier
on Sketchfab

Dr. Lhuillier said that this is for research and not intended to be released to consumers.  However, I’m excited to see this technology developed and I hope that we can see software like this for consumers, which I hope will be available in a few years.  Meanwhile, you can check out Dr. Lhuillier’s work on his website. If you have any questions or comments, please post them below.

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