Stereoscopic 360° Images with SketchUp and V-Ray

In this tutorial we will be using SketchUp and V-Ray to render stereoscopic 360° images.

Used in This Tutorial

  • SketchUp Make 2017
  • V-Ray 3.40

If you don’t already have V-Ray installed, you can follow along with this tutorial using the free 30 day trial, found here.

Step 1. Pick a Model

Open the model you want to render. For this tutorial I am using a free castle model from the 3D Warehouse. If you want to work along with the same model, it can be found here. I changed some of the materials to V-Ray presets instead of the ones that were included with the model in order to improve the texture quality.

Step 2. Position the Camera

In order to position the camera at around eye height, I’ve created a measuring stick in the courtyard of the castle, which is the point I want to render from.

To get your camera in the correct location, select the ‘Position Camera’ tool.

With the tool selected, click the top of your measuring stick, and drag away from it, making sure the line is on either the green or the red axis.

You should end up with a view that looks something like this, depending on your model.

Step 3. Rendering

With the camera in position, it’s just about time to start rendering the scene. Head into the V-Ray Asset Editor.

From here, switch over the the ‘Settings’ tab. You can leave most of the settings here default.

Open up the camera menu, and select the type of panorama you want to render. This will depend on where you are planning on using your image. Most sites that allow you to upload images require spherical panoramas, and the Samsung GearVR can display both. So unless you specifically know you will need a cubemap, I would go with the spherical panorama.

Then, make sure you the camera set to ‘Stereo’.

In the ‘Render Output’ setting, make sure you change the resolution, especially for your final render. For a spherical panorama I would recommend an image height of at least 2048, giving you a total of around 16 megapixel.

For cubemaps, I would go with an image height of at least 1024, for around 12 megapixel.

You shouldn’t need to tinker with any other settings unless you have a specific reason to, so you should be ready to start rendering. Just click the ‘Render’ button, and V-Ray will take care of the rest.

If you chose to render a spherical panorama, your render should look something like this:

Unfortunately, the side by side panorama is not supported by the web-based VR viewers, so you will have to do a little photo editing to get it working. Use Photoshop or something similar to change the image so that the left part of the panorama becomes the top part, and the right part becomes the bottom part. Like so:

If you chose to render a cubemap instead of a spherical panorama, it should look something like this:

Finally, here’s a view of the render. Open in a Cardboard compatible device to view it in VR.


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