• Ravi

Is it possible to export 3ds Max models to VR on the Oculus Quest?

Want to export scenes from your 3DS Max designs to VR to show to your clients? What is the workflow to view a 3DS Max model in Oculus Quest? Are their software tools that help you get this done? Do you need some custom software development skills to get this done?

We will dive into these questions to make it simple for you to understand the options currently.

Is there a direct plugin to export to Quest?

Unfortunately, the short answer is NO. As of February 2022, there is no plug & play approach to get a 3D design from 3DS Max to the Quest. There are options available to get this done though depending on your workflow for rendering and software tools.

Option 1: The "Game engine" solution

If you want to get the entire model into the Oculus, you will have to import it first to a game engine like Unity or Unreal. Once the import is successful, you will have to create an Oculus Application. While it is possible to create a VR app for a 3D design using this solution, it is more oriented towards developers as the level of technical knowledge to make this work is usually pretty high.

Here's a quick summary of the process for the leading game engines

A quick summary of the process for Unity:
  1. Export your 3DS Max model in FBX format

  2. Import into Unity

  3. Map textures & materials

  4. Test your app using developer mode on Quest

  5. Export in .apk format and use SideQuest to distribute to third-parties

  6. Ready to show it to clients

For a detailed understanding of the pipeline, check this complete tutorial from Unity

A quick summary of the process for Unreal Engine:
  1. Download & install Datasmith Plugin using this link

  2. Open Unreal & enable Datasmit from Plugins in Unreal. Restart Unreal

  3. Export your 3DS Max model using the format in Unreal Datasmith format

  4. Import the file to Unreal to transfer your model

  5. Export your project in .apk format and use SideQuest to distribute to third-parties

  6. Ready to show to clients

For a detailed understanding of the pipeline, check this complete tutorial from Unreal

A few challenges you may face in the above workflows:

  1. The Import-export process is required each time there is a change in the model

  2. Accurate import from 3ds Max to Unity/Unreal can require some configuration

  3. Publishing the app for Oculus requires detailed configuration

Option 2: Render 360 panorama to create VR walkthroughs

Panoramas are an excellent medium to show your designs to clients. They are not limited to still renderings and are not full-fledged 3D walkthroughs either. They enable clients to see a 360 view of a scene, move between multiple scenes and interact with multimedia content like videos, notes, and links making it a very efficient tool. Once your 360 tour is ready, you can share them as a link or view them on the Oculus Quest 2 using the right viewer. Considering that 3DS Max has a very simple Panorama Exporter available, this workflow saves a lot of time to get your designs ready for sharing with clients on the web and Oculus.

Credit: Gashu Arquitectos

How to create 360 panorama renderings from 3DS Max?

We have detailed the steps with screenshots in this tutorial. Here's a quick summary of the steps involved.

  1. Choose a Camera

  2. Position the camera in the center of the scene you want to render

  3. Go to Utilities --> Panorama Exporter

  4. Click on Render

  5. Choose the Width & Height of your render.

  6. Make sure it is 2:1 (for example, 6000*3000) & Click "Render"

  7. From the Panorama Export Viewer, click File --> Export Sphere

  8. Save the image to your desktop as a jpg or png file

Check this video below for a step-by-step understanding of the process.

What is the workflow for 3DS Max using VRay?

If you are using 3DS Max along with V-Ray, the steps are very similar to create a 360 panorama experience.

Refer to this video below for a step-by-step tutorial:

How to convert panoramas to a Virtual Reality experience?

Now that you have photorealistic 360 renders from your 3DS Max design ready, you need to convert them into an interactive 360 virtual tour using a panorama to VR software. Using your Sentio account, this can be done in three simple steps:

  1. Upload your 360 panoramas to your account

  2. Add interactions ( hotspots, notes, video, audio, and floor plans)

  3. Save your tour once completed

Download the SENTIO VR Oculus Quest 2 App on the App Lab Store and you're set to view, share and meet inside your 3DS Max design with clients.

Want to try this workflow for your design? Start your free trial now.