Exporting and Publishing of 360 VR Experiences (3VR)


The 360 VR Experience (3VR) is a file format developed by Esri to publish and consume panoramic photos of e.g. CityEngine scenes. These panoramic photos are consumable in browsers (users look around with mouse), mobiles (users look around with gyro/touch), and virtual reality (VR) headsets (users look around by turning their head).

At its core, the CityEngine 3VR exporter is basically an automated way to take a series of viewport snapshots based on camera bookmarks. These snapshots are combined into panoramic photos (one for each bookmark). Afterwards, the resulting 3VR file is ready to be consumed locally or via the cloud after uploading.

With CityEngine 2016.1, the companion app "ArcGIS 360 VR" will be released in the Oculus™ Gear VR store. The gyro/touch-based mobile app and the browser app will be released later.

Please visit the CityEngine Resource Page for download links and the latest in CityEngine VR support.

Basic 3VR Export

The main tool to create a 3VR experience is the 3VR exporter which is accessible through File→Export 360 VR Experience.... It composes CityEngine scene layers and camera bookmarks into 3VR scenarios and writes everything into a single 3vr file.

Demo Scene Overview for 3VR

The layers above (red) are composed into scenarios and the camera bookmarks (green) are turned into VR viewpoints. The 3VR exporter will use the current layer and object visibility and bake a panoramic photo for each view.

Creating a 3VR consists of a few simple steps:

  1. Tweak the CityEngine scene to your liking: Demo Scene Overview for 3VR
  2. Setup bookmarks and give them meaningful names: Export Settings for 3VR
  3. Optionally enable the camera Bookmarks view option in the Settings Menu to visualize the position of your camera viewpoints:
    Export Settings for 3VR
  4. Open the 3VR export wizard with File→Export 360 VR Experience...: Export Settings for 3VR
  5. Adjust the export settings:
    Ouput PathWhere to save the 3VR file? If you plan to upload it to the cloud, a subdirectory of the current CityEngine project is recommended.
    Experience NameThe title of the panoramic photo.
    ViewsChoose which camera bookmarks to include. This will decide the number of unique points-of-view available in the panoramic photo.
    ScenariosSpecify the composition of scene layers into scenarios, i.e. which scene layers to include in a scenario. The default state is initialized with the layer visibility.
  6. Click Finish. The resulting 3vr file can now be viewed locally, transferred onto a device, or uploaded to the cloud, e.g. an ArcGIS Portal or ArcGIS Online.

Uploading a 3VR to an ArcGIS Portal or ArcGIS Online

  1. Export the 3VR into e.g. the model subfolder of your current CityEngine project.
  2. Make sure you are signed into the desired portal or ArcGIS Online.
  3. In the navigator, right-click on the 3VR file and choose Share as...:
    Sharing a 3VR on the cloud
  4. Choose option Upload package to my ArcGIS online or Portal account and optionally adjust the name of the experience:
    Sharing a 3VR on the cloud
  5. Fill in the required fields for the Item Description:
    Setting the Item Description
  6. Choose the access permission of the Item:
    Setting the Sharing Options

    360 VR Experience viewers might only work with public items.

  7. Click Analyze to validate your 3VR Item for any errors or issues. You must validate and resolve all errors before you can save it to disk or share it to ArcGIS Online or Portal. If any issues are discovered, an error will be reported. You have to fix the error before you can continue.
  8. Once validated, click Share to upload your Web Scene package to ArcGIS Online.
  9. After successful upload, use File → ArcGIS Online to go to My Content to find your uploaded 3VR. Alternatively, you can also use the Navigator to browse your ArcGIS Online or Portal account.

Further Reading

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