Thursday, November 1st, 2018 Posted by Jim Thacker

Edit Blender scenes in VR/AR with new free tool BlenderXR

Japanese developer MARUI-Plugin has released BlenderXR, a free virtual and mixed reality user interface for Blender that enables artists to edit scenes within the software using a suitable headset and controllers.

The software, which supports HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Windows MR and Fove headsets, was released in beta at the start of October, and has just received its first major update.

Place, edit and review assets within Blender in virtual reality
MARUI-Plugin has been developing a commercial Maya version of the software for some time now: the current release is version 3.

The new Blender edition isn’t as fully featured, but the premise is the same: it creates an in-headset graphical representation of the controllers, and the Blender actions mapped to them.

Users can then use the controllers to perform a range of basic editing operations on a Blender scene, moving and transforming objects and assigning materials within virtual reality.

As with similar third-party plugins and the VR functionality built into tools like Unreal Engine, Unity and Modo, it’s probably best suited for layout and look dev rather than tasks that need fine manipulation.

However, there are a couple of nice features for asset review, including a measurement tool and a widget based on Blender’s Grease Pencil toolset, which can be used for annotating scenes.

The project is open-source and donation-funded, with MARUI-Plugin posting a detailed breakdown of its earnings and the time spent developing new features on its website.

Availability and system requirements
Binaries of BlenderXR are available for Blender 2.8 (in alpha at the time of posting) running on Windows and Linux. The HTC Vive is the only headset supported on Linux; all four are supported on Windows.

The binaries are free and source code is available on GitHub under a GPL licence.

Download BlenderXR for free from MARUI-Plugin’s website