Virtual reality is about immersion - making you feel like you are really there! This is done by ‘hiding’ the real world. You wear a headset so all you can see is the virtual world, and it reacts to head movement, so you can look around as normal. It is often combined with ‘stereo rendering’, which provides a slightly different image to each of your eyes. As a result you see normally, in 3D, instead of the 2D of a computer monitor.
High end setups will allow you to get up and walk around, tracking your every motion and fooling you into believing it’s real. We will be trying something simpler. Head motion will be ignored, but you can still look around. To do this we render an image (or film) that covers every single direction you can look - a panorama.
(Images CC-BY Dalai Felinto/Blender Institute)
A VR viewer then shows you only the part of the image for the direction you are looking in, updating as you turn your head: