How To Make Sketches Using Google Earth VR

How To Make Sketches Using Google Earth VR
February 1, 2019

Ubisoft artist Liz Edwards created this jaw-dropping mixed reality hack shown above: She's sketching in real life while using Street View in Google Earth VR. The video feed is from a webcam that she attached to her collar.


"I've tried this once before using the Vive camera," she explains, "but seeing my head move in real life and in VR at the same time made me feel EXTREMELY BAD. Stationary webcam is much more comfortable. I used OVRdrop (on Steam here) to add a window with my webcam feed into SteamVR." Along with being a fun way to mix VR with real drawing, it's an engaging way to virtually travel to remote places: "As someone a long way from home it's really nice being able to visit and hang out in my favorite places this way!"


Here's step by step installation instructions from her Twitter feed:

  1. You need a PC VR headset - I used an Oculus Rift.
  2. To draw in the real world, you'll need a webcam. I have a Logitech C920.
  3. Download Steam and install SteamVR.
  4. Buy OVRdrop on Steam - this lets you put your webcam feed into VR.
  5. Install Google Earth VR - or, any VR game - via Steam.
  6. Launch OVRdrop and position the virtual window in front of you in a comfortable position. Make sure you've selected the feed from your webcam via the dropdown options.
  7. Attach the webcam to you so its below your chin pointing at the paper. As close to your perspective as possible without moving when you move your head.
  8. Launch Google Earth VR via Steam. You should now be able to explore in Google Earth VR with a webcam feed of your sketchbook in front of you and able to sketch what you see!


Bonus tip: "If you already have a drawing tablet for your computer and drawing software, you can skip the webcam thing and use OVRdrop to put your drawing software into VR the same way, like this."

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