XR Tools & Resources for Getting Started

We are increasingly sharing our data and research in virtual environments. XR or extended reality platforms and technologies are growing in number and are developing to match the needs of their disciplines. While not an exhaustive list, the resources below are meant to serve as an introduction and place to get started.


Artsteps is a a web-based environment that allows its members to create virtual art galleries in lifelike 3D spaces. It is an application for artists, art organizations and art enthusiasts to model actual or virtual exhibitions by designing realistic 3-dimensional room complexes. Virtual exhibitions may include 2-dimensional artifacts (e.g. paintings, photos and posters), 3-dimensional artifacts (e.g. sculptures or small installations) and streaming videos.

Blender is a free and open-source 3D computer graphics software toolset used for creating animated films, visual effects, art, 3D printed models, motion graphics, interactive 3D applications, and computer games.

3DHOP (3D Heritage Online Presenter) is an open-source software package for the creation of interactive Web presentations of high-resolution 3D models, oriented to the Cultural Heritage field. 3DHOP target audience goes from the museum curators with some IT experience to the experienced Web designers who want to embed 3D contents in their creations, from students in the CH field to small companies developing web applications for museum and CH institutions. 

Google Tour Creator is a browser-based platforms that allows users to build immersive, 360° tours . By uploading 360° images, users can add text and image annotations, publish, and share their tours as easily as a Google Doc.

Initially developed by Digirati for the Wellcome Library, the Universal Viewer can display most types of digital content, including cover-to-cover books, archives, works of art, video, audio and 3D. It also supports the IIIF Auth and Search APIs. 

MeshLab is an open source system for processing and editing 3D triangular meshes. It provides a set of tools for editing, cleaning, healing, inspecting, rendering, texturing and converting meshes. It offers features for processing raw data produced by 3D digitization tools/devices and for preparing models for 3D printing. 

SketchUp is a 3D modeling computer program for a wide range of drawing applications such as architectural, interior design, landscape architecture, civil and mechanical engineering, film and video game design 

A platform to tag images, videos, and 360° media with instant access to additional information, audio, video, embeds and web links.

Unity’s real-time 3D development platform lets artists, designers and developers work together to create amazing immersive and interactive experiences. (Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux.)

VSim is a simple-to-use interface for exploring computer models of historic sites and environments. Designed to support both teacher-centered presentations and student-centered assignments, this NEH-funded software is perfect for classroom use.

WebVR/XR Tools

A-Frame is a  web framework for building virtual reality experiences. Users can make WebVR with HTML and Entity-Component, which can be viewed on Vive, Rift, Daydream, GearVR, and desktops.

WebVR is an open standard JavaScript API that makes it possible to experience immersive 3D Virtual Reality (VR) applications using a web browser like Microsoft Edge and a supported VR headset. Read about handling input in WebVR, and how to develop for WebVR on Windows 10. Check out these videos and articles for best practices when developing with WebVR.

Leverage standard web technologies to create interactive immersive content that can reach a large audience across web, mobile, and VR devices. Check out the following documentation to help you Get Started Developing WebXR Experiences.

Created by the pioneers at Emblematic Group, REACH makes the immersive power of volumetric VR available to anyone. A simple drag-and-drop interface lets users place real people into high-res 3D environments, and then share the results via a simple web link. Sign up now to become part of our growing community!

A set of tutorials developed by Pablo Farias Navarro and shared by Daniela Serban to get you started.

Previously known as WebVR, the WebXR Device API provides the interfaces necessary to enable developers to build compelling, comfortable, and safe immersive applications on the web across a wide variety of hardware form factors.

XR Equipment Survey

This is a list of XR equipment used in different parts of XR production with prices and links to specification details. (Last updated Spring 2020)


Interested in learning? These are some communities to network and get involved with.

The Community Standards for 3D Data Preservation  (CS3DP) group wiki is to support a collaborative environment for the development of standards for digital 3D data preservation. It is associated with an IMLS-funded project to hold national forum events. You can also engage in their google group.

A IIIF 3D community group provides an opportunity for institutions interested in interoperability to coordinate strategies and facilitate conversations about open standards that support 3D use cases. Many of the desired operations and interactions with 3D data are similar to the 2D and A/V use cases of IIIF for sharing images and annotation, and organizations are increasingly looking to integrate exhibits, displays, and comparisons of 3D data with other file types. They welcome participation in the IIIF 3D community group by anyone interested in exploring the prospects and promise of 3D data interoperability on the web.

Virginia Tech University Libraries, Indiana University Libraries, and the University of Oklahoma Libraries organized three meetings to develop a roadmap and white paper for library adoption of 3D and virtual reality (VR) services.

An online education platform for VR and AR in the arts.

Curated by the company LightForm, Projection Mapping Central (PMC) is a community resource for all things related to projection mapping (video mapping) for artists, programmers, advertisers or event organizers.

VR First is a global program designed to provide state-of-the-art facilities to creators and educators interested in exploring the power and potential of virtual reality development. VR First Labs and Centers are designed to be the key locations for nurturing new talent in VR/AR development. VR First also helps developers to convert ideas into business opportunities and brings developers together with established industry partners.

Virtual Reality Institute Task Force submitted a report to UCLA on February 8, 2019, which considered the growing need for XR in academia and the current status of the XR community on UCLA campus. This website continues the work of that initiative and hopes to continue to strengthen the UCLA XR community.