"Sankhara" Image courtesy of Tendril.

VR rules: a starter's guide to the do's and don'ts

By Psyop, Mechanism Digital, and Tendril, for "Journey to VR"

Last modification: 30 Aug, 2017
8 mins

Music, fashion, horror – even fortune telling – is getting the VR treatment these days. Though content themes and applications are increasingly varied, the rules (at least, to date) are not.

As we continue our Journey to VR, we call on Christian Bach (Psyop), Lucien Harriot (Mechanism Digital), as well as the crew at Tendril, to give us their top Virtual Reality do's and don'ts.

Autodesk M+E is making a VR experience! Follow along as we take a Journey to VR.

Christian Bach (Psyop)

Kismet, Clash of Clans 360


Keep your camera still – or at least, keep camera movement to a bare minimum.

Stay away from cutting. It’s disorienting for any user.

Use a high frame rate. It makes for a much more comfortable experience.


Don't rotate the camera, that's bad. I haven’t seen anybody pull that off without making users sick. Beyond that, I’m hesitant to say don’t do something because I think it's all worth trying.

Lucien Harriot
(Mechanism Digital)

Tresemme Experience,Killer Deal


Keep your story – the majority of the subject matter – in front of the user. Even though they’re able to look around in 360, they typically don’t.

Use long shots. They’ll make the user more comfortable and it will be far less jarring than jumping around every few seconds as you would in a normal piece.

Leave plenty of time for rendering as there’s always a lot more than you think. Between conversions, imports/exports, 4K frames and stereo, a 4-minute shot can take hours, sometimes days, to render.


Don't move the camera too much because you’ll definitely make your user nauseous.

Don't bring things too close to the camera because the eyes can’t focus well and you’ll have a parallax issue.

Don't use a lot of small text; it’s harder than you might think to read in 360.

> Watch our interview with Lucien on our Journey to VR blog.

Alexandre, Molly, and Ben (Tendril)

Sankhara, Grand Expanse


Do optimize performance quality. It doesn't matter how cool your experience is if it makes viewers nauseous. Aim for a minimum 60/fps, but ideally 90. Anything lower and the viewer will not feel the sense of immersion.

Do use the best stitching possible, as the better and cleaner your stitching, the more believable the world is. This is especially important for live action VR.

Do let the user control their movement within the scene, if there is movement throughout. Movement without control is more likely to confuse the viewer's inner ear and cause nausea.

Do make use of powerful, 3D audio. It will add to the feeling of presence and spatial depth, which magnifies VR's impact and immersive quality.


Don’t have the viewer feel stationary. Allowing your viewer some movement within a scene is more interesting than just plunking them down in a place to look around.

Don't take control of the viewer's camera. Changing the direction they're looking, especially the pitch, will cause immediate nausea. Having the visuals too jarring, shaky or quick, will also cause nausea.

Don't let the pacing be too slow or drag on for too long – experiences are immersive to an extent, but can quickly become boring.

Huge thanks to the talented, knowledgeable teams at Psyop (NY), Mechanism Digital and Tendril. We couldn't take our Journey to VR without you!

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