Virtual Reality: Getting Started with Mobile VR & WebVR

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VR for all! As we announced last week, Sketchfab has built native apps for exploring VR content on the HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, Gear VR and Android/iOS Cardboard.

These demo apps highlight some awesome Sketchfab scenes, but you can also view any of Sketchfab’s 750,000 models on these devices in VR!

The permanent home for this tutorial content is the Help Center.

Get help from the community in our dedicated Forum.

Mobile VR


Your smartphone can view any Sketchfab model in VR using our stereoscopic viewer and a Google Cardboard (or similar). Just go to the model page and tap View in VR to open the model in Cardboard mode.

Sketchfab VR mode

Alternatively, you can navigate directly to this view by appending /embed?cardboard=1&autostart=1 to the model URL.

Gear VR

Using the Samsung Gear is very similar. Put your phone in the headset, open the Samsung Internet browser, and go to internet://webvr-enable. WebVR should now be enabled on your device/browser.

Then just like the Cardboard, go to VR Mode on any model page.



By default, the model will be in Orbit mode. Head tracking works with most devices and lets you rotate around a model, like this elephant:

Try it here.

If the initial camera view is inside a scene, you can look around, like Van Gogh’s Room:

Try it here.


You can switch to First-Person mode from the viewer settings menu. Head tracking works with most devices and lets you look around from a fixed position. You can also “walk” forward by pressing the Cardboard button (press/hold the top center of the screen in landscape).

Alternatively, you can append &navigation=fps to the URL.

Try it here.

Desktop WebVR

You can also view Sketchfab models with Virtual Reality headsets like the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. It takes a few extra steps, but this guide should help you through the process without much pain 🙂

This technology is very young, and browser support is experimental.

Desktop WebVR viewing requires an experimental version of Google Chrome / Chromium with WebVR support. Firefox Nightly builds should also work soon, but have not yet updated to the most recent WebVR API. You can check browser status and progress at Is WebVR Ready?

Download and install a compatible browser. Go to about://flags and turn on the “Enable WebVR” flag. Then, just start VR mode on any Sketchfab model page. Now you can view the model with your Vive or Oculus!

For the HTC Vive, you need to turn on SteamVR, and for Oculus you need to allow external apps.


Click the viewer once to put it in focus. Then you can navigate the model with WASD keys and change the scale of the model with the O and P keys.

You can add the parameter ?preserveDrawingBuffer=1 to mirror the view of the VR headset on the desktop screen.

Check out some great content galleries in VR like Museums or Popular.

About the author

James Green

Sketchfab Support King | Beer Enthusiast | Pokémon Master

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  • Omar says:

    Are you going to make an app for Windows 10 Mobile?
    It works also for Xbox One and HoloLens,
    (One Universal app for all MS devices)

  • Ben says:

    Hi James

    Question about VR – my cardboard view requires a split full screen view (without the curved viewing frame). is there a way of specifying the VR view type in the html?

    I can do it in the app, when I scan the cardboard viewers QR. On a side note. Is it possible to have my own models open in the app?


  • Geoff says:

    Can’t wait for VR controller integration for navigation & scale!

  • Juan says:

    Experimental Chrome vr browser will not install under win 10 ( at least my case)….so I can not get the chance to see VR with HTC VIVE . All the tutorial will apply but for the case I need: HTC support. Is there any other way to see a 3D animation for VIVE than this one?. I know it can be done because I can see Van Goh room under other 3D virtual enviroment outside sketchfab….but it would be great using this software, once I can show my work for any kind of hardware or plattform.
    Thank you

    • James Green says:

      You can install the native App ( http://store.steampowered.com/app/464940/ ), but it’s only a demo collection of models at the moment.

      Sorry, I’m not sure how to debug the Chromium build for you.

      • Geoff says:

        Hi Juan, I can confirm that the Chromium build DOES work with other SketchFab models on Win10 (64-bit), but like James, I can’t debug your issues remotely, except to suggest you check you’ve got the correct build, your OS is up to date, and simply try again!

        Best of luck!

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