Skip to Main Content
University of York Library
Library Subject Guides

Digital Creativity: a Practical Guide

Virtual reality

A practical guide to getting digitally creative and using digital tools and technologies to explore work, ideas, and research.

Virtual reality (VR)

Virtual reality involves simulated experiences that can be viewed using headsets and screens. We'll take a look at some of the ways you can get started using virtual reality for engaging audiences and presenting your work.

What is VR?

Virtual reality, or VR for short, is a way of having immersive 3D experiences that are simulated using a computer. You may have seen VR headsets: these are a way for a user to put on the equipment and experience the virtual reality content.

Woman delightedly using a VR headset with a black background and some glitch effects

The image above of a woman delightedly using a VR headset is what you might imagine when you think of virtual reality. These kinds of images focus on the headset, but not the content the user is engaging with, which may make VR seem more about novelty than actual content. However, there's lots of potential for the immersive content within the headset (or other methods of viewing VR, like multiple screens or using your phone in a holder).

What is VR useful for?

People often wonder what VR is actually useful for, as there are a huge range of experiences and ways it can be used. VR is not just for gaming, it has lots of other great uses for film, education, data visualisation and much more. It's sometimes used for:

Astronaut floating outside the international Space Station
  • Experiencing an environment you can't usually access (like floating around space, or a place in history)
  • Exploring rare objects or items that are usually not accessible
  • Looking at places or things in scale (like seeing how big dinosaurs actually were)
  • Experiencing something through the eyes or perspective of something else

Virtual Reality 101

Take a look at our Introductory Virtual Reality 101 video for tips on getting started:

Introduction to VR

Our Introduction to VR session gives an overview of virtual reality, how VR headsets work. and what VR tools you can get started with. The slides from the session are below:

Full Introduction to VR slides on Google Slides

Getting started with VR

Building virtual reality experiences from scratch can be time consuming, but there are also lots of tools you can use to explore the potential of VR and think about what you might want to create.

If you're looking to start creating your own VR experiences, there's a few tools which allow you to create an environment and add your own 3D models and content. These can be if you want to create your own virtual exhibition, or explore the idea for an interactive story.

Tools like FrameVR provide a free version where you can use a pre-made virtual environment to set up your own exhibition space. You can add your own images, models and video anywhere in the space (like putting a painting on a wall).

It's worth checking tools like these and using some critical thinking for limitations on access and what you can do with the space after you've created it, as some may have restrictions on how they can be used.

Forthcoming training sessions

Forthcoming sessions on :

Taught students
Show details & booking for these sessions

There's more training events at: