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Screenshots don’t quite do VR justice, but here’s how to do it on the HTC Vive

The HTC Vive is a powerhouse in the ever-growing virtual reality industry after a very impressive first year. The screen resolution is too crisp and the VR experiences are too immersive to not be captured. The only problem is that virtual reality can sometimes be a fairly solitary experience that isn’t easily shared with others. Fortunately, there is a way to take screenshots in VR with a headset like the HTC Vive that should help.

Before you are snapping screenshots in VR, you will need to first get acquainted with Steam and SteamVR. Check to make sure you have the required hardware and software to run SteamVR. As soon as everything checks out, you’re ready to get to the VR screenshots. Let’s do it — here’s how to take a screenshot on the HTC Vive.

Step 1 – Install SteamVR

First go to the official Steam website and create an account if you do not already have one. Click on the login option in the upper right-hand corner, then click Join Steam. From there, fill out all of the required fields, read the Steam Subscriber Agreement, and click the box to accept and confirm you are over the age of 13.

Once you receive the account verification email from Steam, open it up, click on create my account, and then click on the verification link. The tab where you signed up for your Steam account will refresh back to the Steam homepage with your account logged in.

Now that you are all set with your Steam account, click on the About button at the top of the Steam homepage to access the Steam download link. From there, click on Install Steam Now and begin the installation process once the file is downloaded. After Steam has been properly installed onto your computer, open Steam and click on the Library button at the top. Next, you will need to type “SteamVR” into the the search box right-click on SteamVR once it appears in the search results, and then click install.

Once the installation process is over, you should see a “VR” icon at the top next to the game controller icon. Click on the VR icon and SteamVR will be launched.

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Step 2 – Find something good to screenshot

Once you have the Vive headset on and SteamVR launched, you will be taken to a virtual representation of Steam. From there you can scroll the Library for games and videos to download. Content you’ve recently accessed and/or installed will be on the right-side menu under Play.

You can also find VR experiences by taking the headset off, and using the Steam program installed on your computer. Next, click on the magnifying glass icon next to the search box at the top in order to be taken to Steam’s full library  You will need to scroll down to the Narrow by VR support section and click both the VR Supported and VR Only boxes. Once that is finished, scroll down to Headsets and click the HTC Vive box. From there you can sift through all of the VR content available on Steam compatible with the HTC Vive.

Once you’ve found something worthy of your eyes, click on your selection, launch the experience, and put your headset back on.

Step 3 – Take the screenshot

htc vive screenshot
Image used with permission by copyright holder

You’re almost ready to take your first screenshot in VR on your HTC Vive. As soon as something comes across your sights in that you want to capture, you have to be quick on the trigger, but it’s quite simple. You just press the system button under the trackpad, and right trigger behind the trackpad, simultaneously. Just like that, you have your first screenshot in VR on your HTC Vive. Time to celebrate.

Step 4 – Locating Your Screenshot

The simplest way to access your VR screenshot is by going back to the SteamVR home screen while in the HTC Vive. Clicking on the Recent tab in order to go to the piece of content you just accessed to screenshot. Click on the piece of content and you will see a Screenshot section that you can then click on to view your screenshot in 3D.

Select the File Explorer icon on your desktop toolbar represented by a folder image. Click on the This PC option found on the left-side menu of options, and then select the Program Files(x86) folder once you see it. Afterwards, click on the Steam folder, and then click on the userdata folder.

SteamVR data is organized in a mess of folders, all with numerical IDs, so it’s not simple to find the folder of the piece of content you took a screenshot of. You will need to keep clicking through those folders until you find a screenshot folder. This is what the file path normally looks like: userdata > String of numbers (1) > String of numbers (2) > remote > String of numbers (3) > screenshots. Once you locate the folder, you can then click on your screenshot to view it.

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Keith Nelson Jr.
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Keith Nelson Jr is a music/tech journalist making big pictures by connecting dots. Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY he…
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