December 17, 2021 Colin Jacobsen

What is Parallax?

An Arlene Extended Reality Glossary Post

Picture this: you’re immersed in a virtual world that looks so realistic, you forget you’re wearing a headset. The objects around you move and behave just like they would in the real world. This level of immersion is the goal of every XR developer, and one technique that helps achieve it is the parallax effect. In this blog post, we’ll dive into how parallax can be used in XR to create a truly captivating experience for users.

What is Parallax Effect?

Traditional Definition: Parallax – the effect whereby the position or direction of an object appears to differ when viewed from different positions, e.g. through the viewfinder and the lens of a camera.

More simply, parallax is the visual effect observed when viewing an object from different positions. In Extended Reality (XR) applications, Parallax is a 3D effect observed when images and other elements in the foreground of a screen move at a different rate than those in the background. This effect helps to create depth and dimensionality in the virtual world, mimicking real-world physics.


The parallax effect can be used in XR to create a more realistic and immersive experience. For example, in a virtual reality game, objects in the foreground can appear larger and move faster, creating a sense of speed and urgency. Additionally, in a VR training simulation, parallax can be used to simulate the distance and depth of objects, making it easier for trainees to understand and interact with their virtual environment.

Benefits of Using Parallax Effect:

Using parallax in XR has several benefits. First, it enhances the visual appeal of the virtual world by creating a more realistic and immersive experience. Second, it improves user engagement and interaction by allowing users to feel as if they are actually in the virtual world. Finally, it can be used to improve the effectiveness of XR training simulations by creating a more lifelike and interactive environment.

In conclusion, the parallax effect is a valuable tool for XR developers looking to create immersive and engaging virtual worlds. By adding depth and dimensionality to the virtual environment, parallax can help to create a more realistic and lifelike experience for users. As XR technology continues to advance, we can expect to see even more innovative uses of the parallax effect in future applications.


Let’s create something meaningful and valuable