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Thread: Interactive 360 Degrees panorama

  1. #1

    Interactive 360 Degrees panorama

    Hi all!

    I would like to create some interactive panoramas for web use. (Not sure what the name of such a feature is called...) It will primarily be used to show the interior of houses/buildings. How do I go about doing this?

    PS: I would prefer not to buy yet another expensive piece of software.


    Some examples of "interactive panoramas" include the following websites...




    Thank you very much for any help! It will be much appreciated.


    Edit- just to clarify, this is not what I am looking for.
    Interactive 360 Degrees panorama
    Last edited by Blazing fire; 28th November 2010 at 05:36 AM.

  2. #2

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    Remco

    Re: Interactive 360 Degrees panorama

    The second link seems to point to a tutorial, so where exactly are you stuck?

    From what I got from a quick look at that tutorial, you start from a 'normal' panoramic picture, then add some Flash programming to get an interactive panorama. As I don't know anything about flash programming, I can't comment on that part, but for the panorama there's a free program/set of programs called Hugin that does a decent job.

  3. #3

    Re: Interactive 360 Degrees panorama

    Scroll to the bottom of the page and look for a panorama of a swimming pool.

    you start from a 'normal' panoramic picture, then add some Flash programming to get an interactive panorama.
    That's where I'm stuck at.

  4. #4
    Steaphany's Avatar
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    Re: Interactive 360 Degrees panorama

    I have a wealth of info for creating interactive panoramas or virtual reality photography, as this is something I want to get into. One thing to note is that some photographers only or primarily shoot panoramas and a single image can bring a significant price from the client.

    There are three aspects that you need to address:

    1. Shooting
    2. Stitching or Assembly
    3. Presentation


    When shooting the frames for a interactive pano, you need to have your camera held by a panoramic tripod head which can be pricy. The reason is that you need to rotate the camera not about the tripod mounting point but about the entrance nodal point of the lens that you are using. This will eliminate parallax of the various scene elements allowing for an easy assembly process later. ( Yes, I have played with this on a standard tripod and what gets merged isn't very pretty. )

    Here are some links for panoramic and related tripod heads:

    Manfrotto 300N panoramic rotation unit
    Manfrotto 303 pan head
    Manfrotto 303PLUS advanced panoramic photography head
    Manfrotto 303SPH is a multi-row panoramic photography head
    The Nodal Ninja Website
    Panosaurus Fully Spherical Panoramic Tripod Head
    The King Pano Website
    360 Precision

    Once you have a pano head attached to your tripod, you just can't go out and shoot, you actually need to setup the head to rotate the camera with lens about the nodal point of the pair. Note that if you plan on using a SLR with several possible lenses, that each lens will have it's own alignment.

    Here is a link on getting everything setup:

    Finding the Nodal Point

    OK, you got that worked out, now how to shoot. The title of this thread only mentioned 360 panos, but it gets really impressive when you also shoot the zenith and nadir where you then achieve a true spherical panorama.

    Obviously shooting the 360 surrounding the camera is easy, as is the zenith, just shoot in every direction. The trick is shooting the nadir in such a way that you can blend out the tripod when you stitch everything together. The final result is a immersive spherical pano that allows a viewer to look anywhere, straight up, at anything around the camera, or even straight down providing the impression that the camera was floating in air.

    Here is a great tutorial on the whole process:

    Rosauro Photography's Intro to Panoramas and QTVRs

    Manfrotto also has a tutorial:

    PANORAMIC AND VR PHOTOGRAPHY

    Here is the PanoTools Wiki:

    Welcome to the PanoTools wiki

    And this is a good site:

    Pano Guide

    Assembly or Stitching:

    A lot here is dependent upon the software that you choose to present the pano to a viewer. I have seen Flash based, Quick Time, Java, and even PDF based panos.

    The stitching application software is usually tailored for a particular method of presenting the pano.

    Here are some links on softwares, stitching tools, presentation/viewing tools, in both freeware and commercial, that can pull it off:

    The original homepage of Panorama Tools
    The DevalVR browser plugin
    PTViewer
    Garden Gnome Software
    PDF Panorama
    PTAssembler
    PTgui
    Easypano

    Want to join the pano community:

    The International Association of Panoramic Photographers
    The International VR Photography Association
    The World Wide Panorama
    http://www.panoramas.dk/

    and example Pano Photographers:
    Bernhard VoglCarel Struycken

    See, lots of stuff. I just hope the admins are Ok with all this. BTW, this is just scratching the surface, if you begin to delve into all these links, you'll find far more than you would have ever expected.

  5. #5
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Interactive 360 Degrees panorama

    You forgot to mention lenses. For VR 360x180-type panos (the kind where you can see the floor and ceiling), a lot of shooters use fisheye lenses for coverage and fewer shots (less stitching work). While you can do this with a rectilinear ultrawide lens, the difference can be dramatic: 40+ images in multiple rows to stitch vs. 4.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steaphany View Post
    When shooting the frames for a interactive pano, you need to have your camera held by a panoramic tripod head which can be pricy. The reason is that you need to rotate the camera not about the tripod mounting point but about the entrance nodal point of the lens that you are using. This will eliminate parallax of the various scene elements allowing for an easy assembly process later. ( Yes, I have played with this on a standard tripod and what gets merged isn't very pretty. )
    While this is true in a lot of cases, it's not strictly true. I've done spherical panos handheld by using an 8mm circular fisheye lens which can cover an entire sphere with four shots (well, technically, two but you want some overlap for the stitching). The key is whether or not your scene is likely to exhibit a lot of parallax error, and how much you have to track the lens coverage of the field of view. If you're in small enclosed spaces, parallax error is much more likely. If you're outside and you're shooting landscapes to the horizon, it's less likely, and a little bit of parallax error can be dealt with by some clever stitching and retouching skillz. If you're using a fisheye lens, you can keep track of 4 or 6 shots at evenly-spaced intervals. If you're using a rectilinear ultrawide, keeping track of three rows of images at specific inclines and rotational angles requires a well-marked head.

    But for the most part, you need a special pano rig and tripod of some kind that will let you rotate about a specific point in the lens in both horizontal (yaw) and vertical (pitch) rotation, as well as get zenith (straight up) and nadir (straight down) shots. I generally recommend a Nodal Ninja as a good compromise between cost and build quality, but budgets differ.

    ... And this is a good site:

    Pano Guide
    QFT. All the information given above is fantastic, but this site in particular has a messageboard that's brimful of expertise on shooting VR photography and presenting it on the web. These are the guys who will have the answers for you gear, technique, and software wise.

    In terms of stitching software, you forgot one of the best open source packages: Hugin. Hugin is also based upon Helmut Dersch's Panorama Tools package, like PTGui, PTMac (now defunct with Snow Leopard) and PTAssembler [also the lens correction tool, PTLens, but that's another story]. Hugin is sort of bleeding edge software in some ways, and can also do HDR and enfuse at the same time it stitches your pano. Highly recommend this one if you simply cannot afford PTGui.

    You will also likely need some form of remapping package, such as Pano2VR or CubicConverter to translate between the different file formats used for these cubics: 6 cube faces, equirectangular, QTVR, etc. The cube face remapping comes in very handy for zenith/nadir patching. If you want to deliver to the web as QTVR (a no-longer supported file format, btw. Apple's ditched its support with Snow Leopard, and you will not that iOS4 has no easy way to deliver QuicktimeVR content, curse them), there also Pageot to help you with HTML embed tags. There's a reason there are so many proprietary Flash-based players. We all live in hope that HTML5 will make life easier.

    I've been shooting cubics/sphericals/equirectangulars/360x180s for about three or four years now, and it's a non-trivial task that still requires more than one software package to complete. Having a good editor, such as Photoshop or the Gimp, that has masks and layers is key.

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