Village by the sea
360 photo hosted by google, make sure to view it in full screen for the full effect.
fun with 360 photos in interesting places.
Bernal Heights Park in San Francisco has sweeping views of the city. Which is as good a reason as any to shoot a 360 photo. I’m still using Google’s Street View App to manually take all the photos needed for a 360 degree shot. which doesn’t really do that great of a job, so some cleanup was necessary but I did find a useful desktop app to help with the editing called Pano2VR which does some cool conversion tricks, like converting equirectangular (see photo to the left) photos to cubic (see photo below) and vice versa.
So whats up with these formats?
The Cubic format consists of 6 undistorted, perspective images: up, down, left, right, forward and backward, whereas the Equirectangular format is one single, stitched image of 360° horizontally and 270° vertically. The Cubic format suffers from less distortions than the Equirectangular, but the Equirectangular seems to be more popular.
the final product; so after some research, trial and error and some old fashioned photo editing I finished up with the 360 photo below. Pano2VR turned out to be a great tool not just for conversion between formats but also for the end user experience.
600×480 doesn’t do it justice, full screen it and enjoy the view.
Photoshop is the most popular image editing application out there, but that doesn’t make it the best solution for every task. like photo stitching, which is something your going to need to do if you want to create seamless panoramas. I’ve been using Photoshop’s photomerge function for some time now but I’ve just recently discovered Autopano which has made the whole process faster and much less cumbersome.
here is a side-by-side of the results, you can see how photomerge failed to stitch the seam perfectly, leaving the image sheared where the original two images met to form the panorama. a common problem that takes a lot of time to fix.
I took a short day trip to Lake Tahoe for these shots of Emerald Bay; the top image is the photoshop image and the bottom is the autopano image. I cropped and corrected the colors but left the stitching exactly as it was produced by the application.
interestingly enough, photomerge normalized all the photos and erred on the light side, and autopano erred on the dark side. which is usually preferable but it also produced some strange color variation that didn’t correlate to the stitching. nevertheless its typically easier to fix tone issues then it is to fix stitching issues.
one of the biggest problems with panoramas is the time it takes to make sure it’s done right. but with the right tools, I may be posting more of them in the future.