Virtual Tours Without Editing : 360 Degree Donut Shot
The quickest and easiest way to create 360 Degree Virtual Tours in just two steps.
In order to create a 360 degree interactive Virtual Tour without creating a panoramic image by edition, it is necessary that the source picture already contains the 360 degree image when it is downloaded from the camera, as is the case of 360 degree donut shots obtained by photographing directly towards a parabolic mirror.
Shoot A Panorama With One Click
The parabolic mirrors are smart accessories that are placed aligned on the central axis of the camera lens, so this points to the center of the mirror, which due at its shape reflects in the direction of the camera all the surrounding landscape.
Parabolic mirrors for 360 degree photography, as this Pano-Pro, are mounted at the end of a hollow tube that fits onto the camera, through which light passes. The tube is closed by a transparent glass to which is inserted the bracket that holds the mirror proper. The reason why the mirror is held away from the camera is to achieve a depth of field enough for all the mirror to be focused.
A photograph taken through this accessory shows a dark background, corresponding to the inside of the tube holding the mirror, finished in a circular edge beyond which only the mirror is visible. In the center of the picture, another dark circle shows the base of the mirror, which is held only from below.
No matter a camera fitted with a parabolic mirror can move freely, and no matter it is possible to shoot freehand, it is very convenient to use a tripod to hold the gear in a perfectly vertical position. Only a truly vertical shot will result in a straight an really horizontal horizon. Oblique 360 Degree Donut Shots result in undulating horizons.
In between both dark areas of the image, the outer one correponding to the inside of the hollow tube that holds the mirror, and the inner one, correponding to its base, you see the mirror itself in a ring or "donut" shape. From this area is taken all the useful information of the photograph, which shows the full 360 degree panorama, and represents approximately 50% of the image area so that it is always advisable to shoot 360 Degree Donut Shots setting the camera with the highest possible image quality. A 360 Degree Donut Shot without any editing, as it comes out of the camera, looks like this :
Until recently, the only way to transform a 360 Degree Donut Shot into an interactive Virtual Tour implied the need to remap the image to a rectangular shape. Currently this step is no longer necessary.
Transform The Panorama Into A Virtual Tour With One Click
The easiest way to transform a 360 Degree Donut Shot into an interactive Virtual Tour ready to be shared on multiple websites is to use our Online Virtual Tour Creator. It only takes to click here to enter the page, where among other options you will find a shortcut named create a new virtual tour.
This link takes you directly to the middle of the page, where it is found the form to upload images. Note that since it is not a partial panorama neither a fisheye shot, we don't need to tick anything and the system itself will detect the type of image based on the dimensions of the picture :
The options to add attached information are all optional, but it is recommended to type in a password as this will be required in case you wish to edit the information or remove the image from the database. The image file to be loaded is selected from its location on your hard disk by a dialog box :
After selecting the image and accepting, you must click on Upload Image Now and after a few seconds a new page will load with the new Virtual Tour. In the new page, the loaded image with attached data will look like this :
Simply click on the image to see the new interactive Virtual Tour performing :
The Virtual Tours created this way can be shared on multiple internet pages by just copying and pasting a code. For more information see the homepage of the Online Virtual Tour Creator.
A Common Problem: Misaligned 360 Degree Donut Shot
As mentioned above, in order to create an interactive Virtual Tour completely avoiding the edition of the 360 Degree Donut Shot, it is imperative that the donut center coincides with the center of the total image. However this is not always possible and even small deviations can cause defects in the final Virtual Tours. See the following example :
While one quick look at this image gives the impression of being correctly centered a more detailed observation reveals that the 360 Degree Donut Shot is slightly more geared to the left than to the right and also closer to the bottom than to the top edge. These slight deviations are responsible for the center of the donut not coinciding with the center of the whole picture, and that is why the Virtual Tour dark space corresponding to the bottom of the sphere appears and disappears along the bottom edge. This deviation is also responsible for the landscape appearing to have undulations or slopes that do not exist in reality :
The solution to this problem is simple: it is to crop the image leaving a square in the center fitting exactly the 360 Degree Donut Shot. In this way the center of the donut and the center of the image will coincide and the Virtual Tour will work correctly. It is fair to say that this cropping is a minimum kind of edition of the image, so that it is no longer two-step job but three.
To crop the image you can use any image editor. It is advisable to check that at the end of the cut all sides of the image are equal, and if not, you should equalize them. At the example using Adobe Photoshop this is made with the Image Size tool :
The Donut Shot cut and equalized looks finally like this :
Now, the Virtual Tour works properly :
In the next chapter we will see another way to make 360 degree Virtual Tours in two steps without a parabolic mirror.
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With any camera
360 Degree Interactive Panoramas
In Three Easy Steps
After reading this tutorial you'll be able to create your first 360 degree interactive photography with the camera you already have :
1 - Photograph
Take one or more pictures of the place you want to show.
2 - Edit
Convert your pictures into 360 degree panoramas.
3 - Publish
Make your panoramas interactive and available to the world on the internet.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a 360 degree interactive panorama is worth a thousand pictures...
Online Virtual Tour Creator
Using the online virtual tour creator you can :
Convert your 360 degree pictures to virtual tours with a single click.
Insert your virtual tours into web sites, emails, blogs or wherever you like by just copying and pasting a text.
Know in a practical way all kinds of 360 degree pictures.
Discover that you can create hundreds of interactive virtual tours just as easily as you take pictures with your camera.
Check that with just one click from your camera and another click from your mouse it is possible to create a 360 degree interactive virtual tour out of nothing. And completely free of charge!!!
You can get started right now, even if you don't have a camera
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