Tuesday, July 22, 2008

We're in print

Our panocube component is now featured in the dutch Webdesigner magazine (although, it might appear in english too, keep me posted if you find it ;)

Rob has a picture up on how it looks :)

Check it out

Get the magazine if you want the full tutorial!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

360 degree Panorama tutorial

I've been asked how I made the pictures for the PanoCube, so I've thrown together a short tutorial.

For the example image in the panocube demo I used a tripod and a normal digital camera on which I could lock the exposure time.

This is important because ground and air, or if you’re inside, the walls and windows/lights, differ quite a lot there.

If your camera automatically adjusts the exposure, the stitcher tool will have a hard time understanding this. (Autostitch doesn't handle this too well, autopanopro is more powerful in this respect, but if you can use the same exposure for every picture, you'll get better results)

Take pictures, rotating the camera a little after each one, make sure you have about 1/3 or 1/4 overlap with the previous picture. It takes me about 30 pictures to make 1 rotation.

When you’ve done a 360 degree turn, tilt the camera up a little (again 1/3 or 1/4 overlap), make pictures all around and repeat until you’re pointing all the way up.
Go back to the very first position and repeat that again, but this time tilting the camera down every round.

After you’re done, stitch them together with autostitch (free http://www.cs.ubc.ca/~mbrown/autostitch/autostitch.html ) or autopano pro (better than autostitch, but not free http://www.autopano.net/) this will save the file as pano.jpg.
Be sure to set the rendering options (resolution etc) before you load the pictures, because autostitch will start rendering immediately)

When the stitcher has finished, you’re got yourself a nice 360 degree panorama image. (Autostitch doesn't ask for a filename to render to, it will just create 'pano.jpg' in the same folder as where your original pictures are)
You can use this picture as-is in most panorama viewers (like PTViewer) but for our Silverlight Panocube, we need cubic projection images.

Don’t worry too much if you’ve got ‘holes’ in your picture right now, they’re hard to fix in this format.

As said, we need to convert it to a cubic projection format. I did this using Bixorama, you can download a trial here http://www.outerspace-software.com/bixorama.html

In bixorama, import the pano.jpg file as a ‘latitude longtitude’ file.
Press f6, or ‘view – single files’ and you should see the 6 sides of the cube.
Export these as ‘single files’ and you’re done.
The exported files are easier to fix if you have holes because now there’s no spherical distortion.

You can use these images in the example provided in the panocube post.

Have fun, and let me know what you think.
I'd love to see some examples of what you guys are doing with PanoCube :)