Can you see that 360° panoramic photography can be represented in many different projections? Spherical or equirretangular, Little Planet, etc. They all represent the same environment and start from a single equirectangular photograph. If we capture enough photos to recreate a spherical representation of the desired environment, we can use a software splice specific and then have an equirectangular photo to start working. How to make an equirectangular photo using any camera.
Panoramic photography, like the word panorama, refers to an entire view of a surrounding area. Panoramic photographs attempt to capture such a view. The origin of the word comes from two Greek words, παν (pan), which means “total”, and ὅραμα (orama), which means “view”.
There is no formal definition for the point at which the “wide angle” ends and the “panorama” begins, but a truly panoramic image should capture a field of view comparable (or larger than) to that of the human eye, which is 160° by 75° from one point of view, and should do so by keeping the details accurate through the entire portrait.
Currently, it is possible to take panoramic photographs in any proportion with the use of common photographic camera, scanner or digital cameras. There are several softwares available for this, capable of combining several photos in a single image, reaching a vision of up to 360 degrees horizontally and 180 degrees vertically, closing a complete sphere.
There are several ways to make a panoramic photo, either with the use of specific equipment, such as parabolic mirrors, or with normal equipment such as an ordinary camera or even with a telephone choosing the “Panoramic” option, then manipulating the result to compose the panoramic. Many modern machines also bring functions for the automatic creation of panoramic images. Some models have graphics on the screen that facilitate the shooting of the next photo, so that the fit of the same is facilitated. Others make a video while you rotate the camera and then the equipment selects the frames and creates the panoramic photo from the junction of the frames. Notably some Sony models use this technique.
Panoramic photographers are called panoramists.
The equirretangular panoramic is the most complex to produce (used to generate a spherical image when generating a Flash file, Java…), transformed into spherical is an image in which the observer has the point of view of the center of the sphere, this allows the sensation and visualization of the environment as if it were really in place, allowing a three-dimensional view of the photographed location. Below you can see an example of the equirretangular.
360 photography (also referred to as 360 product photography, 360 spin or spin photography) refers to a photographic technique by which a series of photos give the impression of an object rotating. These photos can be displayed as an interactive animation on web pages and apps, allowing a user to control the rotation of an object. The photos can also be displayed as an infinitely looping GIF or video.
360 photography is used primarily by ecommerce websites, to give shoppers a more realistic impression of a product than static images. The use of interactive 360 spins has been linked to an increase in sales conversions and lower returns of unwanted goods.
There are 3 types of 360 photography spin: single-row spins, multi-row spins and twin-axis spins.
Single-row spins are the most commonly used type of 360 spin because they are the easiest to create. One row of photos is usually sufficient to give a lifelike impression of an object. These spins can be moved left and right only. They are often composed of 36 images (each separated by 10 degrees), though any number of images can be used. More frames per rotation will feel smoother; fewer frames will feel more jumpy. While the cost of 360 photography falls, spins with 72 or more frames are becoming more commonplace, for their smoother, sophisticated experience.
Multi-row spins (also known as 3D spins) can be rotated up and down as well as left and right. They usually have 3 or 4 rows of photos, with 12 or 18 images per row. Each row is photographed at a different camera angle, allowing the product to be viewed from multiple perspectives. Multi-row spins require more time and effort to photograph, so they are suited to products that benefit from being viewed from above.
Twin-axis spins are composed of one vertical column and one horizontal row, permitting the user to see all the way around a product and all the way up and over it. This technique usually gives the best overall experience but remains the least common technique because of its complexity to capture. Twin-axis spins typically comprise 36 images in the horizontal axis and 35 images in the vertical axis (71 in total because one frame exists on both axes). Introduced by photographer Karl Martini, the effect is also known as a Martini spin or dual axis spin.
Photographers typically capture 360 photography in a photography studio by using a turntable, camera, tripod, lights and a white background. To obtain a pure white background, a white lightbox or light tent can be used to help light the object evenly, though these can flatten the image, so some photographers use a white sheet or white card in the background.
Turntables used by 360 product photographers are usually powered, for automatic, precision rotation. A product is placed in the centre of the turntable and a camera, typically mounted on a tripod, captures photos of the product as the turntable rotates. Some turntables pause the rotation when each photo is captured, ensuring a sharp image. Basic turntables rotate continuously, which can cause slightly blurred photos but are suitable for capturing video, which can later be converted to a 360 spin.
Some turntables can be connected by USB cable to computer and/or camera, allowing remote shutter release or USB to capture the images. Such automation speeds up the photography process, which is an important consideration when hundreds or thousands of products are to be photographed.
Further automation can be achieved by employing robotic arms to move the camera up and over an object, to quickly capture multi-row spins. Robotic equipment is typically employed by specialist 360 photography studios, enabling them to capture high quality photos in rapidly. Such equipment has helped reduce the cost of 360 photography per product for simple products such as shoes, when photographed in large batches. Prices are higher for reflective objects, large objects and garments worn on a model or mannequin.
All-in-one lightbox machines are a simpler method for capturing spins. These machines have an automated rotating turntable with lighting all around and above. They connect to a camera and computer, for automated capture.
Amateur photographers can capture 360 spins on a low budget by using a simple lazy susan instead of a powered turntable. The photographer can manually rotate the turntable between each frame. This is a slow process, thus impractical for large volume of making it an uncommon method of capturing 360 spins.
The final method of creating 360 degree spins is by using 3D CAD modelling software. A product model can be constructed by a skilled 3D model designer, then rendered as a series of static JPEG/PNG images ready for use.
Once all the images for a complete rotation have been captured, they normally require refinement in a photo-editing program with batch editing capability. The typical edits required are to crop closer to the object edge, mask out any background objects, adjust the colour balance to match the products true colour and adjust colour levels to whiten the background. Most ecommerce sites wish to display 360 spins against a pure white background, which is not usually achieved direct from the camera. Batch editing can be applied in dedicated 360 photo software such as SpinMe Studio and Shutter Stream 360 or in common photo editing programs such as Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Lightroom.
If adjusting colour levels and colour balance is insufficient in obtaining a pure white background, background removal may be required, either with an automated tool or by manual masking by a human editor. Professional photo retouching services are often employed for this manual work.
Standalone scripts are installed on a web server, with some basic configuration. Images should be resized and optimized either before upload or on the server by an image processing service. Some ecommerce sites automatically resize and optimize images on upload, which can accelerate the configuration process. If using an ecommerce platform such as Magento, OpenCart, WooCommerce or Virtuemart, there are plugins to make it faster to configure and embed 360 spin scripts in product pages. If using a custom built website, scripts available include Magic 360 and Spritespin.