Friday in the Third Party Developer’s Meeting OZ and Troy Linden announced a new feature coming to Second Life™. It is going to be a quick 360 snapshot thing. If you haven’t seen 360 images, click in the image below and drag.
The image was made by Inara Pey, She explains how she made it using the Illiastra Panoramic Camera. (Version 1.3 L$999). See her blog article The Illiastra. Strawberry Singh has also written about making 360 images with Illiastra. I’ve written about the tech here, 360 Image. This is a new tag and it doesn’t pull all my 360 articles, yet.
Inara stopped the meeting when she linked to the image. Everyone was ooow, oooh… It is a really nice image.
If you use Photoshop, you know it has a feature that allows you to use any camera to take a panoramic pictures. The work is in stitching the images together into one nice image. Ideally you use a tripod to take the pictures. It takes some skill with the camera so that Photoshop can make a good panorama. Plus, understanding how to use Photoshop.
In Lynn’s video he is being really detailed. I have taken good panoramas handheld. You can screw up quite a bit and Photoshop will compensate.
A more detailed and technical tutorial is here: Forrest Tanaka. If you hope to do high quality RL panoramas, this is a video you should watch. Just remember, he is going for serious perfection. You can avoid much of the complication and have decent panoramas.
Next is knowing how to use Photoshop.
The Illiastra camera simplifies all the photography. But, you can do the images yourself and use Photoshop to stitch the images together.
But, this 360 Imaging obviously has a learning curve and is a bit of work. Illiastra reduces the learning curve and the tedium of taking the images. The Lab intends to make the process even easier. They plan to add a button to the Snapshot Panel of the viewer so you can point-and-click to get a 360-image.
The Development Process
Troy Linden has worked on the Bento Project and enjoyed working with the users. Bento has been a very open development project. The Lindens even backed up and changed direction here and there to accommodate the animators helping develop Bento. I think Bento will be AWESOME and greatly enhance Second Life. I attribute much of the awesomeness to the open development process.
Troy is going to try the same process with the 360 Image feature. This time they are going one step farther than in Bento and open the process before even the project viewer stage. We’ll start with a test viewer. At this stage it won’t be for the computer/photographer novice. I am also not sure how the Lab will make the test viewer available. It may be by invitation only or you may have to request a download link. But, they might put it in with the FC and Project viewers.
Recent development efforts have been more open. Those participating are better known to the Lindens and generally have been around SL longer. I suspect the same demographic is desired for this project. But, they may open it up to the general user.
You may remember the various articles about users beating up the Lindens and complaining about how they were doing things. That still happens but, I see less of it and I see more people standing up for the Lindens, when someone is showing off their ignorance and blaming whatever on the Lindens.
Providing an early test viewer is a risk for the Lindens. Artists tend to hide their work until it is ready to show. People hare critizum of problems they are aware of and working to fix. So, we humans avoid that and hide our creations until we are ready. I suspect that issue has been discussed internally at the Lab. My belief is that how the users handle this project and treat the Lindens will determine how far down the ‘openness’ path they eventually go.
The Lindens do need lots of test data for this project. They need it early on in the project. So, they have a bit of incentive to risk a bit more. Now it is up to us to us to handle this process an encourage them. We do that by being adults. From time to time that means giving up being PC and telling people when they are out outline… being a moron.
It will be some time before we see the test viewer. But, the project is announced and work is progressing.