Alexa Linden talked about the 360 Snapshot Project Viewer at the Content Creators’ UG Meeting (2/22). We last saw this viewer update in week #27-2017 (July). This is the black sheep or Cinderella viewer. It is the one that gets pushed to the back when a fire breaks out and some big bad bug has to be squished. But, YAY! We have a new version. See Official Alternate Viewers.
This version handles the stitching… if you have built 360-images manually, you know what stitching is. It is taking a number of pictures in different directions and then piecing them together (stitching) to make a globe-shaped picture. Tedious.
But the new viewer is easy. Take a picture using 360-Snapshot and save it to disk, the picture should be ready to upload to Flickr and other sharing sites as a 360-image without further tweaking.
The release notes explain how to use the new feature. It has been broken out of the snapshot floater and now has its own.
The initial version of this feature used to be integrated with the Snapshot Floater and saved off the images in a zip file. The Snapshot floater was already complex enough so this feature was broken out into its own floater. Saving the output as a standard equirectangular JPEG instead of a zip means that there is no need for preprocessing before it can be used use in sites like Facebook or Flickr.
To use this feature:
- Start the viewer as normal and log into a region
- Using the menu bar, select World ▶ Capture 360 or press the Control + Shift + C keys to open the Capture 360 Floater
- You will see buttons to:
- Capture 360 – press this to start a capture
- Save Local – press after you capture a 360 to save it to your computer
- Close – Closes the floater as normal
- If something in a region where you are capturing a 360 is moving (objects, sky, water) you might experience visible seam artifacts in the resulting 360 image. Work is in progress to improve this.
- It takes several seconds to capture the images and then a few more to generate and load the preview. Work in progress to improve this time or else provide more UI feedback
- The UI was simplified and there is now no UI to select image size, or avatar capture.
- On some Macs the preview picture is black in “360 Capture” floater. The workaround is to hit “Save Local” then “Cancel”. The 360 Capture preview now looks as expected.
Remember this is an RC version. It is not complete. It has some problems. I took a quick snap in my living room. Notice it has some horrible seams. They say they are working on that.
Photoshop will do a better job of stitching a 360-image. But, you have to know what you are doing and you have to take separate images. You can’t fix the output from the 360-Capture.
This camera saves a 4096×2048 pixel image. That is good.
The image does upload to Flickr and then display as a 360-Image when you look at it on the single image page. But, it goes fuzzy on Flickr. I thought that was a Flickr thing. But, below is the 4096×2048 image from this site, not Flickr, at 512×512. Still fuzzy.
It might look better at 256×256 than it does above…
It does… but… not really that hot an image. Too small. However, Alexa says they are looking at higher-rez. I suspect sites like Flickr will downsize the 360 image they display. As best I can tell Flickr is delivering a 1024×512 image max… but, I didn’t do rigorous testing.
And my WordPress downsized the image too. Cracking the website open, I find 7 copies of the image. They range from 150×75 to 800×400, and the original upload size 4096×2048. The 512 and 256 images above use the 4096×2048. Surprise…
Shown below without all the usual WordPress fit-the-page-and-look-nice stuff is the 4096×2048 image without the 360-display stuff.
Getting the image to display as actual size outside Photoshop is a bit trick, but when you do, you can see the original is fuzzy, which makes no sense. The Snapshot camera in the viewer is pretty awesome. But, not so much the 360-Camera.
Whatever. It is a fun feature, if not yet very high quality.