If you have ever done panoramic images by hand then you know what a headache stitching them together can be. Most of the time Autodesk Stitcher can stitch them seamlessly, but at times parallax errors can be time consuming to resolve.
Occipital’s 360 Panorama is an iPhone and Android app that allows you to create a panoramic image with your phone. The app uses the gyroscope in your phone to position the images. The images are automatically stitched and closed. More often than not the results are stunning; without all the work of stitching it by hand.
Occipital has an impressive HTML5 viewer on their website to view the images. The viewer offers a flattened version of the panoramic image for download. If you use the iPhone viewer you are able to view areas above and below, but the flattened image only has a cropped cylinder version. My desire was to download the full image and use it in other applications, viewers and different formats.
To achieve up and down viewing, Occipital’s backend servers create a cubical panorama that has an image for each side of the cube; they are numbered 0-5. These images are number as 0 Back, 1 Left, 2 Front, 3 Right, 4 Up, 5 Down. If you download these images and rename them correctly then Autodesk Stitcher will open the panorama. You can export the image into a number of different formats, resolutions and tag them as well.
For example the image of the front view would be named xxxxxx2.jpg. To import it into Stitcher you would rename the image to xxxxxx_F.jpg. Images 0-5 would be named respectively: xxxxxx_B.jpg, xxxxxx_L.jpg, xxxxxx_F.jpg, xxxxxx_R.jpg, xxxxxx_U.jpg, and xxxxxx_D.jpg.
For Mac OS X Lion users, I’ve created an Automator application that downloads these images from the current panoramic being viewed in Safari and saves them into a folder named “Panoramic” on your desktop. Download it here.
Opening the panoramic in Stitcher Unlimited is a breeze. Just choose ‘File > Load Panorama’ inside Stitcher. Then select the first file in the panorama downloaded from Occipital.
Stitcher exports a cubical panorama to Cubic QTVR, Cubic/Spherical Pure Player, Spherical Image and VRML.
Visit our project database to see the Stitcher version of the panorama, here.
Note: 360 Panorama is not a replacement for using a still camera and tripod. The quality does not compare. For example, we routinely create 134 megapixel images, the app produces about a 2 megapixel image. However, it’s up to the task if you want a quick and stunning 360. The only complaint that I have is the app has been crashy after updating to iOS 5.
If you want to see my panoramas at Occipital, here.
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