VR and 360° photography and art
I’ve been absent for some time, mainly researching and testing in the fields of Virtual Reality (VR) and 360° photography… I’m now ready to share the first (decent) art experiment….
I took a 360 degrees picture of a nice sanctuary here in Italy (more images of the place here), from one of the top floor’s windows. I then applied some quick painting-like effects…. I had to modulate the type of strokes to retain more details where needed, mainly around the top church and its cupola.
In the image below it’s possible to look around by clicking+scrolling on a computer or by rotating your phone/tablet. The accelerometer permits to use the phone/tablet as a “window” through the portrayed place by reading its movements. The size of the image makes the file larger, it will take some time for it to load.
On the bottom right there should be an icon to switch to fullscreen mode, to better experience the view ;-).
Of course the best immersive result it’s obtained by using a (very cheap) VR viewer and your smartphone. A bit like being “right there” in the portrayed place. If you’re on a compatible device there should be a cardboard icon to switch to VR mode (also on bottom right)
The image and technique, something on VR and 360°
360° images, also called photospheres, have a high resolution because you must be able to “look around”, as if you’re inside the picture.
Each possible viewpoint has to be presented in a decent resolution. They’re also saved in a way that permits to retain all relevant information using standard image formats. It’s possible to do that thanks to a projection, that “deforms” the image and adapts it to a 2d space. Currently the main type of projection used is equirectangular.
This is what the saved image looks like (in very low resolution):
This is a monoscopic image (no real “3D” effect, at least for now), but it shows the potential and possibilities in that direction (VR and 360°).
All these aspects must be taken into account during the elaboration and painting of the image.
Until now the software and hardware are limited, especially if you’re an experimenter on a tight budget. I’m partially working with DIY tools and using complicated workflows.
I’ll create some more similar content, using both photography and 3d graphics….. let me know what do you think!