Saturday, August 7, 2010
High Resolution 360° Spherical Images
Let's take a break from chatting up 360 video for this post and return to the current state of the art of 360 still imagery.
To see what I'm talking about, you'll need to install Microsoft Research's HD View. It is quick and painless, but if the frame above doesn't offer you the option, click here
From the ongoing battle between Google and Microsoft to one up each other, a pleasant convergence of technologies has allowed a really great user experience to emerge.
Click and drag on the image above to look around.
Use your mouse's scroll wheel to zoom in and out.
Go to full screen in the upper right hand corner.
Since the image is spherical, make sure to toggle from normal to fisheye lens(spherical projection)by clicking the grid icon to the left of the full screen icon.
You can even adjust the lighting of the image if its too dark when you've zoomed in.
I shot this at the downtown Portland REI store with some help from Google, and the embedded player experience is provided by Microsoft. You can take a look around the store and zoom in for incredible detail. You can also zoom all the way out for a unique look at the entire sphere of view.
I won't go into how this image was made just yet, but I will just say that with the right equipment, it only took ten minutes to shoot and an hour to process. With available tools, this image can be placed in either Google Earth or Bing Maps. It is over 200 Megapixels (562 MB) and is being served on demand as a tiled mosaic just like the satellite imagery on those mapping services. Currently, there are no hosting costs associated with this image. One of the big players is taking care of that.
It represents an evolutionary step forward for online marketing applications that have historically embraced the "virtual tour" experience.
Check out the same photo on Photosynth
Here it is on Bing Maps
Open this KML file to view the image with Google Earth
Isn't it fun when we all just get along?
Here's one from my neighbor's backyard: