The production of high quality virtual panorama is a process, which consists of several steps. Every step, even the easiest one, requires special knowledge, skills and experience.
Firstly, the object is being photographed, of course. The reflex photographic camera with the superwide angle lens or with the fisheye lens type is used. Several series of frames are being taken with the help of the camera, which is fixed on the stable tripod with a special panoramic head.
For the process of stitching frames together to be successful, the frames must be overlaid in the places of joints. The minimal number of frames necessary for the spherical panorama production is 2, but such a panorama wouldn’t be a high quality one. Usually for the good quality panorama creation 4-8 frames are being taken with the help of the fisheye lens type (when using the other lens type the number of frames will be bigger).
Sometimes in the complex lightning conditions (wide range of brightness) the HDRI technology should be used, and in this case the quantity of the frames may vary several-fold. The presence of moving objects (people, cars, etc.) in the frame often requires additional frames to be taken also. The shooting time varies from 5 to 30 and even more minutes, depending on the equipment, conditions and the used shooting technology.
A series of source images
The next step in the spherical 360 panorama production is the processing of the original frames and stitching them into one single equirectangular panorama projection. On this stage the image is honed to perfection: the moving objects and shadows are being retouched, the color correction and sharpness are being adjusted, etc.
Equirectangular projection of a spherical panorama
Depending on the software and the required virtual panorama format, equirectangular panorama projection can be (and even must be in some programs) transformed into 6 sides of the cube. The making of the tripod retouch is common for this kind of projection (if it hadn’t been done before).
Spherical panorama cube faces. Here in a Horizontal Cross projection
Next with the help of special software the sides of the cube or the equiangular projection are being transformed into the needed format of the spherical 360 panorama – Flash, HTML5 or into some other one.
Click on the picture to see the example of the ready-to-use spherical panorama
When producing the virtual tour, there’re active zones added to each panorama, the graphic design of the tour is being developed, the accompanying sound, pop-up windows with text or pictures and the other gadgets are being added if needed.
And finally the ready-to-use 360 spherical panorama or virtual tour is being integrated into the customer’s site or being burned to CD.
You can find the detailed description of the 360 panorama creation in the Articles section.