360° Panoramic photography has been a passion of mine for a long time now, creating immersive and interactive images is not only fun for me as a photographer, but fun for the viewer. Up until very recently viewing these 360° panoramas required either a Quicktime plugin or Flash to be installed on the user’s computer or device. Lots of corporate networked computers had no Quicktime installed so relied on viewing the Flash panoramas. For me a panorama producer and for clients this was a pain. I never quite got the viewing experience as easy and painless as I wanted.
Mobile devices are becoming very popular so I have been keen to get into mobile panorama viewing too. Another snag.. One of the most common portable devices, the iPad has no Flash support. Even more annoying, Apple stopped supporting their own QuicktimeVR plugins so that left the iPad and iPhone pretty much redundant as panorama viewers. However, very recently there has been some changes to the authoring software that I use, this includes output to HTML5 as well as the legacy options of Quicktime and Flash. Suddenly doors opened for mobile viewing!
Not only that, the latest development is to utilize the gyroscope navigation that is found on the iPhone4, new iPod touch and the freshly launched, iPad2. What does this offer? Well, to view the panorama in full 360° glory you simply move your mobile device in the direction you want to look, effectively putting you right in the middle of the scene. Of course, the basic navigation by sliding a finger over the touchscreen, or moving the mouse pointer on a computer still navigates the user around the panorama still works too.
Below are 2 examples of the 360° panoramas. What you see here are complete 360° images rolled into a flat projection. If you click on image it’ll open the immersive and interactive panorama in a new brower window. These are optimised for mobile use, of course they will run on a desktop computer but the resolution of the images is optimised for mobile screens.
If you’re viewing on a desktop now and want to view them on your mobile device, try right-clicking on the text links below and mailing them to your device. (I hope that works, I tried it here and it did)
..of course, feedback is welcome, let me know what you think. Happy Viewing!
BTW. If you are interested in panoramic photography, I’ll be writing a full magazine article on the matter very soon.. watch this space!