360 Degrees with Panoramics and Google Daydream VR

February 6, 2018

Recently, on a whim, and because I don’t buy very many toys for myself, I bought a Google Daydream VR headset. Plex recently started supporting VR, and a couple of my friends had headsets, and the idea of pretty much watching movies and TV with them in VR sounded so cool, I had to give it a try. I chose Google Daydream VR because of the reviews on comfort (It is very comfortable), and started playing around with a lot of the things in it.

Games, as you can imagine, are fairly limited as of right now considering the technology is pretty new, but some of the games are really, really cool, like Twilight Pioneers. There’s also a lot of interesting other things you can do like look at Youtube VR videos (which I could do with my cardboard, but still).

I went into photos out of curiosity, and noticed that it had prefilled some panoramics I took, such as one at a restaurant and one at the airfield I took during a really pretty sunset after an art show. It also filled in a few of my pieces of artwork that I created that fit the “panoramic” bill, apparently. I clicked into those and loved this idea of an immersive art experience, so I started thinking about pictures I could make into 3D panoramics.

The first one I chose was Nebulaic, because space is really, really easy to replicate into a panoramic considering how abstract and random it is. I took a bunch of my space backgrounds and nebulas and knitted them together.

How I did it

First of all, I had to guess the dimensions. Some panoramics are 10:1 ratio, and others are 4:1, but at minimum it has to be 2:1 to register as a panoramic with Google Photos. If you don’t know what this means, it means that the length is x times as wide as the height. 2:1 ratio will have a length that is 2x the dimension of the height. I.e. 12″x6″ image is 2:1 ratio. 16″x4″ image is 4:1 ratio. 100″x10″ image is 10:1 ratio. So, going for the optimal ratio, I started with a 10:1, since I wanted it to knit all the way around. This was all fine and good, but it made the image really thin, and I wanted a full panoramic I could look up and down for. Back to the drawing board.

The best results for 360 degree viewing appear to happen at 2:1 ratio. I used a 100″x50″ image to get a crisp, sharp image, and it knit at the top and bottom for me (although there are pinch points — I’m going to look into how to do something with that, perhaps turn it into a portal or black hole?).

After I was done with that, I reduced the overall size of the image and then used TheXifer.net to strip my Photoshop exif data and add instead Ricoh as the camera that took the “photo”, and the exact model as Ricoh Theta S (which is a 360 camera) so I could upload to Facebook and it would show in 360 degrees as well.

One last image…

I did start to think about other images I could do this treatment with, and tried a landscape of mine. Pretty cool, huh?

Aimee Cozza is a freelance illustrator out of Southern New Hampshire. She graduated from the New Hampshire Institute of Art in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in illustration. Since then, she has been working in a variety of ways completing various illustrations for clients, friends, and for herself.

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