On Photoplanet360, we have already seen how to represent 360 images. Apart from the VR headset, the 360 visualization with the possibility of navigation in the image already allows you to fully immerse yourself in the scene. In this article, I present the Pannellum software to you which, despite its relatively limited range of functions, gives very good results that I find quite natural. In a future article, we will see how to represent the images of the ONE X2 with Pannellum.
Pannellum is software for viewing 360 degree images in a web page. There are many different software like this on the Internet, it is above all the ease of use that makes the difference. With Pannellum, no frills, only the core that ensures the performance is provided, without application to help build your representations and virtual tours.
In terms of experience for the user, it is possible to add a compass which indicates the direction of north, and thus constitutes an appreciable benchmark for knowing the observed direction.
Pannellum manages points of interest (hotspot), by hovering the mouse over an information message is displayed and the display can be switched to a web page by clicking on it.
Wikimedia source: Brompton Oratory in London, Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0
And, it is possible to define links between several images. By clicking on the link, the spherical representation switches to an image. This is at the heart of the creation of virtual tours, by associating several images on the course of a site, the observer can thus visit the places by moving around and being able to look as they see fit. More details to come on PhotoPlanet360.
In the case of virtual tours of a few images, the manual configuration of the links between the images is done quite simply, however for more ambitious virtual tours, the configuration quickly becomes delicate and complicated, thus making the use of Pannellum quite frustrating.
Source Wikimedia: © Underwater Earth / XL Catlin Seaview Survey / Aaron Spence
Note that Pannellum also supports the representation of 360 video.
SOME TECHNICAL INFORMATION
To customize its use, technical parameters allow images to be preloaded, multi-cubes to be taken into account as well as multi-resolution for very large images. For this last point, the preparation of the intermediate images is done by executing a python script, which requires several prerequisites for its execution. Note that I have not been able to run it on a Mac computer that is a few years old.
Technically, the software can be activated using several methods: URL, JSON and API. From the simplest, URL, to the most complicated, API, it is also the latter solution that offers the most possibility of customization. There is also a very simple little assistant which is provided for doing some testing.
I hope this brief introduction whets your appetite. The virtual tour software available on the market is numerous and with a range of prices and very wide functions. Pannellum is free and gives very good rendering, in short, it is an excellent software to discover and experience this area of immersive representation of 360 images.
For more information on Pannellum , see its developer’s website Matthew Petroff .
The images used in the examples are taken from Wikipedia. The name of their author is listed below the image. Note that to limit loading times, the images are not in max resolution.