We just released a brand new and awesome version of 360 Panorama in the App Store today. Everyone on the team put in a lot of hard work into version 4.1. We are very excited to get it in your hands.
This version has a great collection of new features and support for the new iPad’s amazing Retina display.
The app is a living and breathing organism for us. We are constantly using it every day, thinking about how we can improve it, and discussing our ideas. And believe me, we have no shortage of those.
We carefully pick and choose what the next update will include by thinking about how we can make the app more magical, simpler, and easier to use.
To quote @chamillionare: “Making everything simple is actually complicated most of the time…”
Most importantly we listen to what our customers have to say. We have a great community of users that actively keep in touch and send us valuable feedback.
With version 4.1 we are introducing the in-app panorama list. You can now quickly browse and view your panoramas with clear thumbnails instead of searching for them in your camera roll.
We also display dates for your panoramas and show which ones you’ve uploaded. It will be much easier to take a bunch of panoramas and upload them for sharing, enhancement, and safe keeping when you get back home to fast internet.
Once you capture a panorama, 360 will automatically save it to your list so you don’t have to worry about tapping the ‘Save’ button. In fact, the ‘Save’ button is now gone! Wait a minute! What if you want to save panoramas to your photo library? Easy. Tap the new ‘Camera Roll’ button in the ‘Share’ menu and 360 will export your panorama for you.
Finally, there’s the beautiful full-screen viewing mode: While you are viewing a panorama, tap the screen to hide the menu bar and the other buttons and get an immersive display of the scenery. Don’t forget to tap the ‘Gyro’ button for further awesomeness.
Make sure to check out the full-screen viewing especially on your iPad. It’s the next best thing to being there. I promise you will be impressed.
Oh, and there is one more thing. 360 Panorama now speaks Deutsch in the German store.
Willkommen bei 360 Panorama.
While Meryl Streep is still celebrating her big win at last night’s 84th annual Academy Awards, we’re happy to report we’re sporting a little Oscar glow this morning too.
While we may not have had an official invite (or been anywhere near LA for that matter) 360 Panorama got a backstage pass to the awards… through the eyes of @TheAcademy.
We’re flattered that The Academy chose to use 360 Panorama to give fans a backstage peak at what it’s like to be a part of the Oscars. Here are our top 3 favorites, but be sure to check out all of The Academy’s backstage panoramas. Click on any of them for the immersive 360 view.
And for the record, we’d like to take this opportunity to thank The Academy, Alan Turing, Claude Shannon, Steve Jobs and our Moms for making this all possible.
As 2011 comes to a close, there are a few panoramas from the year we can’t seem to forget. Here, in no particular order, are 10 panoramas we’ll remember from 2011.
Click flat images to be taken to the 360 view!
Boat run ashore in Maharashtra, India
From Aneesh Bhasin
Turquoise lake in Alberta, Canada
From Tom Pace
Mountaintop in Lucerne, Switzerland
From Scott Larson
Field in Franklin, Wisconsin
From Bob Solem
From Craige Mazur
Red Sands in Jordan
From Elies Campo
Hong Kong at night
From Saranya Siripuekpong
From Ever G
From Vikas Reddy
Beach at Kaui, Hawaii
Tom Pace takes incredible panoramas.
It’s not a stretch to say that Tom has taken some of the most amazing panoramas we’ve seen and we’ve enjoyed sharing several of his panoramas from the @360Panorama Twitter account, as well as feature a few in Noteworthy on the 360VERSE page. Last week, at the prompt of a comment from another 360 Panorama user, Tom crafted a blog post to share his secrets for how he creates such memorable panoramas.
Best Techniques for 360 Panorama
Getting a satisfying 360-degree photo is easy, but to add that little extra bit of quality, I’ve come up with a handful of techniques that can be used to improve the finished result.
The following are the most important techniques to solve the most significant problems I found occurring in most panoramas:
- Achieving the best camera exposure levels in the first shot
- Moving so the images blend together properly, primarily to fix broken horizons
1. Get The Best Exposure
Determining the best exposure can be a bit of a guess, but the best way to get it is aiming the camera toward the brightest point in the 360 environment for light or average environments … obviously the sun, if you’re outside, or some light wall inside, etc. In a darker environment, aim the camera at the darkest place so it compensates and the rest of the 360 view is easier to see, not all black. And then, start capturing, and quickly spin around and find any places in the environment that you really like and want to see in the panorama, and if they appear way too dark or too light, then you might want to restart, and aim the camera a bit off from whatever you aimed at initially. Then you can either assume the camera has a good initial exposure and continue to make the panorama or you can do a quick spot check again. I usually do one single test and then do the panorama.. Although, I would have done a third on Lake Louise if I had the time (I was annoying family members who were also in the canoe, requesting them to spin the boat around! haha..)
Here are two pairs of panoramas with separate light/dark versions, Lake Louise and Grotto Mountain Pond:
Lake Louise light (the water texture is much more detailed than the dark version, but the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is farther and harder to see here… the dark one is closer)
First I aimed at the sun, so the sky was darker and all the clouds were detailed, but the mountains turned totally black.
Then tried lighter a bit, once or twice, until I liked the balance between bright sky clouds and the dark mountains. This was used by Occipital in the 360verse, and a viewer commented on it which inspired me to write this blog post.
2. Preventing Broken Horizons
Watch the grid when starting and try to capture the horizon in your first image, rather than a total sky image or total ground image. Then slowly angle the device up and down to get the sky and ground for this initial horizon image, then return to the horizon and start slowly turning around in a circle. Try have the new new image overlap the captured images as much as possible. Spinning your body at a slower speed helps.
This action will greatly reduce the chance of a broken horizon. It’s much more tricky to get the horizon at the end of the 360 spin to be unbroken. I think it’s a bit of luck, but it’s also about keeping the iPhone as still as possible while spinning.
Start spinning slowly again, capturing the sky and ground in the same manner. I haven’t determined if it makes a difference to capture only the sky in a spin and the ground in a separate spin, or if the second spin can capture both sky and ground by angling up and down as you spin the second time around.
Quick Bonus Tips!
- Keep the iPhone as close to you as possible, right in front of your face. Holding it at arms length can confuse it for certain near-by objects. This tip came directly from Occipital after I finally asked for help in late February 2011.
- Also don’t lower it down to your chest or waist when capturing the ground, and don’t stick it way up above your head when capturing the sky. Only rotate it up and down, right in front of your face, and spin your body to get the side images.
Now I’ve created almost 30 panoramas, some uploaded and public, and feel great confidence in the app, and my own improved use of it. I hope this info can help you get even more enjoyment from the app.
A brief bio from Tom Pace:
I am a technology consultant. My experience was originally in desktop web apps, but my focus has changed to prioritize the user experience and development on mobile devices in recent years. I have completed projects and have more in development on iOS, and Android, for myself and clients around North America and the Caribbean.
Working independently for several years, I enjoy the experience of entrepreneurship. Being independent demands me to keep a strict focus on growth, being proactive, keeping a constant positive attitude, and often thinking outside the box.
I have an insatiable desire to explore the bleeding-edge boundaries of technology, and to explore the wide and wonderful natural world. Being out in the natural world is one of the best sources of creativity and inspiration.
You can see more of Tom’s panoramas on his public profile.
Since the release of 360 Panorama, users have been requesting the ability to post and receive comments on their panoramas. We’ve been listening!
We are proud to announce support for comments on all uploaded 360 Panoramas.
With the addition of comments, we’re releasing an additional new feature in 360 Panorama: Your activity stream. As we integrate even more functionality into the app, we know it will be important to see your latest activity in one location. That’s why we built your activity stream right into the app. With the receipt of your first notification, you will see your Occipital account icon in the top right corner. When you receive a comment or other notification, the notification bubble next to your icon will turn red. Just press your icon to view your account and activity stream.
Easily reply to comments from within the app by selecting the comment and entering your response.
Comments aren’t just an in-app feature. Friends, family, and the world (for your public panoramas) can view and share comments in the web viewer as well.
And now for even more good news: Comments and the activity stream are just the beginning. We’re hard at work building some great new features for 360 Panorama and we can’t wait to share them with you. It’s just going to keep getting better and better.
Back in August, we did a 4-day promotion of 360 Panorama where we cut the price from $0.99 to Free. The limited time offer was also promoted by Apple’s App Store Twitter (@AppStore) and Facebook accounts, and got picked up around the web.
Prior to the promotion, all we had heard about free app promos was the rule of thumb that you should expect “5 to 10x” the downloads. We didn’t really know what to expect in regards to user engagement or App Store rankings. So, we decided it would be fun to collect the stats on what happened and see: What happens when a best selling iphone app goes free?
Simply click the photographer’s name in the upper right corner of the panorama you are viewing.
You’ll be taken to their public profile to see all their public panoramas!
Want to share your public profile with other 360 Panorama users? Post your public profile url to the comments and we’ll feature your profile from our @360Panorama Twitter account!
Thanks to 360 Panorama user Mike Richwalsky, sharing 360 Panoramas on your WordPress blog just got easier.
We met Mike last week when he posted this Tweet:
We’ve offered an embed code for panoramas through your 360 Panorama account since May. Many users have taken advantage of this feature to share panoramas on their websites and blogs, including WordPress sites. However, for those users not comfortable using the WordPresses HTML editor, embedding the panorama could be a bit daunting.
With Mike’s WordPress plugin, 360 Panorama Embed, it’s now easier than ever.
With the 360 Panorama Embed plugin installed on your WordPress site, you place your panorama by inserting a shortcode in either the visual or html editor.
Simply insert the shortcode: [panoembed pano=”XXXXXX”] with your panorama ID, and the panorama will display in the immersive viewer in your post.
To embed an incredible panorama Jeff took yesterday into this blog post, we viewed the panorama to find the ID:
Included the ID in the shortcode:
So what prompted Mike to make this great plugin? As Director of Marketing Services at John Carroll University in Cleveland, he recently converted over 100 sites at the university to WordPress. When he found 360 Panorama during last week’s free promotion, he decided to give it a try, and thought it was a great tool. Looking to create his first WordPress plugin, he thought 360Panorama would be a great fit… and the rest is history.
And in case you don’t remember, it’s not the first time a 360 Panorama User has created something cool for the 360 Panorama community. We could get used to this.