How To Create 360x180 (Equirectangular) Panoramas

Introduction

Walkabout Worlds combines multiple 360 degree panoramas together to create a full immersion photographic experience. Each panorama covers not only a full 360 degree horizontal view, but also full 180 degree vertical view, which enables a viewer to see in any direction. This panorama is stored in what is called a equirectangular format. It looks kind of funny and distorted when seen by itself:



However, once the equirectangular panorama is put into the Walkabout viewer, the section of the image you are viewing will then look like a normal picture.



How Can I Create A 360 Equirectangular Panorama?

There are three general ways that you can create your panoramas:

 Taking multiple pictures and stitching them together manually
 Using an app on your smartphone
 Using a 360 camera

By far the easiest way is using a 360 camera. There is a list of available 360 cameras here. However, because 360 cameras can be expensive, you may want to try one of the other two methods first, just to get your feet wet.

Taking multiple pictures and stitching them together manually

This method is by far the most labor intensive. However, with a nice camera and some patience it can create stunning results. It requires you stand in one spot and to take multiple pictures in multiple directions. Then you must use some sort of stitching software to merge all those pictures into a single panorama.
Here is a great tutorial on how to create a 360 panorama using an ordinary camera: FromParis.com Panorama Tutorial

Using an app on your smartphone

There are apps for both Android phones and IPhones for creating 360 panoramas. These apps guide you through taking multiple pictures and then take care of stitching of the pictures into one. If you are patient and take your time, these apps can produce high quality panoramas. Using these apps require less work then the manually stitching, but still take considerable more time than using a 360 camera. Because of this, Walkabouts made with this method will usually have bigger jumps as you walk around, because it is too time consuming to create a panorama every few feet. Click on the image below to see a small walkabout created with panoramas from a Nexus 4 android phone:

Here are links to the Google Photosphere App that can be used to create 360 equirectangular panoramas:

For The IPhone
For Android Phones

Using a 360 camera

Using a 360 camera makes creating panoramas for your Walkabout easy. You just have to take a picture every 2-3 meters. There are a few commercial 360 cameras currently available and several more slated to come out within the next year. Here is a list of some of them:

CameraWebsiteCost
Ricoh Thetahttps://theta360.com/en/$299
Giroptic 360Camhttp://360.tv/$499
360Fly*https://360fly.com/$499
Bublcamhttp://www.bublcam.com/$799
Sphericam 2http://www.sphericam.com/$1400-$1500
Point Grey LadyBughttp://www.ptgrey.com/360-degree-spherical-camera-systemsNot Available
Freedom 360

6 GoPro Mount
http://freedom360.us/$500-$1500 for mount

$2000-$3000 for GoPros


*It is not clear from their website if the 360fly can take still photos. It also appears they do not have a full 360X180 view, but they have been included here for completness


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