Making a Panorama in VR Worx
"Stitching" is the process in which several overlapping
pictures are seamlessly blended together into one picture. Stitching software
must identify matching details in the pictures' overlaps, warp and superimpose
them so they fit perfectly before blending them into the single picture. Several
software packages do this process, but only a couple are specifically designed
to produce QTVR panoramas, Apple's own Quicktime Virtual Reality Authoring
Studio (QTVRAS, see http://www.apple.com/quicktime/qtvr)
and VR Worx (see http://www.vrtoolbox.com).
We will be using VR Worx in this project. If you wish to follow along in the
following steps, you can download a free Demo version of VR Worx from the
VR Toolbox web site. You can downlowd the image files used in this project
Creating Your QTVR Panorama
- Before launching the VR Worx 2.0 software, create a new folder on your
computer desktop and copy the pictures that you took for your panorama from
the floppy disk(s) into the folder.
- Launch VR Worx 2.0. You will see a startup screen that asks you to select
the document type. We will be creating a Panorama, so make sure that Panorama
is selected and click "OK."
- The Setup step of VR Worx will appear. Here you will need to tell VR Worx
details about your pano shoot so it can accurately handle the pictures.Set
the Max. Frames value to the number of shots in your pano shoot, 18.
Under Lens Params: enter 40 in the "Length" field. (This
value is the equivalent focal length of a lens with a comparable angle
of coverage on a 35 mm film camera. The actual focal length of the Sony Mavica
lens is much smaller because it is focusing the much smaller area of its CCD
chip.) Set the Image Size to 480 X 640, the pixel dimension of your
pictures in portrait orientation.
Notice that the program computes an Overlap between the pictures of
43.6% based on your inputs. The software needs quite a bit of overlap between
pictures to do a good stitch. This value should be between 30-50%. Increasing
the number of shots or using a wider angle lens will increase the overlap.
Click on the Acquire tab to go to the next step of the VR Worx program.
- At the Acquire step you will see a circular layout indicating the
positions of your pictures in your pano shoot. First you will need to import
your pictures into the VR Worx program by clicking on the "Multiple"
button in the Commands section.
- In the dialogue box that appears, navigate to the folder that contains the
pictures for your panorama. Make sure the first picture in your pano is highlighted
in the file list, and that the Show Preview box is checked. Examine
the thumbnail of your first shot to determine how it should be rotated to
be right side up. Your pictures need to be rotated counter-clockwise, so you
need to select -90° in the rotation box in the lower left-hand
corner of the dialogue box. Click on the "Add 18" button to move
the files to the Add frames to panorama... section of the dialogue
box and then click on "Done."
- You will see your pictures being acquired by the program. Thumbnails of
the pictures will appear in the circular layout when acquisition is complete.
If you see errors, such as incorrect rotation, you can click on the "Multiple"
button again, make corrections, and reaquire the shots. Click on the Stitch
tab to go to the next step.
- At the Stitch step, click on the "Stitch" button. The software
will attempt to match details in the overlapping pictures and lay them out
for the blend step. If you click on the Transparency box in the Options
section, you will be able to see through the overlaps to see how well
the match has been made. You may wish to scroll through the whole panorama
to examine the the stitch to see if you need to make any adustments.
8. If you want to refine the positioning made by the software,
click on the frame you wish to move and click on the Offset buttons in
the Adjustments section. You may not be able to get and exact position
across the entire height of the picture. When you are satisfied with the postioning
of all the pictures, click on the Blend tab to go to the next step.
- Click on the "Blend" button to blend your stitched pictures into
one seamless picture. If your shots had a great deal of exposure differences
between them, moving the Blend slider over to the Max setting before
blending will help a little. We won't be adding hot spots to this panorama
right now, so click on the Compress tab to go to the next step.
- At the Compress step, the actual QTVR panorama is created using the
video compression codec that you select. Without going into the technical
details, the default selection on this step are a good choice, so click on
the "Compress" button to make your QTVR panorama, then click on
the Playback tab to view the results.
- At the Playback step you will be able to set different features of
your panorama before exporting the QTVR movie.
- For instance, you can change the dimensions of the Playback Window.
This will not change the file size of the finished movie, only the window
dimensions that let you look out on the panorama.
- Most of the features under the Attributes section are fairly technical
and should not be changed, except the features under the "Annotate"
button, which allows you to add name, copyright, and a description to the
movie data. People can look up these annotations using QuickTime viewer applications
like QuickTime Player.
- Under the Constraints section, you can set important features as
to how the finished panorama will play. For instance, you can specify exactly
where the QTVR panorama will initially open (including its pan, zoom and tilt)
by panning, zooming and tilting the panorama to the exact place you wish it
to open and clicking on the "Set" button under Initial. You
can also set limits on how far the panorama may be zoomed in or out.
- When you have set the features of your panorama, you should first save the
VR Worx document by selecting "Save" from the "File" menu,
giving the document an appropriate name, navigating to the folder where you
wish it to be saved and clicking on "OK" in the dialogue box. Notice
that is is a VR Worx document and not a QTVR movie. The QTVR movie which we
will export in the next step is the media you will use on a web page or a
HyperStudio stack. The VR Worx document contains all the work you have done
in Worx heretofore, and contains within it the individual pictures before
stitching, the stitched, seamless flat picture created in the Blend step,
as well as the QTVR panorama and all the settings applied to it. It is a fairly
large file32.8 MBas compared with the QTVR movie we will export
out of the Worx program, which is 900 KB. Click on the Export Movie...
button in the bottom left corner of the Playback step to export your QTVR
- Worx will suggest a name for your QTVR movie based on the name of the Worx
document. You may change the name, but be sure to retain the .mov file name
extension, which identifies it as QuickTime media. If your movie is to be
displayed on the web, you should check Optimize for web playback, which
is a quick start feature for the web. Navigate to the folder you wish to save
to and click on "Export."
Here is the finished QTVR panorama as it appears on a web page.
Next: Making a QTVR Object Movie
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