Friday, November 30, 2007

VRMag relaunch issue online

VRMag issue 28
Marco Trezzini and the crew at VR Way Communications, a Switzerland-based company have published a new issue of VRMag, which is chock-full of panoramas, information and ideas, both commercial and journalistic.
I especially like the navigation options - QTVR fullscreen, Flash leaflet (this is new and VERY cool) and html index.
For those of us working for MSM websites, thinking about navigation is crucial. We can use panoramic images and technology to introduce our viewsers to complex, multi-threaded, non-linear stories.
This of course points out that we need talented, multi-skilled web programmers to help us present panoramas, just as we need strong designers in our print products.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Educating our viewsers

While I've been learning about making and presenting panoramas, I've also observed how our viewsers interact with them. It's been painful to watch first-time panorama viewers struggle with clicking and dragging to navigate, let alone using control and shift keys to zoom. They often give up and leave the page. Ouch.

I include some text on my pages ("Navigating VR panoramas: Click and drag to move around. Shift-click to zoom in, control-click to zoom out."), but there's better ways to get the point across. There's a current thread on the PanotoolsNG Yahoo group about helping readers better understand how to interact with our panoramas.

Eric Leeman at has a nice Viewing Instructions page for his viewsers. It's tightly written, and blurring the background image to make the instruction text clearer is a great touch.

Matthew Rogers at 360precision (makers of the Ferrari of pano heads) posted to the list a link for a reader tutorial he developed some years ago. This one is a little more text-based, and may not be as easy to first use as Leeman's example.

I think it's important to remember that the interactive panorama is new to many of our users. Let's help them have a good experience. These examples are good starting points.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

PTGui 7.4 beta available for download

Joost (rhymes with toast) Nieuwenhuijse has released a public beta of his outstanding cross-platform panorama stitching program PTGui. This is a good a time as any for you, the aspiring panorama photographer to explore this fantastic program.
Joost is constantly adding features and making the program easier to use. He also is very accessible, fielding questions on a daily basis on the PTGui Google group.
The current version, PTGui 7.3 is available for a free 30-day trial. The online support for the program is excellent (and required reading) for new users. Also, check out a home-baked tutorial in the Flying Short Course handouts post of last Friday.
I need to be clear - stitching panoramas is technically challenging! Be patient, read the instructions, experiment and ask questions! The panoramic community is diverse and more than willing to help newcomers who are willing to try. I will post a list of online resources later this week.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Festival of Trees on, North Andover MA
Roger Darrigrand of in North Andover, MA is shooting some panoramas of interiors. He's putting his branding at the top of the image rather than the bottom where the tripod usually is. I've asked him to fill us in on how/why he's doing that.
Thanks to Seth Gitner of for the heads up.