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  Virtual reality

What does "without plug-in" means?

Adding 360º panoramics to your Web site

Technical aspects to consider

Advices for beginners in 360 panoramics

Information for Webmasters: Java applets used

Virtual reality
  The combination of digital photography with Web techniques provide visual, and even touch-sensitive, experiences close to reality. Such experiences are commonly referred to as "virtual reality".

Contrary to video, virtual reality is designed to reproduce the visual environment as perceived by a real observer. The ability to interact with this visual environment brings an additional dimension to the Web experience -- such as for instance the ability to virtually "grab" and "manipulate" an object.

What does "without plug-in" means?
  A plug-in is a small piece of software that Web visitors need to install on their computer in order to run some virtual reality applications. Quick Time VR is an example of such plug-in.

In order to offer an immediate virtual reality experience, our interactive 360º panoramics can be viewed without plug-in. The visualization is handled by a Java applet; no download or software installation is required since the Java applet is directly handled by the browser.

Adding 360º panoramics to your Web site
  Integrating 360º panoramics to your Web site implies the following steps:
  • As many shots as required of the place or scene you wish to provide as 360º interactive panoramic.
  • Assembling of the different shots and tuning of the interactive panoramic
  • Inclusion of hotspots and/or "spheric features" depending on your requirements.
  • Setting of the Java applet
Once the above is completed, the 360º panoramic is ready to be published on your Web site under the format you specify.
Technical aspects to consider
  Your visitors access your Web site with various level of equipment. The speed of the Internet connection for instance is an important element to take into account when offering virtual reality applications such as 360º panoramics.

High resolution versus download time
High resolution provides excellent reproduction quality; the downside is that highly defined pictures mean heavy files and thus increased download times. An alternative is to offer to your visitors the choice between two versions of the 360º panoramic:
(1) a default version in low-resolution (download time around 30 seconds with a 56k modem) and
(2) a high-resolution version in order to offer higher reproduction quality to visitors who benefit from fast connections.

Browser version and Java applet
The browser version should not be too old so that it can handle Java applets (Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator version 4 and further). Though only a small minority of Web surfers are equipped with older versions, we recommend to test the browser version of your site's visitors in order to eventually invite them to download a more recent version.

Advices for beginners in 360º panoramics
To produce good interactive panoramics, you first need a good level in photography. You then have to be prepared to spend time on your computer learning PhotoShop and stichting softwares. Finally, you will need some web design knowledge to implement your panoramic on the Internet.
In order to learn from examples, you can find below a list of other web sites that we recommend:
Many examples - use of sophisticated web techniques.
The site of the "guru" of virtual reality photography
A nice realization
Jook Leung's Web site
Many resources, including tutorials to learn how to use stitching softwares.
Information for webmasters: Java applets used
  Most of the 360º panoramics published on this Web site are handled by the Java applet "PTViewer" created by Professor H. Dersch from the Technical University of Furtwangen (Germany). This is an open-source applet distributed under the GNU license.

You can find more information on PTViewer and download it with the following link:
Or a mirror site
Another mirror site

We are also using the Java applet from PhotoVista distributed by MGI Soft.

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