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Creating a Web Based Virtual Tour

By Tim Oestreich | Mon, 14 May 2007

How to create a virtual tour or panoramic photo.

Capturing the 360 virtual tour.

The first step required to create a virtual tour is to capture the virtual tour images. Virtual tour images are created by capturing from 6-18 images from the center point of view of the scene. This is done by placing a specially equipped digital or film camera on a panoramic tripod head at the center point of the scene and rotating the camera after the image is captured. Generally 50% overlap is sufficent for stitching together the virtual tour.

Stitching Software: Stitching the virtual tour together and retouching.

The second step required to create a virtual tour is to process and then retouch your stitched image. You must have appropiate virtual tour software for doing this step. There are many companies that provide software for creating virtual tours. Some leaders vendors you can find on this site. Virtual tour software comes in a variety configurations from automated to complex, from free to expensive. Depending on your needs and quality your results can vary dramatically.

Using virtual tours on the Internet.

The final step required to create a virtual tour is to prepare the virtual tour for deployment on the Internet. Virtual tours can be deployed using plug-in or Java technologies. A plug-in is a helper application which works within a Web browser, or as a stand alone application. Plug-ins are usually available free of charge as downloads on the Web. The advantage of plug-ins is that they extend and improve a browser's capability by enabling the browser to play a wider and more robust selection of Web media. Java is a language which is built into Netscape, Microsoft and AOL version 3.0 and later Web browsers. Java based virtual tours are played using Java Applets. The advantage of Java is that browsers do not require a plug-in to play virtual tours. The disadvantage of Java based virtual tours is that they lack the performance and enhanced features capabilities of their plug-in counterparts.


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