Yuzuru Jewell is a long-time Second Life user who has, over the years, come up with a number of tools that have been of assistance to SL users in various ways. I first became aware of his work – provided under the Kanae Project banner in 2012, and have documented a number of his applications in these pages.
For his latest product, Yuzuru offers a handy tool that may be appreciated by those who enjoy creating 360º photographs. K360 is a lightweight viewer that supports viewing (or previewing) 360º photographs primarily taken with the Second Life 360º Snapshot viewer, although it works equally well with any composed 360º image, including those produced by 360º cameras and – in the case of Second Life – via third-party HUD systems (see the links at the end of this article for more on these).
Of course, most photo platforms now provide 360º image viewing support, so why use a third-party tool like this? Well, there are a couple of potential reasons: many viewers are either mobile based, and thus hardly ideal for use with a desktop application like SL), or they rely on images being uploaded to a website first. K360 allows you to quickly and easily view 360º images directly from any Windows folder on your computer and offers some additional functionality as well.
Of course, the Snapshot viewer includes photo preview capability already built-in (just drag the window out to get a equirectangular style image) – but this only allows you to preview the last 360º image captured. The advantage of a tool like K360 is that you can set the camera up and take a series of 360º images of the same location but under different environment settings, compare and contrast them to see which you particularly like, and then upload that version to your preferred photo sharing platform (or simply browse them on from your local drive).
Using K360 is simplicity itself, as described below. However, when using it, please note:
- By default, images rendered in the K360 viewer will be watermarked (but all other functions in the application work).
- To remove this watermark, the application will require a registration user name and licence number.
- Licences cost L$3980 and can be purchased from the Kanae Project in-world store.
Download and Installation
- Download the viewer from the Kanae Project website as a .ZIP file. It’s is available in both Windows 32-bit and Windows 64-bit versions.
- Navigate to the downloaded .ZIP file and extract the contents to a folder / location of your choice on your computer.
- Navigate to that folder, open it and double-click on the K360.exe file to launch the viewer.
Resizing the Application Window
By default,the K360 application window may open to a fairly small size on your screen. To adjust this, either:
- Click the window maximise button, top right, or
- Manually resize the window by dragging out the edges.
The Interface and Controls
The K360 interface comprises up to six buttons:
When you have opened a 360º image for viewing:
- Click and hold the left mouse button to drag-rotate the image (or roll your trackball in the required direction.
- Use the mouse wheel to zoom in / out of an image.
- Use the Reset button to re-centre the image to how it appeared on first opening it after rotating / scrolling / zooming, if required.
You can also hide / unhide the the interface buttons by clicking on the “ribbon” containing the Open, Snapshot and Re-centre buttons.
K360 is probably a little ahead of its time. As it is there are further fixes required to the 360º snapshot viewer before it is ready for prime time imaging capability of the 360º Snapshot viewer (notably, objects outside of the camera’s field of viewer when the capture process commences don’t always show as correctly rendered in a completed shot – these are known issues, and Linden Lab is working to correct them).
In this respect, the value you get out of K360 at this point in time could be variable – although if you want to give it a try and don’t mind the watermarks appearing across your images, it won’t cost you a penny to do so.
If you already have a selection of 360º images from the 360º snapshot viewer or from the various camera HUDs that are available – or indeed stored on your PC from the physical world – and would like a quick and easy way to view them on your computer, then K360 might well be worth a look.