Projectors as mirrors in Second Life

Using a projector and “reflective” surface in SL to creator a mirror in our living room at home. Note how the “reflection” changes as the viewing perspective moves

Second Life lighting projectors are an extremely useful capability that can be put to a wide variety of uses. I first covered their basics far back in 2011. Since then they’ve been notably easier to use (and that original article was subsequently updated to reflect this).

In 2016, for his art display, Mirrored Garden, at Holly Kai Garden (see here for details), Silas Merlin demonstrated a means to create mirror-like effects in Second Life, with a number of “mirrors” mounted around his sculptures “reflecting” them and the garden in which they were being displayed. I’ve since seen a number of SL artists use a similar approach to add depth to their work, and in April 2018, Adeon Writer offered a video tutorial on using projectors to create “portal-like” effects.

One of the “mirrors” Silas Merlin created for his Mirrored Garden art exhibition at Holly Kai Park in April 2016

Given the latter, I thought it high time a revisited a draft of an article about Silas’ approach I started in 2016, but never quite finished (my apologies to him), gave it a polish and present it as a tutorial for those interested in using projector-based “mirrors” in SL.

Prerequisites

  • For this time of “mirror” to work, those looking at it must have viewer’s Advanced Lighting Model (ALM) enabled via Preferences > Graphics. Anyone who does not have ALM enabled will just see a blank surface instead of any reflections.
  • The “mirror” itself is made up of a number of elements: the “reflective” surface itself (which can be a mesh or prim face), and one or more lighting projectors – the exact number and their placement will be subject to the effect you are trying to achieve.

For this tutorial, I’m producing a single “mirror” using a single projector to create a finished item – a simple household room mirror. Adeon’s video provides an outline on how to use multiple projectors to achieve a result.

Create the “Mirror”

The “mirror” is simple flat surface (face) of a prim or mesh. When done, it can be made part of a more ornate item – so you could add a frame around it, etc.).

  1. Create a prim and size it.
  2. Right-click the prim and click the Select Face radio button, then click on the face of the prim you want to make “reflective”.
  3. In the Edit > Texture tab:
    • Use the texture picker to set the texture to Blank.
    • Set the colour of the face you have selected to black and leave Transparency at 0
    • Enable Full Bright to reduce unwanted reflection of nearby lights.
Setting the texture options for a reflective “mirror” surface.
  1. Click Shininess (specular) radio button and:
    • Use the picker to set the map to blank (white).
    • Set Glossiness to 255 (highest).
    • Set Environment to a value that works best for your overall lighting conditions – generally speaking, higher is better.
    • Set the specular colour swatch to black to further reduce unwanted light reflection.
Setting the specular options for your reflective “mirror” surface

Create Your “Reflections”

This can sound complicated, but it’s actually relatively straightforward, requiring two main steps: create an image that will form the “reflection”; create the projector that will use the image.

Create the “Mirror” Image

  1. Position your “mirror” in the location you intend to hang it. Position your camera “in” the “mirror”, and facing out – so you are looking from the “mirror’s” point-of-view (e.g. from the wall on which it hangs looking out into the room it which it is hanging).
  2. Take a snapshot at a reasonably high resolution.
  3. Use an image editing tool to crop the image to give the desired look for the “reflection” – and flip it horizontally before saving.
  4. Repeat for any addition projectors you are using, taking your snapshots from the perspective of each projector.
  5. Don’t upload the texture(s) as yet.

Create the Projector(s)

Repeat the following steps for each of the projectors you’ll be using.

  1. Create a prim.
  2. Edit the prim and select the Features tab.
  3. Check the Light option to enable it and then:
    • Click the second box alongside the Light option to open the texture picker.
    • Click the Local radio button.
    • Use the ADD button to allow you to select the projector texture from your hard drive (note: only you will be able to see the results when using the Local option, but it allows you to experiment without having to upload textures multiple times).
    • When you have selected the require texture it will appear in the texture list on the right of the picker.
    • Click on the texture name to select it; the texture will be applied to the bottom face of the prim.
Applying a texture to a projector

Continue reading “Projectors as mirrors in Second Life”

Advertisements

Tutorial: creating Second Life Place Pages

The Holly Kai Park Place Page banner
Introduced in 2017, Place Pages are a means to allow region and parcel owners to create a web browsable page (hosted by the Lab) for their location(s) in-world. These pages can then be shared through blogs, websites, Twitter, Facebook, etc., offering a means to promote those places to a broader audience, advertise events, etc so on. Table of Contents

In addition, all published Place Pages can be searched via the Place Page home page, or browsed as thumbnails.

There is an official Knowledge Base article providing information on creating and using Place Pages, but I thought I’d offer a step-by-step guide to setting-up one or more Place Pages.

Place Page Features

A Place Page showing the use of images, descriptive text and the inclusion of an events calendar. Click for full size

By default, every region and parcel in Second Life has a Place Page associated with it, derived from information in the parcel’s existing profile. These are provided in a default format, complete with place holder image. Each page comprises a number of features:

A banner “hero” image, together with additional images which can rotate as the page is refreshed or as a slide show; descriptive text; options for:

  • Listing a calendar of events.
  • Showing a region’s covenant – useful for residential rental regions).
  • Showing items for sale.
  • Adding a YouTube video.

Buttons to allow visitors to the page to launch their viewer and teleport directly to the location (assuming they are Second Life users – if not, they’ll be taken to the SL sign-up page).

In addition, a region’s Place Page can include a list of surfaced parcel Place Pages, and parcel Place Pages will include a link back to their “parent” region’s Place Page.

Prerequisites for Managing Place Pages

In order for you to be able to use the Place Pages to promote your in-world locations, certain criteria must be met:

  • You must own the parcel / region in question OR you must be assigned a the group ability to Toggle ‘Show Place in Search’ And Set Category within the group owning the land
  • For a parcel’s Place Page to be public, About Land > Show Place in Search for the parcel must be checked (incurring a weekly fee of L$30).

Managing Your Place Pages

Setting-Up a Place Page

  • Visit the Place Pages dashboard and log in using your Second Life credentials.
  • Access your available place pages either by clicking your name in the top right corner of the page and selecting My Places, or by clicking on My Places just below the banner.
Accessing your available Place Pages
  • Depending on your land holdings (e.g. the number of regions, the number of parcels on those regions), your list of available Place Pages might be short or long. Each Place Page item provides a summary and a default image.
  • Note:the Is Viewable? column in the list determines whether or not a Place Page is viewable or not.
    • True indicates the page is publicly viewable.
    • Not Viewable indicates the Place Page cannot be publicly viewed, either because you as the owner have set it that way, or because it relates to a parcel which does not have Show Place in Search checked within its About Land floater.
Sample Place Pages listing – note the region / parcel differentiator

When you have located the Place Page you wish to edit, click Edit on the right of the listing to open the Page in default / edit view. This comprises a number of easy-to-understand sections, complete with explanatory text.

  • Details: this section allows you to determine if the Place Page is publicly viewable, and define the information it displays.
    • Disable This Place Page: prevents the page being publicly displayed.
    • Show Covenant: displays the covenant associated with the land (if provided).
    • Items for Sale: item must be set to Show in Search on the General tab of the object editor window, and will be listed with price, description and a teleport button. Note that items not for sale will also be listed, but will appear at the end of the list with Not Available in the price column.
    • Show Calendar: displays a calendar of events for the region / parcel. Event must be created via the  Events section of your Second Life dashboard at secondlife.com.
    • Title: the title for the Place Page – shown overlaying the banner image.
    • Tag line: 150-charcter tagline for the Place Page, shown overlaying the banner image.
    • Description Editor: for entering formatted descriptive text to be displayed on the Place Page.
  • Optional: this section provides you with the ability to set the page, font, and link colours used on the page. There is also a space to provide a YouTube URL.
    • Note that at the time of writing the link colour only applies to the links in the Parcel Information section of your page; it does not apply to any links you may include in the description section of your page or any events listed with a calendar (if present). That can create visibility problems with these links, depending on the page background colour selected.
  • Images: Section for uploading at banner / Hero image and additional images that are displayed in rotation on the finished page.
  • Stats: general information on the region / parcel automatically displayed on the finished page as Parcel Information.

At the foot of the page are buttons to Update the page with any changes you have made, or Cancel them. Note that clicking Update will refresh the page and display your changes.

Including Parcels in a Region Place Page

If you have more than one parcel in a region, you can automatically include all of your visible parcel Place Pages in the region’s Place Page. Note, again, parcels must have how Place in Search set within their About Land floater (incurring a weekly L$30 fee) in order for them to appear on their “parent” region’s Place Page.

Parcels in a region can be listed in the region’s Place Page

Continue reading “Tutorial: creating Second Life Place Pages”

Clouds and windlight skies by Stevie Davros

Saturn over Holly Kai Park, via the Cosmic Skies clouds set by Stevie Davros

During the Friday, January 26th TPV Developer meeting, mentioned was made of cloud texture sets produced by Australian photographer Stevie Davros, which he offers for sale through the Marketplace. Curious, I decided to go and take a look and have a play.

In all, Stevie is offering five sets of cloud textures at prices ranging from L$99 through to L$599. These are essentially collections of .TGA files designed to replace the cloud texture found in the viewer, and a selection of associated windlight sky .XML files specifically designed to work with the cloud textures, together with comprehensive set of installations instructions and links to his installation videos. To help people understand how they work, Stevie provides a sixth demonstration set for free.

As delivered from the marketplace, each set comprises a note card providing a general introduction to the sets, and a set of links, as follows:

  • A link to a Dropbox file location where the actual files for installation can be downloaded.
  • A link to a YouTube slide show of the various cloud textures.
  • A link to his set of Flickr albums showings the cloud images.
  • Assorted links to windlight tutorials.
The JuilaSet clouds and ~Clouds_JulietSet_Blue_Day windlight .XML by Stevie Davros (Sci-Fi and Fantasy clouds)

On receipt of a note card (delivered to your Received Items in its own folder), simply copy / paste the Dropbox link into your web browser to display a preview of the download ZIP contents (thumbnails of the folders and instruction files), and click the Download button, top right of the web page – don’t download the individual files.

I’m not going to run through the installation process here, as Stevie provides a comprehensive guide in both .PDF and .RTF formats, and links to his installation videos. Some file manipulation is required, but providing you are comfortable navigating a folder / directory hierarchy via your computer’s file manager / explorer, and with renaming files and copy / pasting files, you shouldn’t find the installation that taxing. Suffice it to say that the downloaded ZIP contains:

  • A choice of folders with the cloud .TGA files – one for PC, one for Mac OSX. These are intended to replace the default cloud texture provided in the viewer.
  • A folder of .XML windlight files that can be used with the cloud textures. Copy the contents of this folder to your viewer’s user windlight skies folder, rather than the viewer’s main windlight skies folder.
  • Installation instructions in .PDF and .RTF.
  • Two images used in the installation instructions.
The JuilaSet clouds used with Annan Adored’s Morning Dream windlight

For most viewers, using the different cloud textures requires renaming the texture you wish to use via your computer’s file manager, and restarting their viewer. Again, Stevie’s installation instructions explain what is required.

If you use Firestorm, you can simply copy all of the cloud textures to the viewer’s windlight\cloud folder and select your required cloud texture from the Preferences > Windlight > Cloud Texture drop-down, although a viewer restart will still generally be required to apply the change.

Note: when re-logging after selecting a custom cloud TGA, you may see no change in your sky if you are in a region using the default sky settings, or things might look initially messy. If this happens simply switch to a suitable windlight setting – see below.

There are a wide variety of ways to access windlight .XML files depending on the viewer you are using. Within the official viewer, windlights are access via the World menu > Environment Editor and then using either the Environment Settings panel or Sky Presets > Edit Preset floater, using the drop-down on each to select your preferred windlight setting (see below).

Selecting windlight pre-sets from the World menu in the official viewer – click for full size, if required

When applying the cloud textures and windlights supplied by Stevie, it’s worth keeping the following in mind:

  • Some of the cloud textures have recommended or specific sky .XML presets for use with them. For example, in the Cosmic Skies set:
    • The JuliaSet clouds have set of associated .XML files with the prefix ~Clouds_JuilaSet_[name]).
    • The Saturn cloud texture requires the ~Clouds_Saturn windlight sky in order to display correctly (the planet will display with some other windlights, but generally appears distorted)
  • Some of the cloud textures can look rough – faint rings may appear in the sky, the texture repeats might have a definable edge, etc. These issues can generally be corrected by adjusting the amount of cloud cover using the appropriate slider (e.g.  World menu > Environment Editor > Sky Presets > Edit Preset … > Cloud tab) and use the coverage slider to adjust as required.

FCirrus v2 Windlight: Pinky Yellow, by Stevie Davros, on FlickrCirrus v2 Windlight: Pinky Yellow, by Stevie Davros on Flickr

Feedback

Given there are a lot of windlight .XML sets freely available to users, charging for them might at first seem odd – but remember, with these sets, it is not the .XMLs you are paying for, but the .TGA cloud files. How useful then might be to the individual depend on your Second Life use. Photographers will potentially find the sets to be of the most use; however, there are some points to be noted:

  • The cloud .TGA files are copyrighted by Stevie Davros. As such, although they are supplied outside of Second Life, they should be regarded as supplied under the following permissions: Copy, Modify, No Transfer, and so should not be passed to other users.
  • These sets are intended to be applied on the viewer side only (the cloud .TGA files can only be applied on the viewer-side), so only you will see them in operation when applied (those with their own region / with EM rights, might apply the windlight .XML files to their region).

It is perhaps also worthwhile pointing out that Rider Linden is working on the Environment Enhancement Project (EEP) – read this overview about the project for more. The point of this is that some might prefer to see how this project is implemented – testing is due to start on Aditi very soon – before purchasing sets of clouds.

Tutorial: raising Abuse Reports in Second Life

Griefing, be it through word, action, noise, or object (as seen here), etc., is one of the items covered by the Abuse Report
The following notes are drawn from a presentation Governance Team manager Tommy Linden and team member Corky Linden are making to various communities within Second Life as part of an initiative to better disseminate information about the Governance Team, and on filing Abuse Reports (ARs). The hope is that the information provided will give users a better understanding of what the Governance Team hope to see provided in an Abuse Report in order to fully investigate it.

Note that  official information on Abuse Reports can also be found in the Knowledge Base.

Table of Contents

 

Governance Team: Quick Facts

  • The team is relatively small – under a dozen in size – but handles an average of 400-500 Abuse Reports per day
  • All Abuse Reports get reviewed as the first stage of an investigation, with priority given to those seen as critical (such as an in-progress griefing attack).
  • All ARs that can be investigated are investigated. However:
    • How far the investigation goes largely depends on whether the AR is filed against something Governance is empowered to investigate, and how much meaningful information is supplied in it.
    • The Governance Team intentionally does not report back on the outcome of their investigations for a number of reasons. Just because the outcome might not be visible to the reporter / match their expectations when filing an AR, does not mean the report was ignored.
  • One of the biggest issues with incoming Abuse Reports is that they often lack the basic information required in order for an investigation to be properly carried out.

What is an Abuse Report?

The Abuse Report (AR) is for reporting any individual or group of avatars or any in-world object engaged in an activity deemed inappropriate under the Second Life Terms of Service  / Community Standards and/or is in contraction to the maturity rating for a region.

ARs apply to: griefing, spamming, age play, assault / pushing / disturbing the peace, disclosure of personal information, fraud, harassment, indecency and Skill Gaming violations. In addition, there are Welcome Area Guidelines governing places like Infohubs, which contain restrictions on what should not be done in those areas with any violations also subject to ARs. Report.

There are also certain things that do not apply to ARs. For example, being banned from a particular group or region or parcel, or a dispute over rental payment between residents are not actionable via AR.

ARs can be filed by anyone suffering abuse, or by those directly witnessing an abusive act. However, this does not mean teleporting multiple people into a location and having them file reports as well. Rather than “speeding up” any investigation, it can actually slow down the entire process by forcing Governance to spend time reviewing dozens of additional (and possibly contradictory) reports.

What Is The Governance Team Looking for in a Report?

The Governance Team is looking for clear, concise and consistent information in an Abuse Report, as summaries in the image below and expanded upon in the following sections.

A “good” Abuse Report, presenting all the information and making good use of a screen shot – click to open the slide in a separate tab for easier reading. With thanks to Corky Linden

Accessing the Abuse Report Floater

The AR floater can be accessed via:

  • Menu bar > Help > Report Abuse.
  • By right-clicking on an avatar or object and locating / selecting Report Abuse from the context menu / pie menu.
    • Make sure you have the right avatar / object selected when doing this.
    • Launching the AR floater using either of these two options will auto-complete parts of the form.

The following guidelines are intended to help with filing an AR.

Screen Shots

Where possible, try to include a screen shot of the situation you are reporting. It can be the most effective means of illustrating what is going on, and gives the Governance Team clear visual proof / evidence of what has happened. It can also make up for information missed from the rest of the report.

The slide below outlines some of the key points to remember when using the AR floater to capture a snapshot – click to enlarge it in a separate browser tab for ease of reading.

Abuse Report snapshots: click on the slide to open it in a separate browser tab for easier reading

Note that most viewers do not have a refresh button for the snapshot preview, so try to make sure all the information you wish to capture is on your screen. If you are unable to get a screen shot for whatever reason, it is important you provide clear, accurate information in the Summary and Details section of the report (see below).

Object Picker

The Object Picker allows you to identify an abusive object (e.g. a particle / noise spammer, a weapon, etc.), and include its name and owner in the body of your Abuse Report. Instructions on how to use it are included in the AR floater, and this section will be auto-completed if you launch an AR by right-clicking on an abusive object. Remember you can further verify the item by including it in a snapshot with the Edit floater open to show the object name & owner.

Report Categories

The Abuse Report floater includes a pre-defined, drop-down list of categories which should be used when filing a report. Notes on the *valid* categories can be found here. Note that filing under the wrong category doesn’t prevent a report from being investigated, but it can slow things down, particularly if there is insufficient information provided elsewhere in the report.

Abuser Name

This allows you to grab the name of someone causing abuse from those around you. If you launch an Abuse Report by right-clicking on an object or avatar, this section will auto-complete (make sure you have selected the right avatar), otherwise click the Choose button and follow the on-screen instructions.

Continue reading “Tutorial: raising Abuse Reports in Second Life”

Revisiting the Reshade injector with Second Life

Reshade is a real-time post-process injector allwoing you to overlay Second Life with various shader options, individually or collectively, to produce assorted effects and results
Reshade is a real-time post-process injector allowing you to overlay Second Life with various shader effects, individually or collectively, to produce assorted results, real-time, in both images and video

Back in August 2015, I blogged about Reshade, a post-processing injector for games and video software available for Windows. When installed and associated with a game or application like Second Life, it can be used to overlay the screen with a wide range of shader-based effects. These can them be used in screen captures or when recording machinima, to provide “real-time” visual effects.

Since that time, Reshade has been through a couple of iterations, with version 3.0.3 appearing on October 21st. As I’ve not revisited Reshade since that 2015 article, I thought I’d provide a short overview of installation and general use of this latest version.


A quick and dirty demo video I made with Reshade 1.0, showing how it can be used used in Second Life machinima filming

Installation

Please ensure you’re logged out of Second Life when setting-up ReShade.

  • Go to the Reshade website and download the installer, double-click to run it.
  • You will be prompted to select a programme for association with Reshade:

install-1

  • Click Select Game and navigate to the installed folder of the viewer with which you want to use Reshade and click on the viewer EXE file.
  • You will be prompted to Select Rendering API:

install-2

  • Click on OpenGL (note this may already appear to be selected – click on it anyway). You will be asked if you want to install the shaders- make sure you do.
  • The shaders will be downloaded and installed in a folder in your viewer’s installation location on your computer.
  • The Reshade installer will report Done, and can be closed.

To associate Reshade with any other viewer you have installed on your PC, you will have to follow these instructions again. You do not necessarily have to install the shaders again (although this is easiest) – you can set any additional versions of Reshade to point to shaders already installed.

Using Reshade

Note: the following is not intended to be an exhaustive guide to using Reshade. It is intended to get you started. The best way to gain familiarity with Reshade is to use it; should you need additional assistance, please refer to the Reshade forums. I don’t profess to be an expert in the applications, and will probably not be able to help with detailed technical support!

Reshade is available whenever you launch the viewer with which it has been associated. To access it, press SHIFT-F2. This will display the UI panel which may enter Tutorial mode, if you haven’t saved any presets.

  • Click the Continue button in the Reshade panel.
  • The preset selection bar will be highlighted. Click on the + button to the right of it to open the Name bar, and type in anything you like – this will become the name of a preset INI file, which yo can save and then select at a later date, loading all the sahder settings you have established in it.
  • The available shaders are loaded (and highlighted in red in the tutorial). Read the explanatory text and click continue.
  • The settings panel is highlighted and briefly explained. Read and click Finish.
  • The full Home tab will be displayed.
The Reshade Home tab
The Reshade Home tab – click for full size

This comprises 5 sections:

  • Preset selection area (top), with + (create a new preset INI) and – (delete selected preset INI)
  • The shader search bar  – type in all or part of a shader to display just that shader and its settings options. This also includes the Collapse / Expand toggle for opening / collapsing all shaders in the upper and lower panes of the tab
  • A scrollable list of available shaders. Clicking on any one of these will open it to display the activation button (1), above, and the hotkey toggle option (2), above – you can type-in any key combination you like here to automatically select the shader.
  • A scrollable list of settings, by shader (3), above).
  • The Reload button (reset everything to defaults) and Show error log buttons.

The two main panes in the tab – shader list and settings – can be adjusted by clicking on the divider between them and moving it up or down.

Continue reading “Revisiting the Reshade injector with Second Life”

VR Photosphere: a further Second Life 360 photo HUD

VR Creations 360 Photosphere demonstration; Inara Pey, October 2016,VR Creations 360 Photosphere demonstration  – click image to view in Flickr with 360o scrolling

Following my reviews of the Illiastra Panoramic HUD and the Camera Panoramic system (see links below), I was handed a further HUD system to look at.

The VR Creations 360o Photosphere HUD is a system that does exactly what it says on the packet: produces a set of images (26 in all) suitable for stitching together into a 360o spherical images suitable for uploading to the likes of Facebook, VRchive and Flickr. It falls between the Camera Panoramic and the Illiastra HUD in price, and is quite possibly the easiest of the three to use to take a set of shots.

The system comes in a basic package of the HUD, sufficient notes to get you going, and a link to a video overview.

The HUD

The VR Photosphere HUD comprises ten buttons, as shown below, with the key buttons highlighted.

The VR Creations 360 Photosphere HUD
The VR Creations 360 Photosphere HUD

The HUD cannot be minimised, but can be positioned off to one side or the other of the screen to keep it out-of-the-way.

Of particular note with the HUD is the top set of six buttons, which are related to positioning your camera to capture images. You can effectively position your camera anywhere you like using ALT-zoom or flycamming, and use the Add button to save the camera’s location as the centre of your sphere of photographs.This also allows you to take “seflies” through careful positioning of the camera close to you.

Saved camera positions can then be paged through using the left and right arrow buttons either side of the Release Camera button – so if you return to a location and wish to re-capture a set of images, you can do so easily, while the Delete button will delete the current camera position from the HUD.

Taking Your Shots

This is very much a point-and-shoot HUD system, requiring minimal set-up.  However, prior to taking your shots, there are some things you need to do:

  • Set your preferred windlight and daytime settings.
  • Make sure you freeze the clouds – you’ll be taking up to 26 images which will need to be stitched together, and moving clouds could make that a bit of a bugger to do. Use Menu > World > Environment Editor >Sky Presets > Edit Presets or PhotoTools > Clouds and check the scroll lock check boxes
  • Make sure the viewer’s camera is set to the default view  angle, FOV and focal length.

Once you’ve done this:

  • Position your camera at the centre point for your image capture – remember, you will be capturing 26 images in a sphere around this point, so you should have the camera view set to about a couple of metres off the ground.
  • Click Add on the HUD to set the camera position.
  • Press Esc on your keyboard to set your camera under HUD control.
  • Click on Begin Photosphere. Your camera will move to the nadir (lowest point) of the image set (generally pointing at the ground) ready for you to start capturing frames.
  • Press CTRL-~ (tilde), the snapshot shortcut, on your keyboard. You will be prompted for a location where you wish to save your first image. Select the folder and give a file name for the image.
  • Click the right arrow next to Done on the HUD to advance the camera to the next frame. Press CTRL-~ to save this shot automatically to the same location as the first.
  • Continue on round the photo a frame at a time using the right arrow button at the bottom of the HUD, saving each shot in turn via CTRL-~.
  • When you have captured all 26 frames, the camera will once more be pointing to the nadir point (generally the ground). Click Done to return the camera to the start position.
  • If you are satisfied with your frame captures, click Release Camera on the HUD to free the camera back to default control.

Producing your Image

Once you have taken your shots in-world, you need to “stitch” them together to produce your final image. There are several software tools you can use for this. My preferred choice is the Hugin Panorama Stitcher available through Sourceforge.net, as I’ve found it to be fast and efficient.

With Hugin installed and launched, proceed as follows:

  • In the Assistant tab, click on Load Images… Navigate to where your images are locally saved and select all 26 in the set, then click Open.
Loading and aligning your images in Hugin
Loading and aligning your images in Hugin
  • The Camera and Lens Data dialogue box is displayed. Enter 90 in the HFOV field and click OK. You images will load in the editing panel.
  • Once your images are loaded, use the Align button to arrange them. This may take a few minutes, just keep an eye on the processing window that opens.
  • When Align has completed, click on the Move/Drag tab and click Straighten. If your shots are displayed upside down, enter 180 in the Roll text box and click Apply to flick them the right way up.
Straighten and correct inverted image, if required
Straighten and correct an inverted image (if required)
  • Click on the Crop tab in Hugin and adjust the values to ensure your entire images is selected – set Left and Top to 0; Right and Bottom to 9999 – note the latter two will snap to the maximum size of your image.
  • Click on the Assistant tab once more and click Create Panorama. A dialogue box will open:
    • Set the image format to JPG and set the quality to 100%
    • Click OK to run the output process.
  • You’ll be asked to give a file name for the Hugin .PTO batch process file and the rendered image file. Enter a name for both, confirming each in turn.
  • Image processing will start, and could take several minutes.

Once completed, you’ll have an image ready to upload to Facebook, VRchive, Flickr, etc.

Do be aware that Hugin can be sensitive in handling images, particularly those with poor contrast / brightness, or which feature a lot of water, and this can lead to problems during the alignment process or in production of the finished image.

Continue reading “VR Photosphere: a further Second Life 360 photo HUD”