While working on the second stage of the Importing SketchUp/3D Max into Oblivion tutorial we got thinking about our panoramic spheres in 3D space.
Too date we have used the spheres to produce a sample high definition concept movie featuring 360 x 180 degree views of The Chapel of Peter and St Paul by Wren, Southwark Cathedral, The Painted Hall by Wren and St Giles in the Field, London.
You can download the movie here (80Mb, WMV).
Taking the concept further we have developed the Google Earth Panorama Viewer which takes images from Flickr or your hard drive and using a reversed face sphere allows you to ‘Step Inside’ buildings and scenes in Google Earth. The movie below highlights the idea and you can follow our tutorial to find out how to create your own:
Embedding Panoramic Spheres Inside Buildings
The same concept can be developed within the Oblivion Engine – again this is sample work while finding files to try out for the forthcoming second part of the tutorial. The movie below illustrates a panoramic ‘Step Inside’ sphere of the South Pacific Railroad in Oblivion:
Wikipedia describes the railway as -
“a 3 ft (914 mm) gauge narrow gauge steam railroad running between Santa Cruz, California and Alameda, with a ferry connection in Alameda to San Francisco. The railroad was created as the Santa Clara Valley Railroad, founded by local strawberry growers as a way to get their crops to market in San Francisco and provide an alternative to the Southern Pacific Railroad. In 1876, James Graham Fair, a Comstock Lode silver baron, bought the line. He extended the line into the Santa Cruz Mountains in order to capture the significant lumber traffic coming out of the redwood forests.
In 1887, the line was acquired by the Southern Pacific and the gauge standardized. In later years, the segment running between San Jose and Santa Cruz was used by SP’s “Suntan Special” which came down the San Francisco Peninsula and took passengers right to the beach and boardwalk in Santa Cruz. Service was disrupted by the 1906 Earthquake. The tracks through the Santa Cruz Mountains suffered major damage during a storm in the winter of 1940, and the line was abandoned the same year.”
The panorama was captured in High Dynamic Range giving it a slightly unreal look:
You can view the High Dynamic Range panorama (3.62Mb) in Quicktime Virtual Reality.
We are not sure to be honest if the concept works in Oblivion but it does give an intriguing sense of immersion in the virtual world…