360º photographs are becoming a popular digital medium of expression. These days, you see regular 2D printed pictures literally, everywhere. The PixPen of Timmy and his new puppy, Aldo, found at the bottom of his tenth birthday grab bag or huge flashing billboards in Times Square, NYC are clear indications that saturation is putting it mildly. Taking the time to think of the many other obscure places you have seen a picture, you would agree that photographs have become an integral part of our lives. It is how we document every aspect of the world we live in.
360 Degree View of Times Square, New York, NY
[Click and drag your mouse below to look around. Use your mouse wheel up and down, zoom in or out.]
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Today, capturing an image goes beyond “wide-angle” or “fish-eye”. you can not only capture what’s in front of you or wider but photographic advancements make it possible to not only capture a full three hundred and sixty degree still image but video as well.
Pioneering in Landscapes
Let us embark on a journey through time. Your memory or an artist’s rendition of the world are all you have to remember past events and loved ones. Now, close your eyes. Well not physically of course, then you won’t get through this article.
Picture a world without photographs. Drawings and paintings are the selfies and photobombs of the day. Only the elite and aristocratic community can afford the luxury of having a commissioned piece to hang above their fireplace.
About The Mona Lisa by Leonardo DaVinci
Leonardo was one of the first painters to use aerial perspective…the landscape becomes a wild and uninhabited space of rocks and water which stretches to the horizon, which Leonardo has cleverly drawn at the level of the sitter’s eyes
Although the art of Photography began in 1839, where photographs of beautiful landscapes from the likes of Ansel Adams, landscape impressions began centuries earlier, in paintings. In 1503, Leonardo DaVinci experimented with landscape perspectives in the backdrop of his most famous painting, The Mona Lisa. The chosen aerial perspective, distinguished his work from a traditional portraits of the time. DaVinci’s use of space created a larger than life portrayal of his subject. Her being the focal point of the painting through composition and positioning, the landscape in the background took on a life of its own. Many began incorporating, at the time, experimental points-of-view to highlight their work to increase their patron numbers.
Landscapes Wide Angle Paintings
Artists received many requests for portraits. They were opportunities for to hone their craft and experiment with various techniques of lights and shadows. Most notable paintings of family portraits or single subject paintings included elaborate backdrops that not only complimented the subject but showcased the artist’s skills to accurately represent their surroundings.
The artist, Thomas Gainsborough, wanted to paint landscapes. He hated “painting faces”, as he put it. Yet, in order to feed himself, he had to give other people what they wanted, which meant painting portraits.Joshua Kennon: The Story of Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, 22.2.2012
Thomas Gainsborough of Sudbury, Suffolk, England, gained notoriety for his portraits. His true passion, painting landscapes, put on hold to fill the demand of portraitures.
One of Gainsborough’s paintings of the newlywed Mr. and Mrs Andrews, fitted the couple juxtaposed by the hillside overlooking the “owned” lands of the Andrews family. The portrait highlights Gainsborough’s experimentation with light, shadows and perspective evoking an emotional tone of the portrait that is hints to a back story of all but a cordial marriage.
The Andrews and Carters’ union formed strategic business alliance of the two families, one of industry save love; “…you are essentially looking at Mr. and Mrs. Andrews, Inc.” – Kennon
Landscape artists focused on the wide view of a scene. They took you on a journey, immersing you, taking you on a virtual tour of the painted landscape. Their goal were to transport you to the very point they stood, giving you a small window into their perspective.
Though landscape paintings created a sense of wonder, it wasn’t until the late 1800s that they took on a new, fantastic term.
Panoramas Virtual Reality Paintings
Irish painter, Robert Barker, in 1792, first used the word “panorama”, from pan- “all” + Greek horama “sight, spectacle, to describe his paintings of Edinburgh, Scotland. These massive paintings made their way to England. The revolving cylinder surface, he invented, highlighted the 360º feature of the painting. The paintings hung in a building built specifically for them.
Many people across the country paid a premium to experience the 360 degree virtual effects. Upon the expiration of Barker’s patent in 1801, other buildings began construction and filled with paintings of exciting battles, fully detailed with emotional expressions on the faces of the soldiers. The sprawling city vistas and breathtaking landscapes filled panorama buildings across Europe and America.
Later, Panorama now described the art depicted on the rotunda walls. Cycloramas placed in the center of the panorama changed the way visitors viewed the installations. The platform in the center of the building affixed a rail or rope to discourage the patrons from getting too close. Along the Rotunda walls, directors placed rocks, live plants and dirt to add further realism to the presented paintings. Installed telescopes near the edge of the platform completed the illusion.
Louis Daguerre, known for daguerreotype studied panoramic painting and architecture. In 1821 he partnered with a Charles Bouton to present his art in a form to the theater, called diorama, modeled representations of a particular scene. It created three dimensional representations of a scene. He used various effects immerse the audience. Lighting, color, sounds and sensory effects, wind, water and heat. Daguerre’s passion to perfect the camera obscura technique of transfer led him to develop the daguerreotype, which led to the ability to capture images on metal, then paper.
Daguerre’s agent Miles Berry applied for a British patent just days before France declared the invention “free to the world”. Great Britain was thereby uniquely denied France’s free gift, and became the only country where the payment of license fees was required.Biographer
The ability to transfer what is seen to paper revolutionized the modern world. In 1841 purchased Daguerre’s patent then gave it to the public to use freely. There were an insurgence of photographs and experimental techniques of capturing the world. Capturing landscapes were common, due to the long exposure tie of 3 minutes to capture an image. Persons taking photographs were often propped up and held still using harnesses and restraints.
Wider and Wider View
Daguerreotype plates helped photographers to mimic panorama paintings. The process entailed taking several pictures and placing them next to each other. The cost per plat were rather expensive. Few panoramic pictures were taken in this manner.
In 1888 the invention of flexible film made the development process affordable to the masses. Many panoramic camera brands emerged to tempt the various skill levels of a budding photographer.
The Panoramic cameras were capable of taking a picture with up to 150º field of view. It wasn’t until 1906 Robert W. Wood invented an ultra wide angle lens based on how a fish’s perspective of the world, known as Snell’s Window. The lens produced a whopping 180º field of view. Images taken with a fish eye lens, however skewed edges of the photograph. Straight lines curved toward the edges, collecting in the middle of the picture. Practical impressionist uses were not viable, thus targeted a selected demographic of photography lovers.
360º Cameras Emerge
The year is 1958. The first Omnidirectional camera that used 35mm film was the Panorax Zi-A from Japan. The 360 degree field covers the entire sphere. The camera rotated, to capture the full 360º view. This paved the way for further development using 35mm film, cheaper and more accessible then large format film.
It wasn’t until the 1980’s when the 360º camera gained traction. The Globuscope 360 degree 35mm slr became popular among professionals. The Swiss Panoscope, Alpa Roto 70 and the Roundshot cameras comprised of electrically charged mechanics and timers that improved the overall functionality and picture quality of a photography..
Modern 360 Degree Cameras
Fast forward to 2019. Modern 360 degree cameras capture still images as well as live action video using two fish-eye lenses. Software is used to stitch the two images seamlessly, creating a 360 degree field of view.
Although a professional 360º Virtual Reality camera can cost upwards of $20,000 or more, camera manufactures produce consumer version costing well below $1,000.00. A beginner’s 360 degree camera can cost under $300 with near professional quality to share among friends and families on various platforms available online.
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Companion software stitches and prepare the image to view on your computer or mobile devices. These applications are aids to help you present your 360 degree image. invented the first 360 degree cameraThese photographs, if printed would look distorted, more so then that produced with a fish eye lens.
Is 360 Degree Photography Virtual Reality?
Virtual Reality or VR describes a computer simulated three dimensional environment that you can interact with. Special electronic equipment, a headset over your eyes, as well as gloves or clickable accessories that allow you to interact with the virtual world.
VR in its infancy compared to 360 Degree Photography. The technology has gain a spike in popularity due to video games, Architecture and training possibilities. Eventually, full body gear with touch and other sensory stimulation will undoubtedly create a more realistic experience. From 3D drawn and rendered fictitious worlds to forests and hills that are actually in our world all deliver on the full immersion for the user.
Virtual Reality Demo
The 360 degree experience creates a more passive immersive experience. Though the same hardware of virtual reality can also be used to view 360 degree images and video, it’s a passive experience. The view can physically look or point in the direction and click on an item, you are taken to another image or video where your field of view is limited to the perspective of the stationary camera used to document what you are viewing. You are limited to just looking around, remaining stationary.
Where Do 360 Photography Go From Here?
The 360 degree camera industry are focusing on immersing the viewer. The bundled software, stitches the image into a globe that surrounds the position of the camera so the viewer appears to be immersed in a 3D world.
To attract the more casual photographer, several companies have manufactured mobile phone attachment cameras for straightforward 360 photographs to share on the web and mobile apps and phones.
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Mobile 360 degree camera attachment, compliment the existing camera on your mobile phone. In 1997 the Essential 360 Camera designed by Android co-founder Andy Rubin easily attached to the phone to capture 360 degree photographs. The Darling, labeled as the first 360 degree mobile phone has a built-in 360 degree camera. Manufactured by a mobile phone company based in Shenzhen, China. There are more phones of similar type are scheduled for release later this year and beyond.
360 degree photographs are slowly becoming widely accepted. Societies around the world have accepted some form of digital photography. The massive growth of mobile devices have turned the average smartphone holder into a novice photographer.
The avenues available, through social media and other digital mediums and have your captured images transport around the world and back. As technology progresses, more software and hardware will become even more accessible. Looking back to the heart of where it all comes from have given and new appreciation for the pain points solved as time progressed.
About the Author: Nathaniel Ibleized is a contributing writer at 360CameraTrends.com. He is a Creative Writer who enjoys writing about his passions.