Status of the Panorama software niche

Discussion forum for Tawbaware's PTAssembler software, Helmut Dersch's Panorama Tools software and any other photography related software

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johnh
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by johnh » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:06 pm

To be quite clear, Pano2VR and KRPano are not plugins that display the stitched equirectangular image. They are generators that take the equirectangular image and create rectilinear square tiles together with code that is able to display the final image that's seen on your screen. There can be multiresolution tiles (sets of tiles at different resolutions) that can be downloaded as required by the level of zooming, so it's not necessary to download all the tiles - just the individual ones required to display the current view. Of course, there are viewers that can display the equirectangular image interactively on a local machine like the excellent FSPViewer.

John

Steerpike
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by Steerpike » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:47 pm

johnh wrote:To be quite clear, Pano2VR and KRPano are not plugins that display the stitched equirectangular image. They are generators that take the equirectangular image and create rectilinear square tiles together with code that is able to display the final image that's seen on your screen. There can be multiresolution tiles (sets of tiles at different resolutions) that can be downloaded as required by the level of zooming, so it's not necessary to download all the tiles - just the individual ones required to display the current view. Of course, there are viewers that can display the equirectangular image interactively on a local machine like the excellent FSPViewer.

John
I appreciate your efforts to clarify the situation, but I'm still struggling to understand. Bear with me if possible! "The code that is able to display the final image ...." is, presumably, code that goes onto the web server and gets downloaded to the client browser for actual use at the time of viewing. So is that not a 'plug in'? You are describing some nice functionality that sounds very functional and efficient, but regardless of the semantics, the final delivery to the casual web viewer of your work requires some 'extra stuff' in the browser, does it not, and isn't that a common requirement for all solutions? When I did this 10+ years ago, I loaded 'ptviewer.jar' on the webserver, and had something like 'code=ptviewer.class' in my html page, and the requirement back then was that the end user had java. Aren't all the current solutions variations on this theme (not java, of course)?

johnh
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by johnh » Wed Feb 15, 2017 6:41 pm

I was really just commenting on your statement "you must create your image, which requires you to stitch sources into an equirectangular projection; once you have that, you can then view it in a browser using a 'plug in' player". E.g. DevalVR (no longer being developed) is a plugin viewer that operates exactly like that. The user has to download and install the plugin into the browser, and many people just won't do that, as they are fearful of downloading anything! But having done that, the browser is then able to process and display the full equirectangular image file as is (with supporting java code). The advantage of Pano2VR and KRPano and similar generators is that the end user does not have to download and install anything special to display the panoramas. Moreover, the panorama image can be divided up into small tiles, loaded on demand, so the user doesn't have to wait for an entire gigabyte equirectangular image to be downloaded before the viewing of it can be started. QTVR is another browser plugin that enables .mov files to be processed and displayed interactively. But .mov files also contain cubic tiles rather than the raw equirectangular image. Browsers now seem to have "extensions" rather than "plugins". In what ways they might differ I have no idea!

John

Steerpike
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by Steerpike » Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:30 pm

It's awesome that with Pano2VR and KRPano, no plugins are required - that's exactly my goal.

Reading again your comment:
To be quite clear, Pano2VR and KRPano are not plugins that display the stitched equirectangular image. They are generators that take the equirectangular image and create rectilinear square tiles together with code that is able to display the final image that's seen on your screen. There can be multiresolution tiles (sets of tiles at different resolutions) that can be downloaded as required by the level of zooming, so it's not necessary to download all the tiles - just the individual ones required to display the current view.
What I'm trying to understand is, when (or where) do these actions take place. If we take the starting point as an existing equirectangular image, sitting on my PC as a big jpg file, then I presume there is a 'publish to web' step (part of the Pano2VR or KRPano toolset), and that step takes the equirectangular file and creates all these square tiles. This step is run on my PC. I then take those tiles, together with ... proprietary code provided by the vendor ? ... and upload the images+code to my web server. Presumably an html file is also created to drive the whole process. Then a visitor to the website 'invokes' this server-side code when they display the relevant page (reference the html file). The server side code delivers to the browser 'just enough' to satisfy the current view, and as the user moves around, additional data (images) are downloaded as needed. Is that a correct understanding? If so, what is the nature of this code that is running on the server, and will it run on any typical web server (eg, a web server provided as part of my standard hosting package) or are there some special hosting requirements?

UPDATE - found this informative page for Pano2VR - http://ggnome.com/wiki/HTML5_Output_(Pano2VR) . Extract:
TIP: If adding to a web server, make sure to copy over the XML, HTML, javascript player, javascript file for the skin, and the images folder (including the skin images folder if you made a separate folder for it).
So it seems it's all javascript and xml, which is pretty impressive.

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