Showing posts with label Hugin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hugin. Show all posts

How To Use The Free Rooms Templates

As part of the celebrations for Second Life's 19th birthday, exhibitors were able to offer gifts to visitors, and whilst I had some windchimes to give away, I wasn't able to complete in time the gift I originally intended to offer. Not to be deterred, the gift of a copy of the build that formed my exhibit is now available.

To be clear, what is available is the build of the rooms themselves, rather than the content. I've called them templates because they are effectively blank canvases for anyone to use to create their own unique builds, as well as their own unique 360 degree imagery. 
Grab your Free copy of the Rooms Templates from the Marketplace here.

What Are The Rooms Templates? 


'Rooms' is a project I've been working on for a while, and consists of three rooms contained inside a black cube. Each room interlocks with the next with the intention of making the viewer/visitor question the space they're in, and by extention the nature of 3D virtual space. This 360 panorama is the end result.

The starting point for the project was to create something that would make 360 degree panoramas in Second Life that had an unexpected feel. The possibility that the rooms might be an interesting place to visit and interect with developed from this.

From that point it also occured to me that since everyone's imagination works in different ways then everyone would construct something different using these rooms. For instance, take a look at this 360 panorama and how it uses space in a similar way, but looks very different. The idea therefore came to be to offer the rooms as templates for people to develop in any direction their creativity took them, in the hope they would create their own amazing 360 degree panoramas, and possibly allow others to visit their builds in Second Life.

To find out more about Rooms at SL19B, take a look this blog post.

What Is Included With The Rooms Templates?

When you recieve this item from the Second Life Marketplace it will contain:
  • Land Footprint
  • Rooms Template Rezzer. This is the red box with an arrow on top. This will rez the rooms with windows and views outside of them.
  • Rooms Template Rezzer No Windows. This is the orange box with an arrow on top. This will rez a version of the rooms that has no windows.
  • Rooms Buttons a. These buttons control the views outside the middle room.
  • Rooms Buttons b. These buttons control the views outside the lower room.
  • Rooms Buttons c. These buttons control the views outside the upper room.
The idea of having two versions of the room templates is to add more options for what can be created with them.

Both versions of the rooms are big. The version with windows has a footprint of about 30m x 24m, (and a prim count of 43), whilst the other is around 24m x 23m (with a prim count of 27). Because of this large size, and to help with placement on a parcel, a footprint object has been included, as can be seen above. The purple area shows the footprint of the smaller template, whilst both the purple and green areas together show the footprint of the template with windows.

As well as being important in positioning the rooms in relation to a land parcel, the footprint object is also used to accurately rez the rooms at height, as we'll see in a moment.

Rez Boxes

The footprint object includes a red square with an arrow, and an orange square with an arrow.

Place the red rezzer box on top of the red square so both arrows are aligned. Now the rooms with windows will rez exactly where the footprint is.

Placing the orange rezzer box over the orange square of the footprint and making sure both arrows are aligned will ensure the rooms without windows will rez precisely over the purple area of the footprint.

Using The Rezz Boxes

Although the rooms can be rezzed on the ground, they are intended as skyboxes. To rez one of the rooms templates, follow these simple steps.

1/ Rez the footprint object on the ground and place it where you want the rooms to be placed. Get close to the grey box and sit on it.

2/ Right click on the footprint object  and from the menu click Edit, so the Edit Window opens. Make the Object tab the active tab.

The area highlighted in red in the Edit Window is what we're interested in. We'll use it to edit the Z position of the footprint object. (For those that may not know Z is the up/down co-ordinate in virtual space, so we're about to change the height of the footprint object).

3/ Enter how high you want the rooms template to be from the ground. Here 1000 was added. When you're ready hit Enter on the keyboard, and the footprint object will be repositioned 1000m in the sky.
Because you sat on part of the footprint object you'll also be transported to 1000m in the sky.

Once the footprint object is in the sky you can stand up.

4/ Position one of the rez boxes over the corresponding coloured square on the footprint. Then left click on the rez box.

5/ This window will appear. To rez the rooms hit the Rezz button.

6/ The rooms are now rezzed. As you can see there aren't any textures on the walls or ceilings of the rooms (although there are floor textures). This is so you can start with the blank canvas that was mentioned earlier.
Its also important to note that you'll be standing in one of the rooms after they have rezzed. This is because there is no way in or out of the build, so being inside after rezzing means you can set a landmark and easily access the rooms.

7/ Left click the rez box again and this menu will appear. if you're happy with the position of the rooms, hit the Freeze button to remove the rez script from the rooms. 

If you want to remove the rooms, hit the Remove button.

8/ The rooms template is now rezzed, so you can delete the rez box as well as the footprint object. Remember to landmark a position within the rooms template so you can access it again.

Using the Window Buttons

The final items included with the room templates are the window buttons. There is a set for each room. The red button allows you to select the scene, and the blue button enables it to scroll.

Each set of buttons has a slightly different name. 'Rooms Buttons a' should be rezzed in the room you'll be standing in after removing the footprint and rez box. 'Rooms Buttons b' belongs in the lower room, and 'Rooms Buttons c' belongs in the upper room.

Unfortunately I could not include the scripts for the buttons and scenes with mod permissions because they're commerical scripts that I didn't create. If you'd like to use your own scenes, simply delete the scripts in the buttons and the scene viewer and add your own. I'll try to find a better option asap.

You're now ready to start using these rooms templates for your own creations. If you'd also like to use them to create 360 degree images, then these tutorials will be very useful. I should add that stitching images of the rooms into 360 panoramas can be tricky. Sometimes it works first time, other times there can be a lot of trial and error to get it right. The tutorials mentioned above suggest using a setting of between 60 - 90 for the HFOV in Hugin. In the case of the 360 panorama created from these rooms, 85 was used. In other panoramas, 100 was a good setting.

Wall Walker 

Once you've created your build using these templates, try exploring it with a wall walker. The above video is a little rough around the edges, but gives an idea of how the wall walker works.
There are a number of versions of wall walkers on the Marketplace, but they're all based on the original, which is open source. Therefore decide for yourself whether you want to pay for one or grab the freebie. 
The original wall walker comes with some unappealling walk, stand and run animations, but its easy to replace them with your own.
If you haven't seen a 360 degree panorama created using these rooms, take a look here, and then see what you can do with your new templates.

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Creating 360 Degree Panoramas For Second Life Part 1

Creating 360 degree panoramas in Second Life has developed side by side with the same trend in real world photography. The process involves taking 26 overlapping snapshots and 'stitching' them together using external software. To create a 360 degree panorama in Second Life you'll need a  hud that positions the camera for each of the 26 snapshots, and since the better panoramic camera huds come with comprehensive instructions, its not worth repeating them here (the process of creating the snapshots is in fact very easy). 

For the purposes of these tutorials we'll assume you've bought a hud either inworld or on the Marketplace and already have 26 snapshots to work with, so in part one of this short series we'll focus on how to use two different free apps to stitch Second Life images into a panoramic view. 

In Part Two we'll show how to add the necassary metadata to the panoramic image, how to preview the image before uploading it, how to upload it to Facebook, and then how to embed it on your blog.

    How To Stitch Second Life Images Into A Panoramic View

    There are plenty of software options for stitching images into a panoramic view, most of which are very costly. However there are a few free apps that will work very well for our purposes. The two we'll look at here are Hugin and Image Composite Editor, (don't let the fact ICE is made by Microsoft put you off). If you need to, click each image in turn to see full size.

    Creating A Panoramic Image With Hugin

    Hugin is free software dedicated to creating panoramic images and is the option most turn to first. By following a few simple procedures Hugin works extremelly well, although the process can be quite slow.

    1/ When you first start Hugin this is what you'll see. Hugin starts with the Assistant tab visible. Click the Load images button.

    2/ Navigate to the folder containing the 26 Second Life snapshots you took with the panorama camera hud. Click on the first image thumbnail, then holding down Shift on the keyboard click on the last. All thumbnails should now be selected. Hit Open to load the images.

    3/ The above window will open. Since Second Life snapshots naturally don't contain information from a camera the HFOV will need to be added manually. Its important to input the right number here for the panorama image to stitch correctly. Entering 90 seems to work well, although others say anything between 60 - 90 works. Adding 100 can also sometimes work with more stubborn panoramas.
    After entering the HFOV of choice, click OK.

    Theres a slight bug in Hugin which means that after hitting OK the window may open again. Simply enter 90 again and hit OK once more.

    4/ It may take a while for Hugin to load all the images, but once they're loaded they should look something similar to the above. Don't worry if the image is upside down as we'll see to that later. For now hit the Align button, highlighted in red.

    5/ A window similar to the above should open which will show Hugin working. This may take a while.

    6/ When the window closes the 26 snapshots should align themselves to form an image similar to the above. As with all stages in Hugin this can take a few minutes, so don't worry if it seems to hang. We now need to hit the Move/Drag tab, highlighted in red.

    7/ Under the Move/Drag tab we'll turn the image the correct way up by entering 180 in the Roll space then hitting Apply.

    8/ To get rid of the wavy horizon hit the Straighten button. The image should now look similar to the above. Hugin sometimes shows dark lines on the edges of the original snapshots , but these won't show in the exported panorama.

    9/ Back under the Assistant tab we're ready to export the panorama by hitting the Create panorama button.

    10/ This window will now open. Select the width for the exported panorama, and the height should be selected automatically. For the file format select JPEG, (apparently Facebook only accepts 360 degree panoramas in this format). Here the quality has been set to 100%. When you're ready hit OK.

    13/ This message will now show prompting you to save the project. Click OK, navigate to where you want to save the project and save it.

    14/ Now navigate to where you want to save the panoramic image, name it and hit Save.

    15/ Hugin will now look something like this as it works away stitching the images and finally exporting the panorama. This takes a number of minutes.

    16/ When Hugin has finally finished working this window will show the message 'Batch successfully completed' in the lower left.

    The image has now been exported from Hugin and is almost ready to be uploaded as a 360 degree view online. However, there may be some blemishes in the exported image that might need working on in Photoshop or Gimp. Turning a selection of images into panoramas is not always an entirely perfect process, but it does work well most of the time.

    Image Composite Editor

    Although Hugin is the most widely used free software for creating panoramic images there are one or two alternatives, and one we're about to use is Microsoft's Image Composite Editor (ICE for short). All panorama creating software have their strengths and weaknesses, and whilst this is the case with ICE it appears to work very well with Second Life images and is much quicker than Hugin, so its at least worth trying out.

    1/ When ICE is first opened you'll see something similar to the above, (its created by Microsoft and its free, so inevitably there's an advert incorporated into it). Click on New Panorama.

    2/ Navigate to where the images for the panorama are stored, click on the first then whilst holding down the Shift key click on the last image. All of the images should now be selected. Click on Open.

    3/ The images will be imported into ICE. Now hit the Stitch button.

    4/ Whilst ICE is working on the images you'll see a progress window similar to the above.

    5/ The images have now been stitched together. Hit the Export button.

    6/ To the right of the ICE window there are some settings for the exported image. Set the width for the panorama, then select JPEG as the file format. Here the quality of the JPEG is 100%. Now hit the Export to disk button under the Quality tab.

    7/ Navigate to where you want the panorama exported to, name it then hit Save. Your panorama has now been saved to your PC.

    As with Hugin there may be one or two blemishes that need working on in Photoshop or Gimp, but the process works very well, and tends to be speedier than Hugin.

    The 360 panorama above shows the image exported from ICE. Drag your mouse over it to see how it works. In the next tutorial we'll show how to add the metadata to the JPEG in order for website locations to display it as a 360 panorama. We'll also show how to view the image on your desktop before uploading it to the web, how to upload it to Facebook and how to embed it on your blog or website.
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