Guide to panoramic photography
Généralités sur la panoramic photography Stitching a panorama Create a virtual tour Reviews equipment and software Links, books, DVD, VOD

shim
14/14
Shim
Updated on December 16, 2016

Which software to make a virtual tour ?

We're getting close to the end! Once the panorama stitched, you only have to open it in Panotour Pro or any other virtual tour software set it in motion and create interactions...

When the 360° panorama is stitched, it takes the form of a rectangular image with a 1/2 ratio embracing 180 ° × 360 ° if you shot the complete sphere. What can do more can do less, so that was our take on things in this guide. We'll now see how to turn this flat and distorted panorama into a nice virtual tour distortions-free. For that, we'll have to choose several important options but above all, we'll need virtual tour software. The most famous is Panotour Pro by Kolor.

 

Schéma du parcours d'un panorama juste qu'à la visite virtuelle...

Complete virtual tour of the hotel and restaurant Bernard Loiseau at Saulieu, in Bourgogne (made with PanoTour Pro 1.8). www.bernardloiseau.com Suivre

 

A virtual tour is thus a special panorama since it's on 360° × 180° in the best case, in a window of your browser or in full screen, with which you can interact with your mouse. You can zoom in and out, go in all directions, click links, go from one room to another, etc. thanks to a set of buttons visible at the bottom of the window as you can see above.

 

The key points if you're a beginner...

Here are the key points to remember about virtual tour creation. The rest of this page is aimed at those who want to learn more.

The major problem of virtual tour until then was cross-browser compatibility (Internet, tablets, smartphones). There are two ways to proceed indeed: in Flash, the past and in HTML 5, the close future. The brand new version of PanoTour Pro 2 by Kolor (since February 2014) is now cross-browser.

QuickTime is dead or almost for virtual tours and Java will be progressively replaced by HTML 5.

Depending on what virtual tour creation piece of software you'll choose, you won't necessarily be compatible with all browsers. With the new V2 version of Panotour Pro (since February 2014), the issue is now solved because it generates HTML 5!

Go back to contents page suivre

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Extensions and viewers

C'est eux qui vont déterminer l'ensemble des appareils compatibles ainsi que l'ensemble des fonctionnalités disponibles. Commençons par un peu d'histoire....

Un peu d'histoire des extensions et autres viewers...

Il existait, avant 2015, trois extensions principales donc trois viewers principaux, intégrés aux différents navigateurs Internet, pour visualiser ces visites virtuelles : Flash - Flash player d'Adobe -, Java - Java - et Quicktime - Apple -. Donc à partir de la même photo, il était possible d'obtenir trois ou quatre visites virtuelles "différentes". Ces différences se faisant au niveau des possibilités propres à chaque format. Un exemple : en format compatible Iphone/Ipad, il est primordial de fournir une image sphérique complète sinon cela ne fonctionne pas...

Le choix de l'extension était donc primordial jusqu'à l'année dernière. Telle extension pouvait, en effet, être incompatible avec tel navigateur ou tel support (smartphones par exemple). Il fallait donc sélectionner son public... ou générer plusieurs visites avec plusieurs format...


Flash - Flash

C'était l'extension la plus courante et la plus puissante. Il semble que 2015 marque la fin de cette extension. On pouvait cependant tout faire avec elle ! Elle était légère et ne nécessitait pas de visualiseur lourd à télécharger. Presque tous les ordinateurs du monde, MAC, PC, LINUX, étaient compatibles et avaient ce viewer d'installé par défaut. Elle était universelle jusqu'à l'arrivée des smartphones et tablettes, incompatibles malheureusement, soit pour des contraintes techniques soit par choix (Apple ne souhaite pas de Flash dans ses iBidulles !). Aucun défaut pour l'utilisateur mais visiblement plus pour les développeurs ou les techniciens. A été remplacé par le html 5, ci-dessous.

Icône Java - Java

La plus ancienne extension est elle pratiquement universelle. Il est possible aujourd'hui de faire des visites virtuelles en Javascript compatibles smartphones et tablettes, même les célèbres Iphone et Ipad d'Apple. Mais surtout, elle est très légère puisque qu'un viewer Java est toujours très léger ( moins de 200Ko). Elle a beaucoup évolué avec le temps. Elle non plus n'a pas beaucoup de défauts.

Quand un appareil est compatible Flash et Java, cela est totalement indifférent pour l'utilisateur. On pourrait donc être tenté de créer toutes ces visites dans ce format mais alors, dans Panotour Pro par exemple, cela devient incompatible avec les panoramas non sphérique complet (180x360°). Il y a toujours quelque chose !!!


Icône QTVR - Quicktime VR

La plus vieille des extensions d'Apple dans le monde de la réalité virtuelle n'est cependant plus la plus pratique. Pour voir une visite virtuelle en QTVR, il faut absolument installer le player Quicktime d'Apple sur son ordinateur et il pèse 20 Mo. C'est un frein incontestable à son développement. Aujourd'hui, cette extension ne semble plus d'actualité pour créer et visualiser des visites virtuelles.

Et maintenant...

Le nouveau html 5 a mis tout le monde d'accord par sa compatibilité tous supports et ses possibilités.

Icône HTML 5 - HTML 5

Ce nouveau format, a donc supplanté les autres extensions car il est compatible avec tous les navigateurs d'ordinateurs, de smartphones, de tablettes et davantage ! Panotour 2.0 et suivant l'utilise. Avec ce logiciel il est maintenant possible de créer des visites virtuelles compatibles avec tous les supports.



A few viewers...

  Company MAC PC LINUX IOS Android
Flash
Yes
Yes
Yes
No
Partial (3)
Java
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
Html 5
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
 
QTVR
Yes
Partial (1)
Partial (2)
Yes
No

(1) : 32 bits only.
(2) : depends on the browser and the plugins downloaded.
(3) : to watch videos only and depends on the Android version.

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Virtual tour softwares

Less numerous than stitching pieces of software, virtual tour creation pieces of software evolve very quickly at the moment. Even if Pano2VR is of surprising value for money, the two references are Panotour / Panotour Pro and Tourweaver.

Caution! The price of the software will determine two very important points:

The possibility (or not) to integrate numerous multimedia interactive elements such as sound, photos but above all, videos, which are what makes a virtual tour worth watching. Check the possibilities before making a choice...
The size of the virtual tour, up to gigapixel.


A few virtual tour creation pieces of software...

  Editor Flash / Java / IOS Possibilities Price €
  Panotour 2.5 Kolor
Html 5
***
€100
  Panotour Pro 2.5 Kolor
Html 5
******
€400
  Livepano - Ext. Kolor Video in virtual tour - €200
 
Pano2VR 5.0
Yes - Yes - Yes
****
€99
  Pano2VR Pro 5.0 GardenGnome Yes - Yes - Yes ****** €299
 
Cubic Converter
ND
QTVR - No - QTVR
**
€40
 
Tourweaver 7.0
Oui Oui - Oui (2)
****
€200
 
Tourweaver 7.0 Pro
Yes - Yes - Yes (2)
*****
€700

(1) : Price of the full version: PRO + Krpano licences to unlock maximum size.
(2) : Compatible IOS with MAC version of Tourweaver Mac Starter.
(3) : Compatible IOS only with complete spherical panoramas.


Pointilles

Panotour / Pro

Panotour 2.5 - Kolor/GoPro

Logo Mac
Logo Windows
Logo Linux

I'll take the risk: now best virtual tour creation software on the market but it is a simply version of Panotour Pro! The company Kolor did a huge job for two years. The range of possibilities of this new V2 version is such that I won't be able to write my tutorial. I just uploaded 7 video tutorials (3h00 of free videos in french!). I love it...
The Pro version + Krpano licence can handle gigapixels.

€99.00 | Learn more Suivre

4 étoiles
Tutorial Panotour Pro 2.0
|
Download the software |
Buy from Kolor Store
*

Pointilles

Panotour / Pro

Panotour Pro 2.5 - Kolor/GoPro

Logo Mac
Logo Windows
Logo Linux

I'll take the risk: now best virtual tour creation software on the market! The company Kolor did a huge job for two years. The range of possibilities of this new V2 version is such that I won't be able to write my tutorial. I just uploaded 7 video tutorials (3h00 of free videos!). I love it...
The Pro version + Krpano licence can handle gigapixels.

€399.00 | Learn more Suivre

5 étoiles
Tutorial Panotour Pro 2.0
|
Download the software | Buy this software by Kolor Store
*

* Download and buy Panotour from my links to contribute to the being free of this site. Thanks!

Pointilles

Pano2VR

Pano2VR & Pro 5.0

Logo Mac
Logo Windows
Logo Linux

I used Pano2VR for a long time. It is compatible with MAC, PC, LINUX and available in several languages. The new version 5 is a great update. I will try it soon...

€99.00 / €299.00 | Learn more Suivre

4,5 stars
Download the software

Pointilles

Tourweaver 6

Tourweaver 7.0 / Mac starter

Logo Mac
Logo Windows

Available in several languages, compatible with MAC and PC, Tourweaver is among key virtual tour creation software for a long time. Multimedia integration possibilities are wide. It is always evolving to take technical advances into account. Very good software.

From €199 to 599 / $270 to 810 | Learn moreSuivre

4 étoiles
Download the software

Pointilles


Cubic Converter

Cubic Converter
Logo Mac

This software, quite old, is almost only used by virtual tour pioneers who use it for a long time. If you're a beginner, choose other software, even on MAC. Update: it is not officially available online anymore.

€40 / $54 | Learn moreSuivre

3 étoiles
Télécharger le logiciel
 

Pointilles

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The process

Here again, it is very simple even if each software has its own virtual tour creation process. However and unlike stitching software, the work in virtual tour creation software can take much longer. As an example, I spent over 45 minutes generating a virtual tour from 15 panoramas in Panotour Pro 1.8. I could have taken way longer in Panotour Pro 2.5. But schematically, the steps can be summed up as follows:

  • Interface de Panotour ProOpen all the panoramas you want to integrate to the visit in the software;
  • For each panorama, indicate the point of view, the default angle, the maximum zoom-in and zoom-out;
  • For each panorama, check if you want the whole image or perform a partial reframing of a less interesting part.
  • Then create hotspots, in the form of sound, photos, html, links to another panorama, flare, videos, geolocalization, etc.
    Caution! Multimedia elements that can be integrated in the virtual tour depend on the version you'll buy.

  • Then, you'll customize the whole virtual tour: choice of the buttons, the overall sound, Google Maps, radars, maps, miniatures, etc.
  • Choose more down-to-earth and technical parameters such as the compression rate;
  • Choose output settings: Flash or Java? Incorporated files or not?
  • The software will then generate the virtual tour and its files and you'll then only have to integrate to a website...

Saving the file

Then, you can save your virtual tour in the folder you want. Format, as for itself, is important regarding browser compatibilities:

  • HTML 5 - New! - Panotour Pro 2 is now able to generate virtual tours compatible with all devices.
  • Flash or Java - very important - The only but important defect of Flash today is not to be compatible with new mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. However, a virtual tour compatible with an iPhone for instance can be viewed in any browser. It has a few limitations that should be fixed soon however... Flash enables, anyway, any boldness... Compatibility, always compatibility!!!
  • XML - For people who are familiar with these kinds of files, the possibility to edit them enables to customize the virtual tour even more. For advanced users!
  • Compatible with gigapixel virtual tours - There's nothing special to do if your software can manage it but you need to anticipate the space it will take on your hard drive, where the virtual tour and its files will be saved.


Example (videos in french...)


Create a virtual tour with Panotour / Pro 2.5
suivre
  (7 video tutorials for a free training 2h45 long! In french)


So that's how this tutorial dedicated to the creation of a virtual tour ends - Back to contents... Suivre






     
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2016

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