Create a realistic VR experience

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Photo by Sophia Sideri on Unsplash

Virtual reality headsets are getting increasingly popular for gaming, and with the worldwide pandemic restricting our ability to travel, this technique could even be an inexpensive and straightforward thanks to create virtual tours for tourist destinations.

Conventional 360° photography stitches together thousands of shots as you progress around one spot. However, it doesn’t retain depth perception, therefore the scene is distorted and therefore the images look flat.

Whilst state-of-the-art VR photography, which incorporates depth perception, is out there to professional photographers, it requires expensive equipment, also as time to process the thousands of photos needed to make a totally immersive VR environment.

Dr Christian Richardt and his team at CAMERA, the University of Bath’s motion capture research centre, have created a replacement sort of 360° VR photography accessible to amateur photographers called OmniPhotos.

This is a quick , easy and robust system that recreates top quality motion parallax, in order that because the VR user moves their head, the objects within the foreground move faster than the background.

This mimics how your eyes view the important world, creating a more immersive experience.

OmniPhotos are often captured quickly and simply employing a commercially available 360° video camera on a rotating selfie stick.

Using a 360° video camera also unlocks a significantly larger range of head motions.

OmniPhotos are built on an image-based representation, with optical flow and scene adaptive geometry reconstruction, which is customized for real time 360° VR rendering.

Dr Richardt and his team presented the new system at the international SIGGRAPH Asia conference on Sunday 13th December 2020.

He said: “Until now, VR photography that uses realistic motion parallax has been the preserve of professional VR photographers, using expensive equipment and requiring complex software and computing power to process the pictures .

“OmniPhotos simplifies this process in order that you’ll use it with a commercially available 360° camera that only costs a couple of hundred pounds.

“This exposes VR photography to an entire new set of applications, from estate agent’s virtual tours of homes to immersive VR journeys at remote tourist destinations. With the pandemic stopping many of us from travelling on holiday this year, this is often how of virtually visiting places that are currently inaccessible.”