KRPano Tutorial: How to Create a Panorama or Virtual Tour with krpano
What krpano is and what it does
KRPano is both a set of lightweight yet powerful tools which you can use to prepare an equirectangular image or create virtual tours with and also a panoramic image and virtual tour viewer. Its output can be in either flash or HTML5 format for viewing in the KRPano viewer or for usage inside a browser. The latest version of KRPano includes support for your projects in webvr 1.1 so that a user can access your tours with a head-mounted display directly in the browser.
Download and prime the software
If you have never used KRPano you can download the trial version from https://krpano.com/download/ for either Windows, Mac or Linux. The trial version adds watermarks to your images but aside from that, it includes all the features and abilities of the registered version so that you can try it out fully and decide if it is something you wish to purchase.
KrPano's features and tools
Due to its XML-based configuration, KRPano is extremely customizable. Its variables within the program can be edited through using the XML scripts. KRPano holds a default set of navigation images which you may customize or create your own versions of. If you wish to customize the icons used within your virtual tour, return to the folder where your XML document for the tour is on your computer and you will notice a folder called ‘skins’. If you go into this folder and open up the images one by one in your chosen editing program you can edit or replace the images. Save your new images with the original filename and when you open your tour again, your new images will be the skin implemented on the icons within your virtual tour. Customizing these images is a great way to individualize and professionalize your virtual tour.
KRPano supports different panoramic formats such as cube and cube stripe images, cylindrical panoramas, partial panoramas, flash images spherical panoramas, panoramic videos, QTVR Video files (.mov format) and object movies or multi-frame flat images. In addition to this, the program supports different 3D projections. The normal rectilinear projection, fisheye, stereographic fisheye, Panini and architectural projection. Each of these styles of projection can be manually configured and a transition effect implemented e.g. You could open each photosphere in a popcorn planet style view and have it transition to a normal rectilinear projection. The technical name for popcorn planet is stereographic fisheye projection.
KRPano Supports the following image formats: jpg/jpeg, tiff/tif/btf/tf8/bigtiff, psd/psb and kro.
The output from KRPano is platform agnostic, meaning it doesn’t matter what style of device or operating system is used to experience your content. Its VR capabilities are also impressive, with presets for viewing your work in various head-mounted displays and the ability to create your own presets.
You can use KRPano tools to transform your equirectangular image to a cubic form or from cubic to equirectangular form and have it automatically create various resolution versions of your images.
KRPano created content is created specifically to be consumed by the end user in a browser but you may also use the viewer with the tools to check your content.
KRPano also has the ability to cut your images up into small pieces known as ‘tiles’ so that the content loads quicker for the end user. Using this method you can implement very high resolution gigapixel images with little resource cost to your end user. Attempting to use a gigapixel image directly will result in so much RAM being used that the system will crash in most scenarios, resulting in a bad user experience and no more work for you. This method can be used by using the multi-resolution droplet.
It is possible for KRPano to encrypt your content so that if someone attempts to pirate your work it will just be a jumbled mess and unusable.
KRPano uses .bat files which it calls ‘droplets’ to process your images. These droplets are based in the command line so that they do not take up much in the way of system resources.
What you need to get started
This tutorial will assume usage of Gear VR as this ecosystem from Samsung includes the Samsung Gear 360 camera.
This tutorial will deal with creating a cubic panorama in the different ways KRPano allows and also the three different styles of virtual tour that KRPano can help you to generate.
To complete the tutorial you will require a set of images from a location with which you wish to create a virtual tour.
To begin to create your panorama or to create a tour is simply a case of dragging the image or image sets onto the droplet you wish and letting go of the mouse button. This will automatically start the .bat file processing your image(s).
To make KRPano start processing your panorama, simply drag your image(s) onto the desired droplet option:
Make Pano (MultiRes) – This shall create a cube based panoramic image with multiple different resolutions.
Make Pano (Normal) – This makes a single panorama the size of each cube is 2048*2048*2048 pixels by default. This method results in a panoramic image in cubic form which is presented to the user all at the same time and shall include a skin with default navigation buttons.
Make Pano (Flat) – This will create a cube based panorama out of flat images.
To make KRPano start processing your images into a virtual tour, you will only need to go through a simple process of highlighting all the images for your virtual tour and as before, dragging them onto the ‘droplet’ of choice. There are three .bat files for creating a tour included with KRPano:
‘Make VTour (MultiRes) – This makes a tour with multiple different resolutions.
‘Make VTour (Normal) – This makes a virtual tour ‘normally’.
‘Make VTour (VR Opt) – This makes a virtual tour with the ability to project your tour into a virtual reality headset.
Once you have dropped the files onto your droplet of choice, a terminal window will open and your images will be processed by KRPano. After this has completed, close the terminal window and in the folder where your original image set is you will find a new set of files and folders. You no longer require your original files so if you want you can move them to somewhere else or delete them.
If you now find the .xml file and drag that into the main KRPano window or click ‘Load p.xml and navigate to the .xml file and double click on it.
Once the tour is loaded you will be presented with the first image of your tour Rotate The image until you can see where you want your first Hotspot. Now click on the ‘add hotspot’ button and a new hotspot will appear. Drag the hot spot to where you want it to appear and then click on it you will be presented with what the program thinks is the best next photosphere in your virtual tour.
If KRPano has indeed chosen the correct next image for your tour, just click the ‘Save’ button on the left of the dialogue and repeat the process, if not, however, click on the image name and a window will pop up showing you all of the images in your tour so you may choose the correct image to traverse and click ‘Save’.
Repeat this process until you have worked your way through all the images in your tour.
Once complete it’s simply a matter of uploading the files to your host and integrating them with your website.
Now you’ve successfully created a virtual tour with krpano. Follow VeeR VR for VR tutorials to learn about panoramic photo stitching software, such as PTGui, Pano2VR, Hugin, etc. Any questions, just drop a comment below.
Dimona is a VR evangelist and spherical content creator based in London, UK. They have been experimenting within this arena since discovering VR as empathy machines whilst studying psychology at university. Dimona can be reached at Dimonauk@360camerasandfilm.co.uk or on social media by searching for dimonauk.