Spherical Camera (CineRender)
Use this feature to create a rendering with a 360 view. The resulting image can be viewed as a navigable panorama picture in various media, such as YouTube, Facebook or Twitter.
The increasing number of virtual reality applications (VR) require new methods of creating image material for this purpose. The Spherical Camera setting renders the scene with a 360° view, which can be viewed with a VR headset or via 360° YouTube videos.
Note: Stereoscopic rendering is also possible. See also Stereo Rendering (CineRender).
The Spherical Camera is not restricted to VR. It can also be used to render HDR images, which are simply an all-round view of the scenery.
Since CineRender renders two-dimensional images, the all-round view has to be distorted accordingly so it fits into a rectangular bitmap. For this purpose, CineRender offers the most important projection types.
The resulting view provides a spherical perspective, similar to HDRI. The rendered picture is assigned a field-of-view (FOV) tag: either Equirectangular or Dome. These tags are recognized by certain imaging engines (e.g. built into YouTube, Facebook, QuickTime Viewer, etc.) which then produce the panorama.
Note: For information on uploading to YouTube, see: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6178631.
The camera should be positioned at or very near eye level. It’s often helpful to position the camera level in the direction of view and to set up the view without rotation (Roll Angle should be 0), to have a neutral angle of view from which to start.
Note that the projection only takes effect for rendering and will not be displayed in the 3D window.
Make sure that the image sizes are correct for output. Since the entire scenery (not just the normal camera view) is used to create a bitmap, the image resolution should go beyond what you usually use. The following formats should be used as reference for mono images. (When using Stereo Rendering, the respective side should be doubled, depending on the Stereo Layout being used):
•Lat-Long: 2:1, e.g. 2000x1000, 4000x2000
•Cube Map (Cross): 4:3, e.g., 2000:2667, 4000x3000
•Cube Map (3x2): 3:2, e.g., 2000x1333, 4000x2667
•Cube Map (String): 6:1, e.g., 2000x333, 4000x667
Spherical Camera Settings
Enable Spherical Camera
Check the Spherical Camera box at PhotoRendering Settings.
Use this setting to define which part of the scene the camera sees:
•Equirectangular: The entire spherical environment around the camera.
Note: For YouTube, the views have to be rendered with FOV set to Equirectangular, and with Mapping set to Lat-Long.
•Dome: Only the top hemisphere of the camera’s environment will be included (the bottom half will be rendered black). If you restrict the field of view further using the Min/Max settings, this will be displayed by the FOV.
If you imagine the scene around the camera, the entire environment must be projected onto a rectangular bitmap. Define the method by choosing from the following Mapping options:
•Lat-Long: Also known as equirectangular or latitude/longitude. The “texture” will be peeled off cylindrically, similar to how a world map is designed with a distortion-free “equator” and increasing distortion towards the poles.
•Various Cube projection types: The environment will be depicted through the camera along all object axes, as illustrated in the image below.
The Spherical camera lies at the center of the cube. It was then rendered using the respective Mapping type.
The Mapping type that is best suited for your needs depends on how the rendering will subsequently be used. Make your selection depending on the software with which the image will be edited. The most commonly used method is Lat-Long, which can also be used if you create an HDRI or a depiction of the scene for a spherical projection.
If the FOV is restricted further using Lat-Long Min/Max (see options below), the region to be rendered will be stretched so the entire bitmap is filled out. If this option is disabled, the FOV will only take up part of the bitmap and the rest will be depicted as monochromatic.
Use Full Range
If FOV is set to Equirectangular, check Use Full Range to use the entire all-around view. If you leave it unchecked, then only a portion will be used, based on the following settings:
•Long Min [-180..180°]
•Long Max [-180..180°]
•Lat Min [-90..90°]
•Lat Max [-90..90°]
Use these settings to restrict the FOV starting from the X axis (Lat Min/Max) or Equator (Long Min/Max).
If FOV is set to Dome, the Latitude setting can be used to define the dome section as a spherical element.