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The Basics of Web Design > QuickTime VR

QuickTime VR

With e-commerce being so important these days, chances are that sooner or later you’ll have a client who is interested in new ways of presenting his products online. Companies offering special plug-ins for the virtual presentation are numerous and some of these technologies are very promising (check out www.viewpoint.com). One of the best technologies, however, has been around for some time and is available on over 50 million browsers: Apple’s QuickTime. This means that there is a large audience already equipped to see a QuickTime VR movie—VR stands for virtual reality. These movies allow a 360-degree panoramic view of a location or the presentation of an object: dragging the mouse while clicking on the movie is enough to change the angle of view or zoom in/out and, if available, even link to different VR movies if the mouse is over a hot spot.

To create QuickTime VR movies, you can use Apple’s free QTVR Make Panorama 2, which you can download from www.apple.com/quicktime/developers/tools.html (only available for Mac). However, this tool has some limitations; for one, you can’t stitch several images together. This means that you must either already have a panorama shot (some special cameras can produce these), or you must stitch several shots together in Photoshop. This process is tedious, because you have to adjust the transparency in the Layers palette to align the overlapping areas. A more professional solution is Apple’s QuickTime VR Authoring Studio, which makes creating QuickTime VR movies a snap. If you need to make more than a couple QuickTime VR movies, it’s worth buying this program. Creating a QuickTime VR panorama movie using Photoshop and QTVR Make Panorama 2 can take between two and four hours; with QuickTime VR Authoring Studio, it can be done in less than 20 minutes.


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