There are many virtual tour software, but this is without a doubt the most amazing one I’ve seen. It’s called Cupix and with it, you can create a 3D virtual tour similar to Matterport using nothing but your 360 camera, and you can do it automatically! Check out this video demo:
A typical 360 virtual tour is usually divided into rooms. Clicking on a room allows you to see a 360 view of that particular room. You then click on another room to go to the new room. By contrast, a 3D virtual tour is designed to enable you to move around within the room or even between rooms.
The most well known example is probably Matterport, which uses a depth-sensing camera to scan the room and create a volumetric 3D map. To use the Matterport camera, you create several 360 scans of each room. You then upload the scans to Matterport’s cloud service which will combine the individual scans to create a 3D map of the room. It’s really amazing but their camera costs $3,995 (as of October 2017), on top of subscription fees of $49 to $149 per month. There’s also a $19 processing fee per 3D space.
Cupix creates a 3D map similar to Matterport but with some important differences: first, instead of using a depth-sensing camera, it uses ordinary off-the-shelf 360 cameras that can cost less than $150. Second, because each point in the map can be taken instantly (instead of taking several seconds to scan), it’s much faster. Matterport takes about 45 minutes to shoot 1,000 square feet of space. Cupix takes only about 10 minutes per 1,000 square feet.
How to capture a 3D space with Cupix
To capture a space on Cupix, you simply take a 360 photo every few feet (about 4 feet or so). Tip: your workflow will be much faster if you use a 360 camera with in-camera photo stitching such as the Ricoh Theta S or Theta SC.
When you’re done taking the photos, simply upload them into the cloud for processing. There’s no need to tell the software where you took each photo. Instead, Cupix’s powerful computers use computer vision to analyze your 360 photos and use them to generate a 3D map.
When the map is ready, you’ll get an email. From there, you can edit the tour by adding 3D text or 3D photo frames for example. You can then embed the virtual tour, with custom watermarks and other options.
Here is a sample 3D space virtual tour created in Cupix.
Benefits of a 3D virtual tour
Besides being more immersive, there are several practical benefits for a 3D virtual tour. If you create a virtual object such as 3D text, you only have to do it once, and it will be seen in all the photos where that portion of the room is visible, with the correct perspective.
Another feature of Cupix is measurement. If you have an object with a known length, such as a doorway, you can specify the length of that object in Cupix and Cupix will be able to measure the rest of the space. For example, you could use a virtual ruler to find out how wide is a hallway to see if something would fit within it.
The most important benefit is better engagement. For example, in one case study, a hotel had a 25% higher conversion rate.
How to get Cupix
Amazingly, Cupix is available for free during its beta phase! You can simply sign up at Cupix. Also, please join the Virtual Tour Photographers Network on Facebook so we can share techniques and business opportunities. In the meantime, here is another sample 3D virtual tour: