360 Camera News and Info

Is this the future of virtual tours?

Is this 360 photo the future of virtual tours? I thought this was an impressive photo but it turns out that it wasn’t a photo at all.  It’s entirely computer generated.


Even after I read that it was actually created in 3D Studio, I hard a difficult time try to find flaws in it.  (Maybe the magazine on top of the table, which seems to lack shadows.)

Given that computers can generate photorealistic virtual tour images, will computers replace 360 cameras for photos?  Not for a while longer, I think.  First, most properties don’t have highly detailed 3D models.  Even buildings that were designed in CAD have 3D models that are too simple to be photorealistic.  Second, the time and cost of creating a photorealistic 3D model still greatly exceeds the cost of taking a 360 photo, even with a DSLR panorama.  For these reasons, I believe CG will not replace 360 cameras or DSLRs yet, even if they can’t be distinguished from real photos.

Here’s another image.  From the comments, it seems like it could also be CGI.  If this is CG, it is very interesting that it can emulate even chromatic aberrations and fringing.  What do you think?


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Mic Ty


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  • Impressive! I do agree, for most things this may not replace a 360 cam yet. But I can see it serve a purpose in more expensive real estate, and planned buildings that aren’t ready yet.

  • Yes, both images are CG. I worked with 3D Studio for a while, I do not know if that was used, but I have a trained eye. For the first image in addition to the newspaper on the table, also look at the led spot lights on the ceiling, and look at the brick wall, which is illuminated from above even if there seems to be led lights on all 4 sides of the “windows”. And if it were an external wall, why are there hanging pictures?
    On the second image also the ceiling light tells that we are in CG. Also, there are some textures that are “too big” for the surface in which are used. In the real world the texture would be much finer and more nuanced. For example, the large concrete column in the center.
    Anyway, great result on both the cases !

  • Thanks for sharing Mic. As well as 360 photography I also do 3D modelling(where Is started), VR and VFX. My first steps int VR were trying to create 360 renders (although not as good as these). They do look great and the bonus is you render them in 3D, so you can feel more immersed and get a realistic sense of scale (often 360 photos feel too big (due to the sensor I think). Yes, chromatic aberration and other effects are pretty easy to replicate – depending on artist skill. But they do take a long time to make and render. They will get faster as the artists gets more experience and builds a collection of 3D assets to re use. But its still time and labour expensive.

    360 photos are best – 3D scanning would be better in the near future. Fast and cheap.
    3D renders for non existing places. Beautiful, slow and expensive.
    VR – full interactive VR with a Game Engine, to be really immersed. Very slow and more expensive, graphics cane be really good on a powerful PC, still a little ‘gamey’. Also less accessible.

  • Come on, CGI has been producing realistic life-like environments of all kinds for years now! But good realistic CGI is expensive and doesn’t make sense if you have to represent something that already exists: do you really wnat to reinvent the wheel?