Convert a photo into a VR set
Typically when someone mentions augmented reality or virtual reality, they might be thinking about video games. It’s important to know that there are vast applications for AR and VR other than video games. In this case, we’re going to learn how to bring a photo to life through VR.
For this, we’ll use Photoshop, 3ds Max and Unity. Our final 3D photo will be suitable for something like Google VR, which is very accessible even to non-VR enthusiasts.
01. Choose the right photo
Not every photo is going to work well for a VR set. There are seven key factors that will help you choose the right photo. You want an image that:
- Has been taken from a standing or sitting position. Odd angles will make the viewer uncomfortable – remember, the viewer’s headset is the camera.
- Has flat surfaces. This will make finding vanishing points and the horizon line much easier.
- Doesn’t feature complicated geometry. While it is possible to create, it will quickly multiply the amount of work.
- Isn’t cropped. Notice how, in our image, the jet engine and the man can be seen entirely. A photo that has parts cropped will seem wrong to the viewer.
- Doesn’t feature reflections. This is mostly because phones have a limited amount of processing power and reflections will take up too much.
- Has minimal distortion. Most camera lenses create a small amount of distortion. This is easy to fix, but wide angle lenses create a lot of unnecessary work.
- Is larger than 2048×2048. This will reduce the amount blurriness of the final experience.
02. Find the vanishing points
Because we are recreating this photo in 3D space, we need to match the perspective of the original photo. Doing so will make the photo believable in VR and it will also get us on the right path to establishing approximate measurements for our 3d scene.
To begin, we need to remove any lens distortion. To do this, we can simply use the Lens Correction filter in Photoshop and adjust the Remove Distortion slider to make the necessary corrections.
Next, we need to find the vanishing points. Because most buildings are built to be square, we should use the floor and walls to draw out our perspective lines and find the vanishing points in the X and Y directions.
Save a copy of your photo with the vanishing points and perspective lines. We will use this to set up our camera later in 3ds Max using the Perspective Match utility.
03. Break the image into layers
Now it’s time to split the photo into layers. We’ll do that by utilising Layer Masks in Photoshop. This is the most time consuming part of this entire process because we have to separate elements into background, mid-ground, and foreground elements and then repair any image destruction created in the process. When recreating the background …read more
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