The folks at FlashPanoramas.com sell a utility for displaying spherical panoramas via the Flash Player. They’ve now updated their technology to take advantage of the new full-screen mode enabled in the latest rev of Player 9. Check out some very cool examples, or get the tool for €39.95 from their site. [Via]
Elsewhere, Greg Downing & co. at xRez.com are working on Extreme Resolution panoramic image creation. Check out this 3.8 gigapixel* spherical panorama of Half Dome, displayed via the Google Maps API.
Although the subject is nearly a mile from the camera position, you can zoom in and see a climber on the face of Half Dome, as well as someone standing on the visor & and hikers along the Merced river in the valley below.
Wicked! "By the way," Greg writes, "Photoshop large document format [PSB] was a lifesaver on this project!"
The xRez site shows off more examples and goes into plenty of technical geekery for those so inclined. Greg’s own site offers other interesting bits on HDR panoramas, and this QuickTime slideshow nicely demonstrates how various elements of a scene can be displayed at different exposures. (Aside: Is that thing a naval mine or an interrogation droid or…?) A test render of 3D objects lit with an HDR lighting map shows the power of sampling this data from a scene, then feeding it into a 3D rendering package.
*According to Wikipedia, a single gigapixel contains 250 times the data captured by a 4MP sensor. (Of course, at any given moment Wikipedia might claim that I personally have invented over 350 uses for the peanut–but I think it can be trusted in this case.)