With Google Camera you can create immersive photo spheres just like the ones you see when using Google Maps’ Street View function. Viewing a photo sphere is much like standing in the place the image was taken. You can pan left and right and up and down as if you were standing there looking around. The best part of these apps is how easy they are to use.
In this tutorial, you'll learn how to make a spherical image with your smartphone or tablet. You will need an Android device running Android 4.4 or later and the Google Camera app or an iOS device with the Google Street View app.
How to Make Photo Spheres on Android Devices
The first step in making photo spheres is to find a great place that you want to share. Once you're standing in this place, take out your device and open the Google Camera app. Swipe right and tap on the Photo Sphere icon. Now you're ready to begin making a photo sphere.
Hold your device vertically and close to your body. Adjust the angle of the camera so the blue dot is centered inside the framing circle. Hold the camera steady until a photo of the scene appears, letting you know it has been captured.
Then rotate yourself and your camera slowly, following the dots to capture the area you want to include. You will see photos appear on the screen and hear a tone when segment has been captured successfully. I find that it works best to keep the device as close to your face as possible, as if the device is rotating around a single point.
Once you've captured the area you want, tap the check-mark at the bottom of the screen. You're done. Your device will take some time to process the photos and create a sphere. When the processing is done, it'll appear in your device's gallery.
How to Make Photo Spheres on iOS Devices
Once you're standing in a good spot, open the Google Street View app on your iPhone. Tap the menu lines in the upper left and select Camera from the list.
Hold your device vertically and close to your body. Adjust the angle of the camera so the blue dot is centered inside the circle.
Hold the camera steady until a photo of the scene appears to let you know it has been captured. Then rotate yourself and your camera slowly, following the dots to capture the area you want to include. You will see photos appear on the screen when the segment has been captured successfully. I find that it works best to keep the device as close to your face as possible, as if the device is rotating around a single point.
Once you've captured the area you want, tap the Stop button at the bottom of the screen. You're done. Your device will take some time to process the photos and create a sphere. When the processing is done, it'll appear in your device's gallery.
The Google Street View app will only let you publish your photo sphere to Google Maps. To share the image in other ways, you will have to do it from the Photos app.
Tips and Tricks
Photo spheres work best outdoors where there are not a lot of complex things close to you, such as tree branches. It may be possible to create a well-connected photo sphere in a large indoor space but they won’t work well in an average-sized living room.
Things that move, such as people, cars and tree branches, can also cause problems. Sometimes you will see a blurred, partial object or a blur where things have moved or have not stitched up neatly. If this happens don’t worry, it is just part of the photo sphere experience.
It is possible to create a photo sphere with a person standing in it. You simply have to ask them to hold still until you are done capturing the portion that they are standing in. Once that portion is captured, they can relax or move. Make sure they don’t move into a section you are capturing or they may show up in the photo sphere more than once.
You don’t have to create a full sphere when you use the app. Instead, you can use it to create a stitched together image of part of a scene. Just capture that part you are interested in as an expanded photograph. This works great when your lens is just not wide enough to capture what you want.
Viewing and Sharing
Since these photos are spherical, they take some considerations when you want to view or share them with the full experience.
The simplest way to view your photo sphere is by using the device on which you took the photo sphere. There you can view it in one of your galleries. By tapping on the photo sphere icon in the center of the image, you'll jump immediately into the photo sphere viewing mode. In the viewing mode, you'll be able to pan and zoom across the image as if you were standing in front of the spot where it was taken.
By tapping on the compass needle icon in the lower left corner, you will be able to pan around the photo sphere by rotating and tilting the device much like you did when creating the photo sphere.
Viewing and sharing in Google+
If you want to share this image, tap the back button. From this screen you'll be able to see its share icon and you can share it using your favorite social service such as Google+. Once you share the photo sphere, anyone that is in your circle will be able to click on it and view it with the full 360° degree experience.
Viewing in Google Maps
The photo spheres that you create can be shared with Google Maps for every user to view and share. On your device, simply click the share icon and choose Google Maps. You will be asked to confirm that you want the photo shared publicly. Click the paper airplane icon to send the photo sphere to the map. Now your photo sphere can be viewed by everyone and shared with anyone by sending a link.
With these simple steps, you can create your own immersive photo spheres anytime you want by using your Android or iOS device and the Google Camera app. Photo spheres are fun to make and provide a unique photo experience for your viewers. Now you’re ready to share your work with all of your friends or the world.