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Creating high fidelity 360° virtual reality with high dynamic range spherical panorama images

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This research explores the development of a novel method and apparatus for creating spherical panoramas enhanced with high dynamic range (HDR) for high fidelity Virtual Reality 360 degree (VR360) user experiences. A VR360 interactive panorama presentation using spherical panoramas can provide virtual interactivity and wider viewing coverage; with three degrees of freedom, users can look around in multiple directions within the VR360 experiences, gaining the sense of being in control of their own engagement. This degree of freedom is facilitated by the use of mobile displays or head-mount-devices. However, in terms of image reproduction, the exposure range can be a major difficulty in reproducing a high contrast real-world scene. Imaging variables caused by difficulties and obstacles can occur during the production process of spherical panorama facilitated with HDR. This may result in inaccurate image reproduction for location-based subjects, which will in turn result in a poor VR360 user experience. In this article we describe a HDR spherical panorama reproduction approach (workflow and best practice) which can shorten the production processes, and reduce imaging variables, and technical obstacles and issues to a minimum. This leads to improved photographic image reproduction with fewer visual abnormalities for VR360 experiences, which can be adaptable into a wide range of interactive design applications. We describe the process in detail and also report on a user study that shows the proposed approach creates images which viewers prefer, on the whole, to those created using more complicated HDR methods, or to those created without the use of HDR at all.
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Keywords: computational photography; extended reality; high dynamic range; interaction design; spherical panorama; user experience study; virtual reality

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: 000000008831109X University of Newcastle 2: 0000000107682743 University College Dublin 3: 0000000122961505 Universiti Teknologi Malaysia 4: 0000000093207537 The University of Queensland 5: 000000041798283X Universiti Tunku Abdul Rahman 6: 0000000403723343 The University of Auckland

Publication date: December 1, 2019

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  • Virtual Creativity (VCR) is an academic peer-reviewed journal focusing on creativity in online virtual worlds and other related platforms where the virtual is examined as a central theme in contemporary media art practices and applied contexts. Pieces exploring the subject of digital creativity are sought from the broad perspective of Art, Science and Technology, in what is a widespread field of discourse. One focus of the journal is an examination of creative activity in the metaverse - from art, design and architecture, to research and education, to play and entertainment. Additionally, Virtual Creativity seeks to engage with ways in which the virtual reflects upon the implications of the physical.
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