3.2 Panorama Formats

A brief introduction to the most relevant panorama formats



Looks like an unwrapped world map

360˚ horizontal by 180˚ vertically with side ratio 2:1

This is what most 3D applications expect as input. We will create this format for our exercise

Equirectangular is also referred to as LatLong or Latitude Longitude


Cube Faces

The 6 cube faces can be mapped inside a cube to reproduce our environment

Cube Faces are great for retouching, i.e. paint out the tripod, as long as you leave the edge pixels untouched

Cube Faces are also referred to as Vertical Cross or Horizontal Cross


Mirror Ball

Looks like a mirror ball and it is one

This is what you get when shooting frontal at a mirror ball

The back side (Axis -Z) is there, it’s just not really visible as it’s around the edge

Because of the strong distortion, the back side (Axis -Z) will sacrifice quality to the point that it’s unusable for detailed reflections


Light Probe

Looks like a mirror ball with a very different distortion, more like a concave version

The back side (Axis -Z) is closer in frame and sacrifices less resolution, but still, it does lose quality

Light Probe is also referred to as Light Map