360 video resolution?

So I stitched / rendered / drawn my 360 in biggest resolution I can. What resolution should I choose for viewing…
It seems the more you investigate the messier it gets. Most of online platforms will allow you to upload what you have and re encode the way they can distribute your video online.
Littlstar tells you -5gb limit and h264 for compression. More details
If you do stereo 360 – you have to contact them for further details.
Youtube is like… give me whatever ..
If you are planing to show your video on specific device with specific software (say gear vr using their player)
You will have to prepare the video in correct resolution, right bit rate and in correct encoder.

Today’s HMD’s have a limited screen resolution of:
PSVR: 1920×1080 (960×1080 per eye)
Vive: 2160×1200 (1080×1200 per eye)
Rift: 2160×1200 (1080×1200 per eye)
Gear VR: 2560×1440 (1280×1440 per eye)

But that’s the number of pixels they can show. Your image typically has to be much bigger. (these devices do not directly show rectangular images – due to lens distortion you (or software of hmd) has to distort the image opposite way of HMD’s lens distortion – so at the end you see an ok looking image.
To achieve this you have to have more pixels. Another thing is field of view. We create a equirectangular image that covers full sphere. But in HMD you see only a small portion of this image (at the time when you rotate your head you see another part of image).
So our big resolution we feed to HMD gets diminished quite a bit when we actually see it through HMD.
Then there is a whole other mess with codecs and their limitations.

So what is .. Recommended (?) / optimal (?) / max (?) output resolution for:

Platform                        Codec                            Resolution               FPS                  Avg. bit rate

Gear VR                         h.265                        3840×2160                            30         10 – 20Mbps
Cardboard       h.264 (Baseline, level 4.2)     3840×2160                     30         20 – 30Mbps
Cardb. iOS      h.264 (Baseline, level 3.1)       1920×1080                      30         10 – 14Mbps
Oculus Rift     h.265 / h.264                           4096×4096                        60         40 – 60Mbps

recommendations taken from here.
The next level of taking advantage of limited HMD resolution and squeezing more quality would be to do clever tricks like Chris Milk is doing.
The idea is to use images in part of your video. But this is a complicated witchcraft not for us mortals..  :)

And probably third level is building your own viewer. Ant that’s programing. so I stop here.

Someone should make a calculator: you input your eq resolution your hmd’s field of view and resolution per eye – and you get a final “on screen” resolution. anyone?

If you are not using dslr/ cg you need a true 360 cam. here is a list with specs:
More reading on these topics:

More thoughts from links:

The ideal format for gen 1 PC HMDs would be 4096×4096 @ 90 FPS, which roughly matches the angular resolution and refresh rate of CV1/Vive, but this can’t be achieved without H.265 Level 6.1 (which is itself impractical due to CPU load – no hardware acceleration for H.265 yet). H.265 Level 6.1 also would provide 5944×5944@60, which is ideal for Gear VR, but again, probably could not be decoded in real time on that device.

List of festivals, cinema theaters and platforms for cinematic VR

I found following festivals to submit your work. Add some more please!


Sundance NEXTFEST festival.August 7-9, Los Angeles, USA

Future of story telling FoST FEST. October 7-9, New York City, USA

Tribeca Film Festival. Article. April 13-24,

Kaleidoscope tour. ???

Vr Fest.  January 6-9, Las Vegas, USA

LICHTER Filmfest March 29 – 03 April , Frankfurt, DE


And this is a first entry for VR cinema in my list:

The Virtual Cinema Amsterdam, Netherlands EU. Oosterdokskade 5
1011 AD



Vrideo, Littlstar, Kolor, YouTube, Facebook,  Jaunt, 360s.tv, Wavrp, DiscoveryVr,


HMD related and other platforms:

Milk VR (Samsung gear VR), Oculus share, Steam VR, Vr CardboardUnimeriv, Vrapps, Wearvr, Vrcodex, SideloadVr, StoreVmr, Open source VR, V, Rift cat, Leap, Bowl roll,


Full Dome Festivals:

full dome festival, Jena, DE EU


If you have additions or corrections, let me know.

List of links that include thoughts on cinematic VR

So a list of links to podcasts, you tube videos and alike regarding various vr related things but all of them (i hope) have something related to cinematic vr, even though non of them are exclusively about it. So we have to pick relevant parts. But still for today the net is not over saturated with thoughts about vr techniques, therefore i’d say its good to see them all :)  Links are of no particular order.

Things you should know working with VR

So basically I care most about cinematic Vr. But it does help, IMO to to know basics, History, real time, rendering technology and all the rest.  Even though Vr is an old “thing” vr content used to be very scarce and closely connected to specific hardware- usually so called caves. Basically, for most of common people who are not lucky enough to be around in 70’s somewhere in usa, uk, de universities in mathematics engineering or it departments or military… well then for you Vr content is non existent :)

So there was some scientific research, but there was very little “artistic” stuff. And even though there where some artists doing installations but not so many so the common “language”of vr would emerge.

Now that we have so called second wave of VR, we have much more people trying to make content. Most do game related content – which makes sense- as soon as we have positional tracking we need real time 3d rendering. (unless again you are in research team that works with light fields or similar..)

Others yet go for real life filming or so called action footage. Animators are somewhat in between these two extremes, on one hand we are closer to video – cos we are used to make stories, aka “films” on the other hand we create stuff more then we capture from real life and  in that regard we are closer to game creators. Now ofcource all things overlap and there cannot be clear cut definitions and boundaries…

So people from the second wave are creating content for about 3 years now. And some share their knowledge and experience publicly. Here I gathered some material from youtube and other places. If you work on Vr content some of these might be relevant to you.  Now most of them fall either in 3d real time category or 360 video. But one can always find relevant information even if it is not exactly from your field – most things are connected. So here it goes, my link collection:

  1. what is vr? from Chaos group (makers of vray)
  2. Articles from WEIRD. 6 rools for VR cinematic content, where do you show your films / experiences ? vr / movie ? and more festivals are poping up, I ll have to make a list later..
  3. 5 lessons from “Lost”, oculus story studio. And another post from their blog   on Swayze Effect  ” Can you even tell stories in VR?  What if you can’t? What are we even doing? “
  4. Why do we care about locomotion in VR? The motion in VR from real time rendering perspective.. “Limbo” “Blink” “comfort mode
  5. general things: Different Different projects. Story telling in VR. New adventures for creativitySVVR
  6. techniques. Light fields, Octaine, Rendering optimization Pollen (Unity 5 engine).
  7. What does the Oculus say? The Carmack himself!  Optimization of your VR.  Developing for VR. Not so much technical but very important –  Human visual system and Vr. Sound for VR.


Some other good resources:

VFX VR boot camp. Example here. Digital tutors.  And the book.

Most of this was for real time Vr. Next update will be more towards cinematic VR.And one after that – books and academic thoughts on VR.


From my other blog III

So i decided to kill my other blog. ill post some of my old images ant texts here… (dec, feb 2013)


Something i have been working for way too long… new drawn panorama is slowly coming

After making my last drawn panorama I started a new one. actually i stared this one even before that, but at the time it was just a regular drawing that i decided to make as a panorama. That proved to be a mistake – I ended up needing to cover quite an area with doodles :) so its actually longer then a year that i am making this one pano. Obviously i don’t draw daily, its more like … monthly.. i got bored of it quite some time ago :) But only 2/6 of and area remains to be covered. so there is a light at the end of a tunnel … i think. Here Ill share 3 images.  it’ll be general view an a close up.

drawn panorama I / work in progress. general view
drawn panorama I / work in progress. general view
drawn panorama II / work in progress. general view
drawn panorama II / work in progress. general view
drawn panorama III / Work in progress. close up.

Finally I am done with this drawn panorama – all little things

So here it is, finally done. Its much bigger compared to my older attempts in making panoramas, so don’t forget to scroll for zooming in :) I started this illustration not thinking of panoramas, it was meant for something entirely else. Later on while drawing i thought why not to turn it in to panorama. I calculated the required size of an image way too late in a process, so i ended up with a huge image to fill up. one year later it was done. (naturally i didn’t draw it daily – i was bored of it quite a bit, so there where months of not drawing) for a bottom i used a collection of other small drawings and for a top i used one image that again was made for something entirely different. but here it is all stitched up.. So below you will find 3 fragments of panorama and clicking this link will actually take you to an interactive version.


making of “all little things” drawn panorama

And this is a little making of “all little things”.. while drawing this panorama from time to time i would set up my camera and would make some shots, here they are combined together for a little time laps “video”


sadly i didn’t continued shooting all the time, and didn’t maintained composition.


some more shots:


work in progress:


From my other blog II

So i decided to kill my other blog. ill post some of my old images ant texts here… (feb 2013)


hand made

For now its just loads of hands on a plane surface, but at the end that suppose to be a spherical panorama, that is if i manage to make it.


as you can see there are 3 peaces of paper in a picture, while in reality there are only two. the one on a left and right is the same picture moved and shot again, stitched in photoshop.

Here is a small update. more stitching and gluing done and we have another step towards all surrounding picture:


My second drawn panorama, this time lots of hands..

So, finally I am done. Done with the hands. for good. I hope…. :) I must admit I learned one or two things working on this piece, especially regarding anatomy of left hand. If you look hard you can find couple of right hands too but it was harder to draw sins I couldn’t just look at my hand for a reference and draw it at a same time :))) Actually you can find also one feet here and well two other things which will remain unnamed here :)


madness of hands

In general I can conclude that I am able to make spherical image. And this format is quite suited for such “mad” subjects as this one. The hard past is composition. Does it exist in interactive piece? how do you deal with it? These are the questions that are to be explored in next work. So we see how that goes :)

To see the interactive version just click on an image. After you are redirected to 360 cities website u click and drag (anywhere on a picture). To unleash the full madness left click and choose “little planet view” from a menu. then click and drag. have fun!

From my other blog I

So i decided to kill my other blog. ill post some of my old images ant texts here…


Drawn Panorama

So here it is, my first test of drawn pano. It wasn’t easy, but now I understand how things work. Next one will be much better :)
Sorry I have no ability to make it function directly in this blog post, so pardon me u have to click on image to actually see it.

Spherical panoramas are used by photographers to provide the viewers with the ability to move around the photograph rather than to view it from a fixed position. I used this technique for my drawings. drawn pano

Drawing animation for VR in 360

Long time no post – must be the number one starting sentence in blogs :)

Small animation test I did:

If you cannot see video directly (not logged in Facebook?) try looking here: http://littlstar.com/videos/3c44d6ae
So here I will share my techniques and mistakes – what i would do differently next time.


So I decided to try if it is possible to draw animation for VR. That means in equirectangular projection. Probably that’s incorrect statement – one could draw images on cube faces or other projections…

Still we are most familiar with equirectangular projection and cube faces would require to mach images in 6 separate pictures. Though this could be an approach if there are small objects to be drawn and they would remain quite stationary in frame. In this case we would get less distortion and it would be probably easier to draw.


First its always nice to have at least some sort of scenario, something for audience to care about. And that’s a first thing i will make sure i have for my next “film”. There was a plan in a beginning to add forth scene – the abstract one… but that was before i learned about problems of camera movement and other things about confusing people and making them vomit…

So the plan was, after our “viewer” drops “dead” in water he starts “hallucinating” and animation is shown in this manner:

deleted scene…

This gif file turned out not very representative of idea and of how i did it,… oh well .. still want to experiment with more “hardcore” / abstract imagery but .. well.. might be some other time. Mind you I have never seen my work on dk2 or even cardboard….


So I made most of my animation in 3D and rendered sort of a flat looking image that i afterwards processed a bit to make it look less “3D” like. Also I used cell shader to render outlines of my animated models and printed these that they would be hardly visible. That was for rotoscoping.

hardly visible for print
hardly visible for print
flat shading
flat shading


So in planing stage i have counted that i ll need to draw close to 1000 frames. And then there was a question how to scan it all? So i asked around in print shops and it was around 100 EU just for scanning. So i decided to try and buy a scanner for myself. There where not many options that i found in close by shops. Ebay was out of question cos sending costs would be prohibiting to me. So i found this weird brand i have never heard of – BROTHER. There was also a cheep RICO option and i don’t remember why i went for brother instead… might be cos it was A3 instead of A4.. BROTHER MFC – j6520DW has a automatic page feeder (around 30 pg) and can scan or print A3 pages. The scanner / printer is definitely a “budget” thing but it did the job. If you google this model you will find quite mixed comments about it. One has to be careful loading pages they turn out not as straight as i would like them to be, some seem to rotate couple of degrees and basically its impossible to use scanned images unless you stabilize the motion..


Ok so i am using automatic feeder which means each page is positioned not perfectly while scanning and i do get quite a bit of wobbling. First images I printed for drawing where a4 and covered most of pages width like this:

placement for print
placement for print

So not only that each frame was in slightly different position of previous page but in some cases i would lose parts of scanned image. So next time I will not print so close to borders. Even if pages will be rotating and moving I will not lose image. The green lines show point placement for image stabilization in After Effects.

Parts of image gone...
Parts of image gone…


For all or most of background images I drew around 7 frames only. Then I used script or expression in After Effects that would randomly load these 7 frames for required duration.

fr = 12; // frame rate;

numFrames = 8;


seg = Math.floor(time*fr);

f = Math.floor(random(numFrames));

for (i = 0; i < seg; i++)

f = (f + Math.floor(random(1,numFrames)))%numFrames;



The sound was another problem. I wanted to experiment with binaural sound… but i got so fed up with this animation that in the end i just added some sound effects from free sound library.. just not to be a silent film. So again sound changes your experience so much.. if there is a chance ill get a professional sound person next time…

What did I miss?


Photogrametry – reconstruction of public sculptures in Vilnius city.

So for some time now I am quite interested in this process called photogrametry. Basically its when you take some photos of an object from different viewpoints and a dedicated software tries to reconstruct 3D model out of these images. That takes practice. First you need to take pictures in a specific way, then you need a lot of ram on your computer and long time to wait :) Alternatively you can use some cloud based solutions that will compute a 3D model for you. Then you usually have to correct all the errors that software produced. In this case I was shooting public sculptures in Vilnius city. I have some more photographed, and I have covered probably like a third of city sculptures :) Here is a test with uncleaned geometry. Only sculptures far away where reduced so they have less polygons. The rendering process took some days. It is a 15000 px X 7500 px resolution equirectangular projection that i got using mental ray’s “wrap” shader. Click a link for interactive version of this panorama here.Image

Most popular software probably would be agisoft, 123D catch and recap.  You can find out more about photogrametry in this talk from autodesk. My personal observations and recommendations for shooting images intended to be used for photogrametry would be:

1. Always shoot raw files (no .jpg see what format your camera supports .nef .pef .dng) If you do so you can import your raw photos to lightroom or similar photo editing program and reduce highlights to the max also reduce (or bring out) shadows. So you get quite dull picture with less contrast then one would expect from a normal image. What you want to do is to get back details from all areas that are very light, so they become gray (usually) but contain more details. And shadows become less dark – you regain details in the shadows. You can experiment adding “details” in lightroom. its sort of local contrast / sharpening thing.

2. everything should be captured in focus. Use quite closed aperture to get more DOF. get to know your lens, find a hyperfocal distance if its a prime lens. I have never tried this for photogrametry, but when shooting very small objects one could try image staking in photoshop to get all in focus. Its under automate – stack images if remember correctly.

3. avoid sky. There is no information there, and even if there is its useless – if you have moving clouds for instance. And it messes up your exposure. Try using manual exposure. Again never tried this for photogrametry, but if your object has very different lighting conditions – say one side of building is in a shadow while the facade is in harsh sunlight you could try HDR photography. .

Try having as much as possible of background details. If you are shooting a small object, make sure its not on a single color table that has no color details in its surface. Use a newspaper with text for a backdrop.

which camera angles to choose? This info should be provided by the software you are using. Here are Agisoft’s tutorials.  In general you have to change the position of camera in each shot. also each shot should contain some parts of object that where visible in a previous shot. And get some extra ram! Image

and cook some popcorn on your frying CPU!

Here is a 3d Print of one of a sculptures:

zemaite sculpture
zemaite sculpture
vilnius city sculptures
sculptures rendered with no original materials

here are some links I found on the same topic that are worth reading! : The Art of Photogrammetry: Introduction to Software and Hardware

Here is a blog of some museum that deals with conservation and is using photogrametry: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum Research Center

Then there is Mark Florquin he is doing quite amassing things : Mark Florquin



Softimage. New end of the world :)

Not sure if this is worth a separate post, but sins I haven’t wrote here for months and months… here it goes :)


So here at CG chanel.com I have read that the softimages development team, which worked on a product for more then 10 years was moved to work on maya related projects. A new team of developers was assigned for Softimage. “Softimage development will now be carried out by a six-person team in Singapore, headed up by Senior Software Development Manager Chun-Pong Yu.” Strange thing is that I didn’t found any news on this on area or at xsi base pages… Is it a rumor? Anyone?


Also read about death of Softimage nr 1.

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