Falling Leaves: the Ardes blog

Virtual Reality creation just got a lot less expensive

Ray Drainville

One of ArDes’ specialities is the creation of virtual reality panoramas. But the major problem in producing virtual reality has been the problem of creating, or “stitching” photographs together: while theoretically you could take just two 180° fisheye images & stitch them together, you in fact couldn’t, because a company called Ipix in the US held the patent for stitching together fisheye images — and they didn’t license their patent to any other companies. You could only legally stitch together VR panoramas if you used their own software, which was frankly terrible — the results were awful & they insisted that they owned the rights to your images. Not a good way to do business. Ipix was known as “Ipox” in the vr community for these reasons.

So we all had to limp along with tedious & ridiculous workarounds to produce our panoramas from fisheye lenses — we’d have to take six fisheye images, convert them into wide-angle images (and thereby lose lots of information per image) and stitch them together. This was frustrating (to say the least) because the more photographs you have to take, the more work you’ll have stitching them together — clouds move & change ambient light, and correcting these effects takes up production time. And that costs our clients more.

Well, it looks like Ipix won’t be a problem for any of us any longer — they just filed for bankruptcy. Immediately, Realviz (makers of Stitcher) shipped an update that helps us make VR panoramas directly from — you guessed it — fisheye lenses. This is a boon for us, but even more so it’s a boon for our clients: the barrier-to-entry — the price of production — will now go way down.

Edit: Name changed from “Argument from Design” to “ArDes”