From Tiltbrush to 360 panorama


Introduction

Tilbrush by Google is an amazing artistic tool. Unfortunately, there is only one way to fully admire and enjoy the artwork. Viewer has to dive into Tiltbrush application ... which somehow limits your audience to HTC Vive owners only. Yes, there are ways to share your art via Sketchfab or through the 360 stereoscopic video on Youtube - if you have enough bandwidth and CPU power. So what if you want to consume such art on a mobile device? Here is a little hack which will allow you to export your creations as 360 panoramas and share them on Facebook in example.


Setting up your scene and exporting the 360 video

Before we start, make sure that you read the Tiltbrush release notes (link). The process of rendering the 360 images and movies is not really for dummies and requires bit of computer knowledge.

First of all, find a good spot in your Tiltbrush scene, set up the scale and save your Tilt sketch. After I’ve done that, I’ve renamed the file and copied it to new folder at C:\TILT. (This is just to keep the things simple and organized.)

In the next step you should locate your TiltBrush.exe file. The best way to do so is to use the Steam application where you can browse files associated with Tiltbrush. Mine was located here: C:\"Program Files (x86)"\Steam\steamapps\common\"Tilt Brush”.

Now open the Command Prompt and paste following lines:

cd C:\"Program Files (x86)"\Steam\steamapps\common\"Tilt Brush"
... or your path
and then

TiltBrush.exe --captureOds --numFrames 10 C:\TILT\NoMoon.tilt
... or replace the name of the Tiltsketch with your name and path

Don’t forget to press
enter each time you paste the commands ;-)


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Tilt brush boots up and loads the sketch. After some time (Depending on the number of frames) the windows closes and you will find your movie in the Documents/Tilt Brush/VRVideos. Although we have an mp4 VR video, we are not going to use it. We are interested in the files hidden in the folder of the same name as our project.

Note to number of the frames: I’ve chosen 10, as I’ve used some animated brushes and I wanted to pick the best look. If you don’t want to wait, just change the number of frames to 1 (set
--numFrames 1) before you start generating the movie. Your command line should look something like this: TiltBrush.exe --captureOds --numFrames 1 C:\TILT\NoMoon.tilt



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Crop and adjust

As Facebook does not support stereoscopic panoramas (Yet?) we have to crop the selected frame down to 2:1 proportion. Open up Photoshop and create new 4096x2048 image. Then simple paste (drag and drop) the PNG file into it. If everything goes right, the frame should be perfectly aligned and there is no need for any adjustments. In other cases position carefully the frame - newer version of Photoshop should automatically snap to the edges and the center. You can also crop the PNG manually, just make sure that the ratio will be exactly 2:1.

Once you are done, feel free to adjust your colors and levels, you can even paint in it ;-) Save it as
JPEG.



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EXIF METADATA HACKING ;-)

I am quite happy with the free online EXIF injector (http://www.thexifer.net/#exif-general). But feel free to use any alternative. There are tons of these tools available.

There are basically only two changes required to force Facebook to accept your image as 360 panorama: Just set Make to "RICOH" and Model to "RICOH THETA S"

Once you are done, don’t forget to download your injected file. See the process bellow.




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Testing and publishing

In order to preview your file locally, I am using the free panorama viewer: http://www.fsoft.it/FSPViewer/download/. If you want to test in Facebook before anyone else see it, just set the privacy to “only myself” and upload your image as a regular photo. Facebook should accept it as 360 panorama.



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Now you are ready to go! Don’t forget to share your creations with me and leave me a comment bellow!