In this post we will talk about spherical photos, otherwise known as 360 photos. I’m going to show you ways to add 360 photos to Facebook so that they display in 3D form. One of them does not require the installation of any program and the whole process takes place on-line. Two more are solutions using applications that will help you with more photos, or if you do not chat to send large files to an external online service.
Photo spheres on Facebook are flat, what to do?
If you create or have photo spheres or 360 panoramas that you want to post on Facebook, you may have a problem with the fact that the photos are “flat”. Having a photo sphere with an aspect ratio of 1:2 when you add them to Facebook, or in Google Maps, they should be displayed in a 3D view that is interactive. In this way, we can look around at all sides and even use the VR mode.
This is the effect we want to achieve
Photo without exif data
This is how it looks on our computer, but on the Internet it is nice if you show such a photo in 3D form.
Unfortunately, this does not always happen and after processing, scaling, compression or other treatments, your photos display like a regular photo. It’s a bit like a rolled out globe that could be a ball.
Technical requirements for 360 photos for Facebook
To add such photos we must meet several conditions:
- create photos using a special camera for photo spheres, using a SLR camera, with a panoramic head or a phone or tablet equipped with an application for photo spheres
- Photo with 2:1 aspect ratio
- Metadata suggesting that the photo is a 360×180 spherical panorama
Spherical photo metadata
Metadata is all “text” information stored in an image file. This can include information about camera settings such as shutter speed, aperture, serial number, date and time of shooting. You can save a lot in the metadata, but for us the most important will be information for Facebook that the photo is spherical.
Inject metadata into photos
In order for Facebook to recognize a 360 photo as a spherical panorama, we must meet at least one condition by adding one of the following information to the EXIF data:
- Projection type – suggesting that the photo is spherical
- Make and model of supported camera or spherical camera
In panoramic and spherical photography, there are several different types of projection depending on the way we photographed and in which we want to show the photo. When adding information to EXIF data, we must use their English names. The most commonly used on Facebook are:
- spherical panoramas – “equirectangular” k whose speech
- cylindrical panoramas – “cylindrical” are those wide “stripes” that we can do using the Camera application in the iPhone
Cameras and spherical cameras
Even if we took a picture with a spherical camera, we could somehow lose EXIF data. In this case, we can restore them or cheat Facebook a little and pretend to be one of the supported cameras. We can also do it in a situation when we photographed with a SLR camera using a panoramic head and counted photos in PTGu or Autopano Color.
Here are the cameras from which Facebook recognizes photo spheres:
- Ricoh Theta S – see on Ceneo .
- Giroptic 360 Cam
- Samsung Gear 360 used Tractor
- LG 360 Cam
- IC Realtech ALLie
Adding metadata to photo spheres online
If we want to add one photo sphere to Facebook at a time, we can use the simple Panorama Exif Patcher tool that you will find on the https://nadirpatch.com/exif/ page.
1st Open the Panorama Exif Patcher page
2. Add a photo
You can add a photo by clicking on the white box, or by dragging the photo to it.
3. We download the photo
After adding a photo, after a while our finished photo should be downloaded automatically to the disk.
Fixing Multiple Photos in Panorama Exif Patcher
It may also happen that the photo we add does not have the right proportions. It is worth checking why this is happening and coming back with the correct photos.
On the site we can also add more photos at once, however, it is a service paid from $ 5 for 100 photos. In this case, read on how to do it for free using the computer application.
Add metadata to photo spheres using the app
If we have a lot of 360 photos that do not display as spherical, a computer application is a good option. My favorite solution for panoramic photos is Exif Fixer , which has its own apps for Mac OS, Windows, and even Linux. Exif Fixer, like Panorama Exif Patcher, has its online version.
Exif Fixer is a simple and at the same time ideal program for “fixing panoramas”. It allows you to add some important information to your EXIF data:
- adds projection type – equirectangular/cylindrical
- adds information about one of the 360 cameras
- allows you to determine the north
- edit photos in batch (set parameters for the first one and all the rest get the same EXIF data)
Exif Fixer support
The application is very simple to use. In most situations, they are enough for only 3 steps:
1. Add a photo(s)
If you add one photo, drag it into the program window. We can use the Choose JPEG or PNG button but further steps/interface is in German.
In the case of many photos, we can drag them all the same and select the “Batch” option so that all changes are made according to the same.
To add the data you need to Facebook or Google Maps, just click Add Metdata and you’re done.
* Ifyou want to keep the original, you can uncheck “Delete Orignal Image”
If we want the file to pretend to be a photo from one of the 360 cameras, we can use the “Insert Fake Camera Data ” option and select, for example, Ricoh Theta S
Photos Exif Editor
The second application that I recommend and gives more possibilities to manipulate EXIF data is Photos Exif Editor, which can be downloaded from the App Store . The application allows you to easily edit EXIF data and, among other things, also easily add geotags to photos using a map.
This application, unfortunately, does not allow you to add a projection type, but we can still give information about the camera model.
We will download the application here.
1. Add a photo
To add a photo, you can drag it to the program window or select Add Photos/Folders. We can also add the iPhotos library.
In the left column we have added photos, and in the right exIF data for editing.
2. Add the camera model
In this example, we will “pretend” that the photo was taken by a Ricoh Theta S camera. For this we look for the Camera section and change or fill in the fields:
- Make: Ricoh
- Camera model name: Ricoh Theta S
3. Save photos
If we have everything ready, click the green button “Start Process ” and choose a place to save the photos.
I do not know about you, but I have been having a problem with overwriting existing photos for some time and I save the changed files in another place. I haven’t found a solution to that yet. If you have a way to do it, let me know in the comments.
There is a saved photo and the panorama is displayed on Facebook as we wanted, then we can speed up this process in the future by creating the so-called peseta.
- In the main window of the program, in the middle click Presets>Edit Presets
- In the new window, in the lower left corner click “+” to add a new peseta
- We give it a name
- Fill in the Make and Camera Model Name fields as before.
- Click Apply
In this way, we can add these two pieces of information for each subsequent photo, they choose only a peseta from the list that I will fill in our fields regarding the camera model.