Image Theories

Playing with 360 Photos and Videos

Complex relationships between devices, software

What is super cool about spheres and the VR world is that you can't represent it as anything else without significant distortions. We are not at the point, yet, where 3D objects can holographically display to the viewer. Even if when a virtual world is constructed using 3D models, we still view them on a flat screen. I like this visual trick because a perceptual experience can directly illustrate the nature of consciousness and the translation processing of the mind, hopefully opening people up to embrace new possibilities.

When you are looking a 360 image on a device, you see from inside or outside of it. It is as if you are looking at the shell of a sphere. (The tricky part about viewing 360 images is that the device and the application combination make a difference.) Check out this guys video on an old school painting for a 360 viewer to get a sense of the distortion map between a sphere and flat surface.

Working with the Giroptic iO 360 camera

Working with one specific camera, the Giroptic iO 360 designed for iPhone, the images can be viewed as a real 360 video in only three applications; youtube, facebook, and periscope. You can watch the video flat, but it’s kind of strange. Here are a couple of screenshots of what the 360 video looks like if you watch it flat. The video is distorted, and it is kind of like looking at a paper map and not a globe.


Watching a 360 video in VR

 Watching a 360 video on a mobile device is best. If you have not done it before, it might seem mysterious. In truth the mind is mysterious, and the real magic happens in your brain. The technology in the Merge headset I'm using is fundamentally a magifying lense. The camera turns into two screens, and the VR headset is a little helmet t that makes sure the screens are the correct distance from your head. There are also some crazy strong plastic lenses in there so that you can focus on the screen up close. When you watch the YoutTube video on your phone, a particular icon will show up, and you can click to view it in VR mode. 


What is in the sky and on the floor?

When you watch the YouTube video with your mobile device (see below), then you *should* get the 360 video experience. You don’t need a VR headset, but you do need a compatible web browser application. Many people are familiar with these videos, and they are popular also on Facebook. You have to turn around in place and move the camera like it is a portal into another world. You can point the camera anywhere you want to look, like up and down. There is not a whole lot to see when you look up and down in most videos.

Looking Up

Looking Up

Looking Down

Looking Down

A sample 360 video

While cleaning up and doing a reorganization of tools and supplies I recorded a few minutes in 360. What do you think of the 360 video? Is it more fun and engaging in moving your phone around wherever you want while the video plays?

Artistic 360 images

After understanding the nuts and bolts, here are a two artistic 360 images. (I'm still working on creative video sets.)

The Gestalt principle used to manipulate people with images

The mind can plays tricks on us and Gestalt principles can be used to manipulate people. Psycologists try to understand how and why we can’t always trust what we see at first glance. Learning how you see is valuable if you are interested in understanding yourself and the world better. The Gestalt theory of study has been critisized by other scolars, but the idea is widly known. Gestalt is where the saying, 'The whole is other (not greater) than the sum of its parts.' comes from. The basic components or parts of any visual image are described in terms like shapes, points, lines, and curves. Our brains look for patterns and there are many terms to describes this, such as:

Classic Visual Tricks

Classic Visual Tricks

  • Similarity
  • Continuation
  • Closure
  • Proximity
  • Figure/Ground
  • Symmetry and order
  • Read more about the theory

An example of looking closely at an image

I selected this image from my Facebook feed as an example of manipulative and false images. What seemed off to me when I looked at this image was the odd mix of religion, sports, and politics. In political images for campaigns, manipulative images are everywhere!

Politcal Image from Social Media

Politcal Image from Social Media

What Makes the image suspicious?

  • Position and scale of politician
  • Surprising and surreal size of crowd
  • No credit or photo attribution

This image of Berny Sanders stuck out to me because it is different from others. He is wearing more casual clothing. The size of the crowd and arena is very surreal. On closer inspection, I noticed that the Facebook image had no linked source. Curious about when and where the photo what taken I did a google image search.   

Doing image research and looking closely

With a google image search I quickly found an exact match to a Tumbler blog site where again there was no attribution to the photo, but there was a comment about the large crowds at his March 2016 rally in Salt Lake City. A quick search for news from that event revealed that this image was not taken there because Bernie dressed differently. In taking a closer look, I realized that it was two images collaged together.

Detail showing audience scale mismatch

Detail showing audience scale mismatch

Becuase of the similarity, continuity, and desire for the closure of the area, the two pictures merge into one. Also, the drastic difference in scale between the crowd and the projection of Bernie make the smaller differences between the crowd shots less noticeable. By doing a google search for the top section, I immediately found a match and photo credit in an LA Times article from August of 2015. The bottom from Bernies time in Portland. What more, the original images show the real perspective of the journalist’s viewpoint and scale of the audience. The text in the top photo is actually mirrored and that indicates he is behind the projection.

Rainbow Puke, A Meme Analysis

Due to modern technology it is now possible for images to be reproduced in many ways quickly and cheaply. While most people might not be aware of this influence, Berger (1971) says the technology to reproduce images has changed society profoundly. Ewen (1999) talks about style in fashion and design, and he connects it to our identities and how we express whom we are. For example, in my case, mass reproduced rainbow puke images were everywhere and I was attracted to them for some unknown reason.