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Create A Panoramic Screen Saver Using A Second Life Photograph


In recent tutorials we covered how to create desktop wallpapers from Second Life images, so the next step forward is screen savers. In this tutorial we'll be focusing on panoramic images that scroll seamlessly and continuously across the screen when your PC is idle, using a lightweight and free programme called WPanorama.

Creating a Panoramic Image In Second Life


In a series of previous tutorials we explained how to create 360 degree panoramic images in Second Life, which you'll need to be familiar with to create these images, as well have a 360 degree panoramic hud for taking the photos in Second Life.

The tutorial linked to above covers both Hugin and Microsoft's Image Composite Editor (ICE), but for this tutorial we'll just be using ICE, because its quicker, simpler and easier to use.

There are a few differences in creating panoramic images to use as screen savers, than creating full 360 panoramas, but they are minor, and explained below.


1/  Since we're not creating a full 360 degree panorama, but one that seamlessly rotates horizontally (ie, a 360 degree cylindrical panorama), we don't need to add to ICE the last two images taken with the hud in Second Life. These are the images taken one directly above the camera position, and the one directly below.

2/ Once the images have been stitched together in ICE, hit the Crop button. We need to crop out the irregular horizontal edges of the image, so grab and drag the nodes highlighted in red above.



3/ Now hit the Auto Complete button so your image looks something like the above.

WPanorama's performance isn't affected by the height of the image, so it doesn't matter if your finished panorama is skinny or fat, although you'll need to keep your screen's resolution in mind. If for example, the resolution is 1920 X 1080, a panoramic image with a height of 720 is not going to look good.

Another tip to keep in mind is that things too close to the camera can become distorted, so they may need to be cropped out.

With these points taken into consideration the image can be exported from ICE in the usual way,  ready to use in WPanorama. There is no need to edit the Exif metadata as you would with a full 360 degree panorama.

WPanorama 


WPanorama is freeware and can be used for both viewing panoramic images on the desktop, and for displaying scrolling panoramas as screensavers. The scrolling movement will automatically loop seamlessly.

If however the image is not a seamless panorama it will scroll in one direction until it reaches the edge of the image, before scrolling in the opposite direction. You can download WPanorama here.


1/ When WPanorama first starts it will display a pre-installed panoramic photo, and in fact comes with a large selection of images. They are stored in Windows' Documents folder. If you don't want to keep these images, simply go to the folder and delete them.


2/ After the images have been deleted WPanorama will look like the above.


3/ To just view an image rather than using WPanorama as a screen saver, select File > Load image, then navigate to where the image is stored.


4/ WPanorama will now display the panorama, which should be scrolling.

Creating A Screen Saver



1/ To Create a screensaver, select Screen saver > Configure screen saver.


2/ In the window that appears hit the Select button.


3/ Now Navigate to the folder containing your panoramas. A screen saver can contain more than one panoramic image and will display each image in turn. To add more than one image click on the first, hold down Shift then select as many images you want. Now hit Open.


4/ Once the images have been loaded this window will appear. More images can be added by hitting the Add images button. All the images can be deleted by hitting the Clear list botton.


 5/  The image list can now be saved, and will be stored in the same folder as the panoramic images we deleted earlier. WPanorama can contain many image lists, and each can be loaded as a screen saver.

To create a list, hit the Save list button.


6/  Name the list, here named SL Panoramas, then hit Save.


7/ The above image shows the files created when the list was saved.

The process of adding images to WPanorama and saving them as lists can be repeated, so you can have as many image lists as you want.


WPanorama can switch from list to list by hitting the Load lists button, navigating to the folder containing the lists, then selecting the relevant list.

If you're only using one or two images, there's no need to save them as a list. Once the images are loaded into WPanorama, just hit the tick icon, lower right  (shown above).


8/ The images have now been loaded into WPanorama and are ready to use. However, if there is more than one image make sure the Auto image change box is ticked, and then select the duration each image will be displayed.

When you're ready hit Apply then OK.

Previewing The Screen Saver



9/ One point should be noted here. The panorama shown in the WPanorama display window will not be one of the images added to the screen saver. It will be the image added when hitting File > Load Image.

To preview the screen saver hit Screen saver > Preview screen saver. Mouse movement will close the preview.


Another way to preview the images, and make sure WPanorama is the selected screen saver is the following.

10/ Click the Windows icon to the far left of the taskbar, then hit the cog icon to view Settings.

11/ The above window will open. Select Personalisation.


12/ The window above will now appear. Select Lock screen.


 13/ This window will now appear. There is a scroll bar thats a little difficult to see to the right of this window. Scroll it until you see Screen saver settings, then click on it.


14/ This window will now appear. Under the Screen saver drop down list select WPanorama if it isn't already selected, then hit Preview. The panoramic screen saver should now be full screen. Moving the mouse will close it. Click OK when you're ready.

Downloadable Images



The above image was created at Hangars Liquides. A full 360 panorama can be seen on Momento 360


...and this image was created at D-Lab.A full 360 panorama of this image can also be seen on Momento 360. Click the icon centre right on the Momento page to view these panoramas full screen.

To get you started with panoramic screen savers created in Second Life we have two images for you to download and add to WPanorama. We'll be creating more too so bookmark us and follow us on Facebook. The images are quite large, but can be rescaled to fit your screen if needed. They're stored on Google Drive so will be pre-screened so you can be sure you'll get a clean download. To grab the panoramas click here.


Click this icon which will be shown top right of the dowload page to get the panoramas.



Watch the short videos above to get an idea of what the scrolling panoramas will look like on your desktop. We hope you'll feel inspired to make your own panoramas and it would be great to see them shared on social media.