What are 360° photospheres? And what are panoramas?

We at HoloBuilder.com are pretty busy talking about “360° images”, “photospheres”, “Photo Spheres”, “panoramas” and all that fancy stuff. But, we’re sure that some people regularly ask themselves “What the heck do these terms actually mean?”. We’re sorry for the confusion, promise to improve and hence, want to clarify some things in the following.

Google Camera

Different options in the Google Camera app.

What kinds of pictures can I use with HoloBuilder?

You can use any kind of picture with HoloBuilder but, depending on the type, they have to be inserted differently. If you are not absolutely sure what the differences between a 360° image, a photosphere and a panorama are, please read the following carefully!

360° Images & Photospheres & Photo Spheres … oh my!

360° image, photosphere and Photo Sphere are three terms for the same concept. When you take a 360° image with your camera, you capture every single point around you, in every possible viewing direction. The final product can then be projected on the inside of a sphere without leaving anything blank—that’s actually how HoloBuilder’s 360° functionality works. For uploading and sharing a 360° image (a.k.a. photosphere a.k.a. Photo Sphere) with HoloBuilder, all you have to do is drag ‘n’ drop the image file into our web editor. Pretty neat, isn’t it? 🙂

Google also has a cool page explaining 360° images and pointing to some more resources (click here). For a tutorial on how to capture a good 360° image and use it in HoloBuilder, please check out the following video:

On a plain screen (like your desktop PC has), a 360° image looks like this:

360° example


In contrast to 360° images, not everything around you is captured on a panorama picture. Rather, you take a panorama when looking straight with your camera, then turning around your own axis once. This means that what is above and below you is not captured. Panoramas cannot be simply dragged ‘n’ dropped into the HoloBuilder web editor. Instead, in the “New Slide” dialog, choose “Empty Scene” from the option “Augmented Reality”. In the new empty scene, you have to insert a “Tube”, which you can find among the “Textured Shapes” in the right-hand sidebar. Then, finally, you can select your panorama picture, which will be displayed as the texture of the inserted cylinder.

Cylinder with Panorama in HoloBuilder

However, you’re not yet finished at this point. In order to create a real panorama experience for the viewers of your Holo, you have to resize the cylinder and make it bigger until you are at the center of the panorama. Your final product should look something like this:

On a plain screen (like your desktop PC has), a panorama image looks like this:

Panorama Example

All the Rest

If you have images that are neither of the above, you basically have to proceed like with panorama images. However, instead of choosing the tube from the “Shapes With Custom Texture”, you have to go for a “Box” or a “Square” with plain image textures. That’s all! You can also play around with spheres and cones for some more distorted viewing experiences. There’s plenty of potential for crazy arts in HoloBuilder 😉

If you have any more questions or comments, please feel free to write us at support@holobuilder.com.