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Break Through a Visitor’s Flat Screen With a Flash Virtual Reality Image

Break Through a Visitor’s Flat Screen With a Flash Virtual Reality Image

Whether your website is selling ceramic pigs or crystal chandeliers, one of the things you are almost certain to wish you could do is to display your items on your website in the same way you would in a shop. In other words, allow the potential customer to either walk around the item, or pick it up to have a look at it. Neither of these things are possible on a web page, unless of course you’re one of the people who have discovered the ease and benefits of using a Flash virtual reality image.

Whatever it is that you are selling, there is always going to be a barrier between you and your customers when it comes to a website. That barrier is the two dimensional nature of the screen that is used to display your goods, and although one day technology may overcome this problem, for now we have to either accept the barrier as it is, and know that some customers will be put off by it, or do something clever to overcome the problem.

One of the methods used by many web designers has been to create virtual reality images of the products on display. These basically means that either they, or more likely a professional graphics artist, has spent quite some time recreating the look of a product in three dimensions. Whilst this does manage to create an image of the object on the screen which a customer can drag, rotate, zoom and look at from any angle, there are some problems with doing this.

The first problem with a virtual reality representation of an object is, of course, that it isn’t the actual object, and in most cases the customer will know this. No matter how clever and careful the graphics designers are, in most cases it is possible to tell the difference between a 3D drawing of a product and a photograph of it.

The second problem most people face is the time and the expense. Creating a virtual reality image of an object takes a huge amount of time, and graphics artists charge a fortune. If the product is fairly simple, like a box or even a mobile phone, it’s not too bad, but what about that ceramic pig, or a full blown Louis XIV chandelier? Not only that, but quite possibly you may have stock which changes regularly, and it’s simply not possible to sit around and wait for several days or even weeks for a 3D image to be created.

That is where the advantages of a Flash virtual reality image come in to play because using one of these solves the problem not only of time, but also expense, whilst still managing to break through the two dimensional barrier and engage your visitors’ interest, and also their trust. So how do these Flash images work?

At the simplest level, you simply place your object on a pedestal or disk, and take a photograph of it. It’s best to have your camera on a tripod or fixed in place, and leave the camera still. Take a picture with the object facing you, then rotate the pedestal a bit, and take another picture. Keep doing this until the item is back facing you. You can achieve this in as few as 8 photos, although using more increases the eventual quality. A dozen is good, more than twenty provides the best quality.

The next step is to upload these pictures into a folder, and tell your Flash virtual reality image file where the pictures are. That’s it your job is done. The whole process takes only a few minutes, and anyone can do it with no need for special skills or training. What the Flash image file does is to stitch the images together into a sequence, almost like an animation sequence of slides that, if flicked through rapidly, would give the impression of the object rotating. This is what you can do to start with. The Flash file can display the first photo to the customer, but then by cycling through the photos fairly rapidly in succession, it creates a smooth animation that shows the customer the item from every angle.

But the really clever part is that this is fully interactive. This means that by dragging the mouse left and right, the customer can pause, fast forward or rewind this sequence so that it gives the very real impression that they are grabbing, holding and rotating the item themselves a virtually real product.

Immediately you have broken through the two dimensional barrier, and by not using a drawing of the item, but showing the actual product itself, you have ensured that your customer is given a greater reason to trust you as a seller. Because the only thing you have to do in future, to display any other item this way is simply to copy and paste your Flash virtual reality image and then tell it where the pictures are for that particular object, you can very quickly and easily build up a huge catalogue of interactive virtual representations of your products.