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Campus Tour

Title III Special Projects - QuickTime VR Virtual Campus

This project has the goal of creating a virtual reality model of the Merced College campus using Apple's QuickTime VR technology. This model is made by linking together several "panorama" movies, each showing a particular location at the college. These panorama locations can be panned left and right, and tilted slightly up and down, to give the user a full 360° view of a location. As each location is viewed, the user has the option of clicking on an area within the movie and being moved to another panorama location.

The challenge of this project is to create the panoramas. Each panorama movie consists of numerous images taken of a location, in a 360° rotation. Therefore, special equipment and careful technique is needed to insure that the images each line up precisely with the others, and that they overlap smoothly in an optically correct fashion. Furthermore, the exposure settings for each image vary slightly and thus the images must be corrected in a photo editor in order to match up smoothly. This takes a great deal of time and effort, and it often takes several photo sessions to get all the variables just right. For the technically inclined, some of the parameters are:

  • Degree separation between images: 30° (12 images per revolution)
  • Lens classification: 40mm (in 35mm SLR equivalency)
  • Source image size: 640x480 in 24 bit color
  • Zoom factor: 22 for all panoramas
  • Pan: varies from panorama to panorama
  • Tilt: 0 for all panoramas

If you have the appropriate QuickTime plugin installed in your browser, you should be able to click on the links below and see the QuickTime VR page for whatever area you chose. If you see a controller, but no image, then you need to click on the QuickTime link above to update your software.

5/7/98 - Currently, there is only one panorama available, showing the main quad area in front of the Lesher Library. Other locations are coming soon!

6/1/98 - Page finally updated! Three new panoramas have been made, requiring a slight adjustment in the layout of this web site. The new panoramas are a bit smaller and thus faster loading, and the original Quad panorama has been updated as well to make it a little smaller. Performance should be good on all platforms.

7/20/98 - Its been a while, but I finally added some more panoramas. The web site has moved from the location to the college's own web server, facilitating a larger site.

12/17/98 - Made modifications to the layout of the pages to conform to the Merced College Web Page guidelines.

8/23/2000 - Returned after a LOOOONG hiatus to make some minor updates and changes. No new panoramas, but the page is more focused now.

Questions or comments about this page, or one of these projects? Please contact Manuel Costa at