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  • WordPress Plugin Update 3.1.3 With WooCommerce Gallery Integration

    We have just released v3.1.3 of WebRotate 360 Product Viewer for WordPress. The most notable additions in this update include WooCommerce gallery integration (which has been unavailable since WooCommerce released their v3.0) and two new popup skins (light_clean and dark_clean). The popup skins use vector graphics to look sharp on modern mobile devices and HDPI screens and in general they look quite more modern than the original prettyPhoto skins.

    Here's the complete list of enhancements and fixes in this release:

    • Introduced product gallery integration in WooCommerce.
    • Added new popup skins with vector graphics (light_clean, dark_clean).
    • Added viewerskin parameter in popup shortcodes. Supports empty, retina, basic, thin and round viewer skins (now you can have popups with different viewer skins on the same page).
    • z-index was lowered across viewer elements to work better with WP themes.
    • Updated viewer CSS for sharper image rendering in Chromium based browsers on Windows.
    • Added dummy license.lic to prevent 404 errors from slowing down loading of the 360 product viewer in the free version.
    • Background color property now works for popup shortcodes.

    Download

    IMPORTANT:

    The entire contents of any previous webrotate plugin installation in your WordPress will be removed upon updating the plugin (unless you manually copy the new plugin files and folders to your FTP). If you have any webrotate assets (360 or 3D product images and configuration files), a license file, etc that you keep in the webrotate plugin folder, make sure you backup the existing plugin folder (/wp-content/plugins/webrotate-360-product-viewer) before proceeding with the plugin update.

  • 360 Product Photography Upside Down

    Today we will go through one of our 360 product photography setups that we produced for Just5 back when we were a full-time 360 product photography shop. It's one of those setups that is worth sharing as it's unusual and can be used for a variety of  projects.

    The Challenge

    At the time, Just5 was mostly manufacturing simple cell phones with large keys and an SOS button that worked great for elderly and kids. We were asked to produce a bunch 360 product views of their new line of phones (multiple colors and combinations). As with pretty much any cell phone these days, it's quite difficult to keep it upright on a flat surface on its own, and even if you manage to keep it steady on a spinning turntable, it's tough to make the bottom mount spin smoothly, i.e without a noticeable wobble.

    So the decision was to mount the phones from the top to ensure we could produce a tight 360 degree spin. We have done top mounting in the past but with much larger products and some cumbersome rigging and mostly manual turning. This time we wanted to automate the process using one of our older turntables (we had a bunch of kid toys coming our way after Just5 so the plan was to reuse the setup as-is and save a lot of time!).

    The Rig

    Luckily all phones we received had a tiny socket at the top which was perfectly centered so it could be used for our rigging. If there was no socket like this, or if it was not nicely centered , we would likely drill through the phones at the same spot - the Just5 phones were relatively cheap comparing to the production cost of the 360 product spins.

    We then drilled two holes through the turntable base at the two opposite corners so we could attach it to an arm on a C-stand (on a metal plate) upside down. The table we used was quite old - we probably photographed a couple of thousand products on this table by then, so we didn't worry much about drilling the holes. But you may void your warranty or ruin the table if you do this!

    We already knew the thread number of the mounting socket at the top of the turntable platform so we ordered a small aluminum pipe and a bolt with a tap tool so we could cut the same thread in the tube.

    The head of the bolt was cut with a hand metal saw giving us two threaded ends to connect the tube with the platform.

    The power plug was cut out from one of the phone's adapters and we glued it with epoxy to the tube.

    Below you can see the final assembly from one of the 360 product shots. Note how we attached a strip of white paper at the end of the tube to give us smoother reflection on the chrome-like edge at the top of the phone. Still, we had to go manually through most of the 360 degree images and smooth out the reflections in Photoshop.

    We have recently moved all posts from our old photogear360 blog here, so here's some related material you may find useful:

  • New 3D Product Rotation Mode

    We just devised a new 3D product rotation mode which was a result of a simple user request on our forum. Here's an initial "raw" example:

    http://www.webrotate360.com/Downloads/Demos/Blog/2017-apr-xx-rows-single-index/2row.html

    The new rotation mode is awesome and it's surprising we missed this possibility in v3.6 in the first place.. With this mode you can photograph or render just one vertical movement around an object vs multiple rows of many images. And you can go as smooth as needed in that you can have as many vertical increments as your heart desires without sacrificing production times or 3d viewer performance.

    So where's the trick? The spin always falls back to the single horizontal row whenever you drag the images horizontally, which doesn't look too bad!

    With this mode you can:

    • Drastically reduce the number of images in a 3d spin as there are no more rows with unique images on each index (except for the main horizontal "fall-back" row).
    • Spend so much less time producing the images.
    • Implement a very smooth vertical rotation as you can now have as many "rows" as needed without noticeable loss of performance as it would be the case with the classic rows.

    And last but not least, the hotspot positioning in "3D" is a breeze as now you can simply go through a small set of vertical images to create the 3d hotspot effect.

    We already saw how this mode worked out for a set of 3D product images of a shoe from a user and it worked and looked very nice, so we look forward to seeing more examples from you - please share if you would like them to appear on our new examples page!

    PS: this feature is available upon request and we will release it in the next v3.6.2 release in about 2-3 weeks along with the incremental zoom and a few more goodies.

  • Final Release of WebRotate 360 Product Viewer v3.6

    If you haven't noticed, version 3.6 of WebRotate 360 Product Viewer has been finally released!

    This is a big event for us as it has been pretty much exactly two years since we started working on v3.6 and the number of enhancements and features that went into this release is huge (version history). There have been at least 5 beta releases and numerous one-off builds for our customers who needed some of the new features early in production. In general, our philosophy is to not release often as making sure nothing breaks for users across multitude of setups, browsers, and platforms on the web takes a lot of time.

    With v3.6 we have addressed these three major areas:

    3D PRODUCT VIEWING

    Until v3.6, we could only spin images on a single plane and this was alright for some time. After all, we have been shooting single-row 360 product views since 2009 and knew exactly where the need was. But Internet speeds have increased dramatically in the last 3-4 years and browsers stepped up their game, so loading multiple rows of images for full 3D product viewing become feasible and not just on desktop but mobile as well.

    Not to mention, folks started to figure out how to shoot products in 3D and the usage of 3D modeling in product design have also increased. With v3.6 we give you the framework to create cool interactive 3D product views that work across all modern mobile devices and web browsers.

    WEB INTEGRATION

    What our users always loved about this product is the polished up viewer output. It's super interactive, slick, and fluid with a large number of easily configurable options. We put in extra effort making sure it doesn't take over your product pages while modern enough to contribute to your product presentation.

    In v3.6 we pushed further to give you more control over the features and looks as well as more options to assist with the web integration. From advanced APIs and the "shortcode" template to new vector (SVG) skins and Google Analytics integration, with v3.6 you can take your vision to new heights.

    MOBILE

    A big chunk of work in early-mid 2016 was to make sure the viewer works great on modern mobile devices. We practically rewrote the hotspot rendering engine and introduced new hotspot type to address some of the shortcomings in the earlier versions. Viewer become fully responsive with more control over presentation on small mobile device and high pixel density screens.

    DOWNLOAD

    Unfortunately, we couldn't fit in the new incremental zoom which was ready by the time v3.6 release candidate was out as it would require major retesting, so this feature will be released in the follow up v3.6.2 later on. And the work on the major 4.0 release is now going at full speed...

    PS: if you are on v3.5 or an earlier release of WebRotate 360 Product Viewer and have either PRO or Enterprise license, please contact us to get the upgrade as it's free for all customers. Users on v3.6 beta can check for updates on the About form in SpotEditor to download this release.

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