Why use VR on my website....

In terms of "Bang for your Buck" there is no better way of presenting products on a website, VR allows the user to interact with a product, look at it from different angles, study particular details, see it function, play with it.... All while being in the comfort of home. We all know how important it is to make a prospect pick up the product in a store, using VR on a website is the virtual equliant of picking up a product. Only better.

VR causes the visitors to your website to remember your product...! I suggest offering VR files with your URL embedded in the file for download on the visitors computer, its like putting a brochure in his hands.

In side by side comparisons, sites with VR sells more than the same site with just 2D images. This makes VR a sensible choice when investing in a website, after all, there is not much point in spending money to drive visitors to a website, only to loose them again. VR help you convert more of your traffic into sales.

A little about the different types of VR....

By now you probably have noticed that there are more than one way to put VR on the Internet.
Some typical technologies are QTVR and FLASH, both of which requires a plugin, it is also possible to avoid the plugin by using a JAVA player such as IBM's Hot Media or MGI's Live Picture.

Each technology have advantages and limitations, when it comes to flexibility nothing can touch Apples QTVR, which allows pretty much anything one can think up, including zooming, animation in panoramas and lots of other cool features. However for broad appeal, FLASH seems like a good pick, unlike QTVR it is not a "true" object movie, but rather a fancy "rollover" that does not matter, it works well for Objects, unfortunately FLASH does not work well with panoramas, since it is not able to distort the source image properly to get a beautiful playback. For Panos recommend Hot Media or MGI Live Picture as a alternative to Apples QTVR technology.

How BIG do these files have to be....

Most of the Object movies on my site is between 300 to 400k each, that is 36 frames with a window size of 320x240 using JPEG 50 compression. Click on any one of them and you will get a good feeling of the time a visitor to your site will have to wait while downloading a VR file...

Do not despair, the files can be made a lot smaller. There are 3 main issues to think about relating to file size,

Number of frames...?
Question is, HOW many frames do you really feel you need to present your product properly, the trade off is a less smooth movement of the object when spinning. Say you reduced the number of frames from 36 to 12, that would result in reducing a 300k file to 100k, this is a serious reduction in download time. For discussions sake it is worth mentioning that some clients feel the need to go the other way, and I have produced movies with as much as 180 frames for them... This is NOT recommenced for the the average user, as the typical file size easily hits 3-4 MEGA bytes. Not good for Dialup connections.

Window Size...?
This is another place which can create some "weight savings". If a 320x240 pixel window was reduced to about 300x200 pixels, it would result in almost 50% savings in the file size. Many websited use window sizes such as 120x160, I feel this is very small, but it sure works wonders for the file size issue.

Compression reduces the quality of the images by removing information not needed in a file, problem is the more a file is compressed, the more information is removed. At some point the amount of data removed will start to affect the appearance of the picture. Personally Im very happy with JPEG 50, but most people are perfectly happy with a file compressed much more, the best way to make this choice is to create samples of different compression and compare them.

My personal recommendation for most clients is to create 2 or more versions of each VR file, then as the default on the website link people to the smallest file, while at the same time offering a link to a larger file, this will bring pictures in front of clients quickly, and also encourage people to check out a larger file to see more details of a product.


Front Page    VR    Commercial    Travel    Photoshop    About Bo    WinCE

© 2001 by Bo Lorentzen All Rights Reserved