For the tutorial, download this example set of 360° images. They are 360° photos of outdoor spaces around UCLA campus and a few other images that will be used in the tutorial. The 360° photos were taken with a second generation Samsung Gear 360, which retail for a little less than $200. The images were also lightly edited with Adobe Photoshop 2020 to remove the tripod from the bottom of each image.
Go to the Google Tour Creator site.
Keep in mind the other XR creator tools that Google has to offer.
Sign in using your google account. *Note that your educational google account (e.g. email@example.com) may not work if your school does not have an agreement with google that includes Tour Creator in their GSuite package. A personal gmail account will be able to access tour creator. However, requiring students to use a personal account may carry FERPA concerns in terms of student privacy, which they may need to waive.
Once your logged in to Tour Creator, you can:
- Bring in a tour from a template
- Creator your own tour
- Edit a tour you’ve already started
If you don’t have access to a 360° camera, you can still use tour creator! The templates let you use content previously generated by others.
Since we have a set of 360° images to use, select “+ New Tour” and assign your new project a title, description, category, and cover photo.
Selecting a category allows you to tag your project for search. If you publish your tour and make it public, others can use Google Poly to find your work.
Click “Create” when you’re finished. You can come back and edit this information later, if you wish.
Next you will add your “scene.” A “scene” is any 180 or 360 image. Once again, if you don’t have your own camera or content, you can use “Street View” to search for a place to use.
Since we have our own 360 images to use, for now, we will select “Upload,” pick one of the 360 files from our desktop, and click “Add Scene.”
In the scene editor, you can label your image with basic metadata, set a starting view, add ambient audio and scene narration, and annotate it with “points of interest.” Think of your scenes like slides. Use the menu on the bottom of your window to add additional scenes and navigate and rearrange your scenes once you’ve created several.
This time, you can add a scene from “Street View” by searching a location. For example, try “UCLA sculpture garden.”
By adding points of interest, you can overlay the scene with clickable annotations. These can be text, audio, image, or a combination.
Note, however, that text annotations can only be 50 words.
Finalize your tour’s structure by moving your scenes left or right using the 3dot menu that appears when you hover over your scene navigation items.
Your tour is automatically saved as you work. When you’re finished you can use the top menu items to:
- Go back to your tour creator home page and start a new tour. Your current tour will then be saved as a draft and available to edit by reselecting it from the home page.
- Use the 3dot menu to edit your tours description info or delete your tour.
- Publish your tour to Google Poly
When publishing, you can choose to make your tour “Public” or “Unlisted.” “Unlisted” provides you with a private link to your tour. Unless a person has that link, they will not be able to locate or see your tour on Google Poly. By making your tour “Public,” anyone searching Google Poly can find your tour. Once you’ve made your selection, you can click “Publish.” You can always go back in and edit your tour and re-publish it, if you want to make changes.
Once your tour is “Published,” you will be provided a link to allow you to view your tour. Click “View tour” to immediately review your tour on your desktop. If you copy the link, using the icon on the right, you can send and use that link on a mobile device to view the tour in a headset.
When you open the link on your phone, you can swipe your finger across the screen to rotate your view. At the top, you can select the icon to the right to turn on or off the 360 degree view. This would make the experience mixed reality; as you moved your phone, the image would be viewed from a different angle. If you select the mask-like icon on the left, you will enter a stereo view. Once you’re in a stereo view, you can place the tour in a headset and view it in a more immersive fashion.
Not all mobile web browsers or cell phones may be compatible. Settings may need to be adjusted to allow these features to be enabled. Currently, this is only support on older IOS12 devices. Hopefully, Google will be updating Tour Creator Mobile VR modes for IOS13.