There is an ever increasing number of virtual reality applications (VR) that require new methods of creating image material for this purpose. The main challenge is the rendering of scenes with a 360° view of the scene, which are then viewed with a VR headset or via 360° YouTube videos (stereoscopic rendering for Spherical cameras is also possible; the stereoscopic settings are described under Stereo Mode). This functionality is also known as spheric/bicubic panoramas, spherical panorama or panorama VR.
The Spherical camera is not restricted to VR but can also be used to simply render HDR images (in 32-bit, please), which are also no more than an all-round view of the scenery.
Since Cinema 4D renders two-dimensional images, the all-round view has to be distorted accordingly so it fits into a rectangular bitmap. For this purpose, Cinema 4D offers the most important projection types.
Note that the images or videos produced almost always have to be converted to a format that is suited for your output medium using a separate application or hardware. This can, for example, be YouTube’s upload tool for 360° videos or a software for VR headsets (e.g., Oculus Rift, HTC Vive), etc.
A mono 360° image or video makes it possible to view a scene in any direction, whether it’s up, down, left, right, front or back.
A stereoscopic 360° image or video goes a step further: in addition to being able to view the scene in any direction, an image with the proper perspective is created for each eye, which creates a spatial effect.
More information can be found online at https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/6178631.
Spherical cameras must be Perspective cameras (Object menu) and be active for the current render view. You don’t have to enable Stereoscopy in the Render Settings (even if you want to render the Spherical camera stereoscopically). Rendering can be done in the Picture Viewer.
Make sure that the image sizes are correct for output. Since not only the normal camera view is output but the entire scenery is used to create a bitmap, the image resolution should go beyond what you usually use. The following formats should be used as reference for mono images (when using stereo, the respective side should be doubled, depending on the Stereo Layout being used):
Enables or disables the Spherical camera (and with it the FOV Helper).
Note that the camera should be positioned at or very near eye level. It’s often helpful to position the camera level in the direction of view and to set up the view without rotation (R.P and R.B = 0) to have a neutral angle of view from which to start.
Note that the projection only takes effect for rendering and will not be displayed in the Viewport.
Use this setting to define which part of the scene the camera sees:
If you imagine the scene around the camera, the entire environment must somehow be projected onto a rectangular bitmap. How this is done is defined using the following options. You can select from the following:
The Mapping type that is best suited for your needs depends on how the rendering will subsequently be used. Make your selection depending on the software with which the image will be edited. The most commonly used method is Lat-Long, which can also be used if you create an HDRI or a depiction of the scene for a spherical projection.
If the FOV is restricted further using Lat-Long Min/Max, the region to be rendered will be stretched so the entire bitmap is filled out. If this option is disabled, the FOV will only take up part of the bitmap and the rest will be depicted as monochromatic.
If FOV is set to Equirectangular, either the entire all-around view (option enabled) will be used or only a portion that is defined using the following settings:
Use these settings to restrict the FOV starting from the X axis (Lat Min/Max) or Equator (Long Min/Max).
If FOV is set to Dome the Latitude setting can be used to define the dome section as spherical element.