PhotoSphere
Frequently Asked Questions

  1. General Questions
  2. Questions about Creating PhotoSpheres
  3. Questions about Adding Images to a PhotoSphere
  4. Questions about Editing Images
  5. Questions about Viewing a PhotoSphere
  6. Questions about Sharing PhotoSpheres
  7. Questions about Gravity
  8. Questions about Spin
  9. Questions about The Summary Page
  10. Questions about The Help System
  11. Other Questions
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1) General Questions
  1. Q: Where is PhotoSphere on the web?
    A: You'll find PhotoSphere at:
    photosphere.timefold.com

  2. Q: Is there an PhotoSphere Forum?
    A: You'll find the PhotoSphere forum at:
    http://groups.google.com/group/photosphereforum

  3. Q: Can I see my PhotoSphere anywhere but on my iPhone or iPod Touch?
    A: Yes! First, anyone with an iPhone or iPod touch can get the free PSPViewer app to view PhotoSpheres that have been shared via Google's Picasa Web Albums. So, anyone can see your PhotoSpheres on their devices after you have shared them.

    Second, there is a free online viewer you can access from any web browser that supports Adobe Flash movies. You can either access it by clicking on the URL that appears in the description under the PhotoSphere logo in the Picasa Web Album associated with a given PhotoSphere, or you can form a URL for the flash viewer, which is described below.

    Finally, if you just need access to the photos in your PhotoSphere, you can:

    • Save them to your photo library and then sync your iPhone with your computer -- they'll show up in iPhoto.
    • Upload your PhotoSphere to Google's Picasa Web Albums service from which you can download the images.

  4. Q: How do I form the URL to see a specific uploaded PhotoSphere in the Online PhotoSphere Viewer?
    A: You need to know the Picasa ID and album name for the uploaded PhotoSphere. The url will look like this:
    http://photosphere.timefold.com/sphereviewer.html?picasaID=somepicasaID&albumname=somealbumname

    Example:
    http://photosphere.timefold.com/sphereviewer.html?picasaID=photosphere.hoco&albumname=FlowerPot

    The URL is all one long string (even if your web browser has made it look like two or more lines). You will put the actual picasa ID in where you see somepicasaID. The somealbumname will be the PhotoSphere name, but all blanks will be removed, as well as any and all non-letters, non-numbers. Photosphere will preserve the blanks in the displayed name of the album, but they will be removed from the URL itself. Thus, the somealbumname in the URL will only contain numbers and letters. When you look at a specific album on Picasa you will see the URL of the album in the location are of your web browser.

    You can also use a web browser and go to the Picasa Web Album you want to view with the viewer,

    http://picasaweb.google.com/picasaID/albumname

    If you know the picasa ID but don't know which album it is, just go to the account and select one from the avaialble albums:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/picasaID

    When you see the grid of images in the album itself, click on the photosphere image:

    Below the image will be a set of comments that contains a URL. You can click on that URL to reach the viewer for that sphere. When you see the PhotoSphere viewer page displayed, you can copy the URL from the location area at the top of your browser.

2) Questions about Creating PhotoSpheres
  1. Q: When I first run PhotoSphere it puts me on a page with a circle. Why?
    A: When you first run PhotoSphere you have no PhotoSpheres yet, so it saved you a step by taking you to the page were you add a new PhotosPhere. Just tap the "Snap" or "Pick" button to add images to your new PhotoSphere.

  2. Q: How do I add a new PhotoSphere?
    A: Tap the "Spheres" tab at the bottom of any page. Tap the plus sign in the upper left corner of the screen. If you don't see a plus sign, tap the "Done" button in the upper left corner of the screen, and again if necessary, until you do see the plus sign. Then tap it.

  3. Q: How do I set or change the name of my new PhotoSphere?
    A: If you are looking at your photosphere (e.g. you can see its various images and move it with your finger) then tap the "Save" button in the upper right corner. Tap the Name or Description field to provide a name or description.

  4. Q: How do I delete a PhotoSphere?
    A: To delete a PhotosPhere you must see it in the list of PhotoSpheres. Tap the "Spheres" tab at the bottom of the page. If you don't see the list of PhotoSpheres, tap the "Done" button in the upper left corner of the screen, and again if necessary, until you do see the list of PhotoSphers. Now tap the Edit button and a small red circle with a minus sign will appear in front of every PhotoSphere in the list. Tap the red minus symbol next to the PhotoSphere you want to delete. A red "Delete" button will appear on the right side of the row. Tap the red "Delete" button to delete the PhotoSphere.

  5. Q: How do I set the Icon image for a PhotoSphere?
    A: The icon image is the one you see next to the name of the PhotoSphere in the list of PhotoSpheres on both the Spheres tab and the Share tab. By default the icon is always the first image you add to your PhotoSphere. You can change the icon to be any other image in your PhotoSphere. Simply view the PhotoSphere (e.g. go to the page where you see all the images and can view the PhotoSphere from any angle) and double-tap the image you want to be the new icon. You may have to move the image in front to more easily tap it. When you see the full-screen version, tap the "Edit" button in the upper right corner of the screen. Then tap the "Use as Icon" button in the lower left corner of the screen.

  6. Q: Is there a limit to how many photospheres I can create?
    A: The only real limit is the total flash memory available in your iPhone or iPod Touch. The Summary page tells you how much memory you are using for all your PhotoSphere's combined.

3) Questions about Adding Images to a PhotoSphere
  1. Q: How can I get images onto my iPhone so I can select them for my PhotoSphere?
    A: There are two ways to get photos onto your iPhone:
    • You can take pictures using your iPhone's built-in camera
    • You can sync photos from your computer, e.g. with iPhoto
    Images you collect with either of the above methods are available in PhotoSphere via the "Pick" button on the PhotoSphere viewing page. You may also take new photos with your iPhone's camera by tapping the "Snap" button on the same page.

  2. Q: Can I use images with transparency?
    A: Yes -- they look great on a PhotoSphere!

  3. Q: What format of photo is best for PhotoSphere?
    A: PNG images are the preferred format for images.

  4. Q: Do large images slow down the PhotoSphere viewer?
    A: PhotoSphere makes a thumbnail of each image so it can rotate them all efficiently. Large images take longer to save and upload to or download from picasa, but the performance of moving the PhotoSphere around isn't affected.

  5. Q: Where are images added on the sphere?
    A: Always right in the middle of the screen. Move the PhotoSphere around until it is positioned so that the center of the screen is right where the new image should be added.

  6. Q: I just added an image, but it is in the wrong place. Can I move it?
    A: Yes! Double-tap the image. Then tap "Edit" in the upper right corner of the screen. Then tap the "Move" button. PhotoSphere will return to the viewer page and the image will remain in the center of the page while you move the PhotoSphere around with your finger. When the image is in the right place, simply tap the "Place" button, or you can tap the "Cancel" button to put the image back where it was.

  7. Q: I just added an image, but I don't want it. Can I delete it?
    A: Yes! Double-tap the image. Then tap "Edit" in the upper right corner of the screen. Then tap the "Delete" button. PhotoSphere will confirm that you want to delete the image with a popup confirmation dialogue. Tap "Delete Image" to actually delete the image, or tap "Don't Delete" to leave the image in the PhotoSphere.

  8. Q: The images are too close together, or they are overlapping. Can I make the PhotoSphere bigger?
    A: You can slide the Scale slider to the left to make the images smaller, which in effect makes the PhotoSphere bigger. Slide it to the right to make it seem smaller.

  9. Q: How can I find out how much memory is consumed by a given PhotoSphere?
    A: Go to the PhotoSphere viewer page and tap the "details" button in the lower right corner. The size and other details will be displayed. Tap the "sphere" button at the same position in the screen to return to the viewer page.

4) Questions about Editing Images
  1. Q: I just added an image, but it is in the wrong place. Can I move it?
    A: Yes. See here.

  2. Q: I just added an image, but I don't want it. Can I delete it?
    A: Yes. See here.

  3. Q: Can I provide a name for an image?
    A: Yes. Double-tap the image in the viewer and then tap the "Edit" button in the upper right corner of the page. Then tap the Name or Description field to enter a name or description for the image.

5) Questions about Viewing a PhotoSphere
  1. Q: How do I move the sphere view?
    A: Simply touch and drag the sphere to move it around in three dimensions. There are three circles to help you understand its orientation. The back half of two of these circles is a dashed line. The top of the sphere has a small blue dot. The three lines move as the sphere is rotated to help you understand its orientation. The images on the sphere change size and angle as they approach the edges, and become mostly transparent when they are on the back side of the view.

  2. Q: How do I see an image closer up?
    A: Simply double-tap the image to see the full-screen view of the image. To dismiss the full-screen view, double-tap the full-size image, or tap the "Done" button in the upper left corner of the full-size image page.

  3. Q: What does Spin do?
    A: It causes the sphere to rotate smoothly and slowly. It is a simple and attractive way to view the sphere in 3 dimensions without needing to touch the screen to move it around.

  4. Q: What does gravity do?
    A: See How do I use gravity?

6) Questions about Sharing PhotoSpheres
  1. Q: What is Google's Picasa Web Album service? How do I sign up?
    A: Google's Picasa Web Album service allows you to manage photo albums online. It's a free service that you can link to your gmail email account, if you have one. Even if you don't have a gmail account, you can create a google account in a few minutes and sign up for Picasa. Find out more here:
    http://picasaweb.google.com/home

    You must have a Picasa Web Album account to share your PhotoSpheres. Be sure to jot down your Picasa Web Album account id and your Google account id and password -- you'll need them in order to share PhotoSpheres.

  2. Q: I signed up with Picasa Web Albums, now what?
    A: After you have signed up with the Picasa Web Album service, press the Home button on your iPhone (the round button at the bottom of the phone). Then find the Settings app (it has three gears on it). Tap that and look for the PhotoSphere settings row. Tap the PhotoSphere settings row and enter your Google login and password, and your Picasa Account ID. Then tap the "Settings" button in the upper left corner. That's it. Now you can share your PhotoSpheres. Tap the Sharing tab, select a PhotoSphere and then tap "Share on Picasa" to upload your PhotoSphere.

  3. Q: The upload finished. Where is my PhotoSphere on the web?
    A: Your photosphere will be uploaded to a photo album in your Picasa Web Albums account. The album name will be the name you assigned to the your PhotoSphere on its save page, but blanks will be removed. If you didn't assign a name, it will be named for the date and time it was created: YYYYMMDD_HHMM.

    If your Picasa account ID was picasaID and your PhotoSphere was named "Cool PhotoSphere" the URL of the album would be:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/picasaID/CoolPhotoSphere

    You can also see the list of all your photo albums at a URL like this:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/picasaID
    Then you can click on the photo album you just uploaded.

    Note: do not modify the comments associated with any image or you may damage the spatial information that allows the PhotoSphere to be download and used on another iPhone.

  4. Q: I would like to download a PhotoSphere someone else created and uploaded to their Picasa account. How do I do it?
    A: Tap the Sharing tab at the bottom of any screen. Then tap the plus sign in the upper left corner of the screen. If you don't see the plus sign, tap the "Done" button in the upper left corner of the screen. When you have tapped the plus sign on the Sharing page, enter the Picasa account ID and the photo album name at picasa. Then tap the "Import from Picasa" button. If the photo album is public and still exists, it will be downloaded and a new PhotoSphere will be created with its images. Then tap the Spheres tab at the bottom of the page and you'll be able to view the sphere. Once it is on your iPhone you can do whatever you want, such as saving its images to your photo album, or even uploading it to your own Picasa account.

    If the download fails, double check the picasa ID and album name. You should be able to see the album online at a URL like this one:

    http://picasaweb.google.com/picasaID/albumname

  5. Q: The Picasa Web Album isn't a PhotoSphere... it's just a grid of images. How can I see the PhotoSphere on a web page?
    A: We're hard at work developing a flash viewer for PhotoSpheres that have been uploaded to the Picasa Web Album service. We expect this to be done around the end of February, 2009. You'll be able to use the viewer free of charge to view any PhotoSphere uploaded to Picasa Web Albums. You can embed links to the viewer in your online classified advertisement. The viewer will also provide a link back to the Picasa Web Album that has all the original images, so anyone viewing your PhotoSphere online will have access to all the individual images as well.

  6. Q: I already uploaded my PhotoSphere to Picasa Web Albums, but then I added a new image. Can I upload it again?
    A: Yes. Only the new image will be uploaded as long as you leave the "Avoid Duplicates" switch on. If you turn that switch off, then every image will be uploaded again. Sometimes the best approach is simply to delete the photo album on the Picasa web site and upload the whole PhotoSphere again. Changes like moving an image around or deleting images are not reflected in the online photo album, but we're investigating more robust syncing of PhotoSpheres to web albums.

    You can also change the name of your PhotoSphere and upload it to a new Picasa album (e.g. one with the new name).

  7. Q: If I save the images in a PhotoSphere to my iPhone's photo library, Is the spatial information stored with the photos?
    A: No. Saving to the photo library saves only the photos themselves.

7) Questions about Gravity
  1. Q: How do I use gravity?
    A: Gravity is primarily useful when you are taking a set of photos of an object. It can only detect changes in the angle of the iPhone with respect to "down." It cannot detect that you are moving around an object, so you'll still have to slide the sphere sideways when gravity is turned on.

  2. Q: How do I determine the orientation on the sphere?
    A: There is a small dot at the very top of the sphere. If you turn on gravity and point the camera straight down (e.g. from right over the top of an object) then the dot will be right about in the middle of the screen. Two of the three circles that show the orientation of the sphere have a dashed curve on the back of the sphere. When you first create a sphere, before you move it, you are looking right at the middle of the front of the sphere, with the dot at the top of the screen.

  3. Q: Gravity gets turned off whenever I turn on spin. Is that right?
    A: Yes. Spin and Gravity are mutually exclusive.

8) Questions about Spin
  1. Q: Spin gets turned off whenever I turn on gravity. Is that right?
    A: Yes. Spin and Gravity are mutually exclusive.

  2. Q: Is there any way to make it spin in the other direction?
    A: Not yet, but we're thinking about a change to the user interface to allow that.

9) Questions about The Summary Page
  1. Q: What is included in the total size of all spheres?
    A: The total size reported includes:
    • The total size of all the full-sized images in all PhotoSpheres.
    • The total size of all the thumbnail images in all PhotoSpheres.
    • The size of all the icon images for all PhotoSpheres.

  2. Q: What kinds of changes affect the update time of a PhotoSphere?
    A: The following changes will alter the update time for a PhotoSphere:
    • Adding, moving or deleting an image.
    • Changing the name or description of the PhotoSphere or an image.
    • Tapping the Save button on the sphere viewer, which records the new orientation of the Sphere.

10) Questions about The Help System
  1. Q: Can I view the help pages when I don't have any access to the internet (e.g. no 2G, 3G or WiFi signal)?
    A: Yes. The help system is entirely contained within PhotoSphere. So, if you're out in the woods taking a PhotoSphere of a fascinating fungus you can get answers to many questions about how to use PhotoSphere.

11) Other Questions
  1. Q: How can I backup my PhotoSpheres?
    A: Your PhotoSpheres will be backed up along with the PhotoSphere application if you have enabled Syncing all applications or the PhotoSphere application in iTunes. If PhotoSphere is synced, its data and settings will also be synced. However, there is no direct access to your PhotoSpheres via iTunes. If your iPhone was reset or replaced, you could sync PhotoSphere back to your iPhone to restore your PhotoSpheres and settings.

    You can also backup your PhotoSpheres by uploading them to your Google Picasa Web Album. See "Questions about Sharing PhotoSpheres" above for more details. However, note that all photospheres you upload will be public, at least while they are being uploaded. You could make them private after they have been uploaded.


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