Monday, March 31, 2014

Depth in Street View

You must have seen Urban Jungle by now. Urban Jungle is a fantastic website that allows you to view Street View scenes enhanced with some virtual jungle greenery. The effect is possible because of undocumented depth data stored in Street View. Urban Jungle is able to use that data to create a depth map which can be used to plot geometry and sprites in the 3d space of the Street View panorama.

Urban Jungle uses the Street View depth library, GSVPanoDepth, developed by 0xef. 0xef has also used the library to create HyperlapseMB, which adds a nice motion blur effect to Hyperlapse's Street View animated drive creator.

Street View Hyperlapse uses Hyperlapse.js, Three.js, GSVPano.js, and the Google Maps API to create really smooth animated Street View movies. In Hyperlapse you just need to drop two map markers on a Google Map, for the start and end of your drive and then press 'create'. The result is an amazing animated drive through a series of Street View images.

HyperlapseMB uses the depth information hidden in the Street View data to create a nice motion blur effect to the created animated drive. The motion blur eliminates a lot of the jerkiness in the resulting animation, which is caused by stitching a sequence of still images together. The result of adding motion blur is a much smoother animation.

HyperlapseMB applies the motion blur effect before the Street View animation can be played. Therefore HyperlapseMB is a bit slower than the original Hyperlapse, but it is worth the wait. Not only is the animation much smoother but the controls in the side-panel allow you to adjust the view in the animation and even spin the animation around.

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