Short Introduction to Panorama Photography
This is a sample panorama in spherical projection; not a very exciting view, but well, it was only the first test! ;-)
It may first look like a "simple" fisheye
image, but it actually spans 360 degrees, meaning the borders contain (very distorted) image information from behind the viewpoint.
That kind of panorama can be viewed and moved around in a VR-panorama-viewer like the one on the right. A set of panoramas can be joined together for a virtual tour. Panoramas are also very useful in 3D-animations as backdrops, for image-based lighting (to get more realistic light effects than with conventional lamps) and as reflection maps for example for chrome surfaces.
This panorama was stitched together with the Hugin-Software http://hugin.sf.net
(external link) which is free for private use. It is based on "Panorama Tools" like many other stitching tools. It is not easy to find the right settings for your camera for the first time, but there are good tutorials on the internet.