October 25, 2017
A 360 degree panorama of the Alamo Plaza and surroundings as it might have appeared in 1836. The point of view is on the cannon platform in the southwest corner of the compound.
This is the position of the Alamo’s largest cannon, the 18-pounder which was fired in defiance of Santa Anna’s demand to surrender. This location is next to the Low Barrack which served as the main gate. You can see part of an outer fortification around the entrance Looking to the southeast, there are a row of cottonwood trees along the avenue known as The Alameda. This is Commerce Street today.
The Plaza de Valero is to the south. Now the site of the gazebo and Menger Hotel, in 1836, it was occupied by small jacales and a few stone houses. After the Mexican army took advantage of these structures for cover in an early skirmish, the Texians burned the closest jacales to the ground.
Continue panning to the right to see the acequia that ran along the outside of the west wall. This ditch was made by the Mexican army during its occupation the previous year replacing one that ran inside the compound. The town of San Antonio de Bexar is across the river and can be easily recognized by the San Fernando church. Its bell tower is flying the red flag indicating that no quarter should be given to the Texians. A careful observer can also spot the footbridge over the river to the southwest as well as the back of the Veramendi house.
Inside the compound, along the west wall, a partially filled ditch marks the remains of the old acequia. Looking north, you can see the blacksmith shop with outside forge and the thatched-roof Treviño house. Pan to the right to see the north wall cannon platforms, north row houses, granary and convento (or Long Barrack). You can just see the church of the Alamo above the thatched-roof kitchen.
This render involved the completion of the details in the blacksmith/forge, improved thatch texture and extensive “landscaping.” The memory requirements for the scene made it necessary to render using the CPU. The 6000 x 3000 pixel render took 4 hours to complete.
September 16, 2017
A 360 degree panorama of the Alamo Plaza as it might have appeared in 1836. The point of view is about 17 yards from the southwest corner of the Long Barrack (Convento).
Pan with mouse or move mobile device to see the complete scene.
Just to the right of the Alamo church you can just see the palisade over the low stone wall. The cottonwoods of the Alameda are visible beyond the palisade. To the right of the low stone wall is the kitchen which abuts the Low Barrack and main gate. The 18-pounder cannon is on the platform at the southwest corner. Next to it on the west wall is the blacksmith shop. The Treviño House (Travis’ headquarters) is the thatched-roof building in the middle of the west wall. The defense of the north wall consists of two substantial cannon platforms. Continue to see the north row houses, granary and convento.
Image rendered in Blender.
September 2, 2016
This is an experiment to use the YouTube 360 viewer for panoramic images.
I can now do 360 videos with animation (although this one is static).
In order to view this on iPhone/iPad, you need to use the YouTube app.
August 30, 2016
Facebook recently introduced a panorama viewer which lets a consumer view a 360 degree image by panning the mouse or moving a mobile device. The viewer requires an equirectangular image with a 2:1 aspect ratio and certain embedded metadata.
I created a scene in Blender with an equirectangular camera placed in the southern courtyard of the Alamo.
This site does not support panoramas but the scene can be viewed on my Facebook page: Alamo 2.0 or with a direct link to the post: Panorama Image (link may not work if you are not signed in to Facebook).
Panoramas give an immersive feeling–especially when viewed on a mobile device that can pan the image as the device is moved around. They are quick to download and work on just about any modern browser that supports HTML5–unlike a game engine presentation. Panoramas even support 360 videos.
An app could display a map with hot spots for 360 views or even use geo-fencing to pop up a view when the user walks to a certain place in San Antonio. Adding characters would place the viewer in the middle of a battle scene. Rendering in stereo for Google Cardboard would complete the VR experience. I am pretty excited about the uses of this technology for presenting my model.