• How Does A 360° Spin Work?

    Interactive images. Have you ever seen one? If you’ve done any sort of online shopping recently, you likely have. These are the images that at first look like…well, images. But once you get closer, you realize you have the ability to move the product–to spin it 360° by simply holding and dragging.  A large number of major retailers (including Home Depot, Walmart, Lowes, and Amazon) use this feature–and many others are jumping on board. 

    But how does this work? It’s a movie, right? Well, surprisingly, no. If it was a movie, it would play straight through and–while it would allow you to fast forward and rewind–you wouldn’t exactly be able to move it back and forth at your own discretion, venturing off of the actual movie track.  

    These spins are actually made up of a series of images that are digitally “stitched together”. Imagine an item sitting on a turntable that rotates at its center. At specific points, a photograph is taken, one after another, until the turntable has made a complete circle.  

    For the majority of the interactive 360°  images you see, there are 24 individual images. However, some spins contain 36 images, while others are made up of 72 frames. The benefit of more images is the smoother spin, the cost is a larger file size.  

    The ability to see and “play” with a 360° spin is through a JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) file—A special text file that references and displays the series of sequential images. Any modern web browser (or any other application that can interpret JSON) will then be able to “stitch” the images together, giving the appearance of one continuous image or movie. This is not much different than a simple flip book animation you may have played with as a child… just slightly more technical. 

    Below is an example of a 24-image spin: 

    And here are the 24 sequential images used to make that spin. 

    Some 360° spins have multiple layers, or “rows”. Depending on the item, a second row–or even a third–could show the viewer more detail. 

    Each row typically represents the sequence of images taken at a slightly different elevation. Imagine you are looking at an item straight on and then you rotate it. You will get a pretty good idea of how the item looks from all sides. However, if you look at the item from a higher angle, you can see a different perspective with even more detail.  

    Below is an example of a 2-row spin: 

    And here are the 48 sequential images that make up this 2-row spin. 

    Most 360°  spins that you may come across on the internet are single-row spins—About 75% of them. Whether or not you need multiple rows depends on your preference and the nature of the item. Does your item have drawers, doors, and panels that open and move? Does it look entirely different from above than it does straight on? Do these things effect a consumer’s inclination to purchase (and keep) the item? Then you might need a multi-row spin! Is your product fairly straightforward? Can you see most of what you need to see when looking at it from one angle? Then you will probably be okay with a single-row spin.  

    Either way, all 360°  spins provide another dimension to your online images when compared to a single static image.  

    For more examples of 360° spins click here

    Read our “10 Ways 360° Photography Can Grow eCommerce Business” blog to learn more on the benefits of an interactive 360° spin. 

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