Google Creative Lab announced Wednesday the launch of Sprayscape — a virtual reality-based camera app for Android smartphones on the Android Experiments website.
Google calls it “a perfectly imperfect VR-ish camera.”
Sprayscape allows users to capture 360-degree spherical photos by pointing their phones at the subject and tapping the screen to capture the frame. The app allows users to “spray” photos — use their fingers to capture different parts of their environment. It doesn’t stitch photos together like a panorama, but rather places them on top of each other.
"We're interested in exploring ways that anyone with a smartphone can become a VR creator. By taking the pressure of 'perfect capture' out of the equation, we hope people will have fun and get creative with the times and places they use the app," Glenn Cochon, senior designer at Google Creative Lab, told CNET.
Users can capture moving objects by tapping and holding their screen while pointing at them with the phone’s camera to spray content over a spherical canvas.
The app captures Sprayscapes using Cardboard SDK to read gyroscope data and NatCam Unity plugin to control the camera. It renders a camera feed to a texture at 60 frames per second using the phone’s GPU. The three.js web viewer takes the flat image and wraps it into a sphere, making it navigable on mobile by panning, tilting and moving your device.
Users need to sign in to their Google accounts to share the Sprayscapes, which are stored on Google Drive. They can also share a Sprayscape on a text message or social media. However, to view a Sprayscape properly, users will need a VR viewer such as Google Cardboard.