Facebook recently rolled out the ability for anyone to upload a 360 panorama or photosphere that can be clicked through on desktop, viewed with certain VR headsets, or viewed by moving your device around on mobile. Flickr introduced a similar feature last December when it launched Flickr VR. I’ve been using that to upload 360 panoramic screenshots from ActiveWorlds, so was looking forward to doing the same on Facebook.
Unfortunately I quickly discovered Facebook wasn’t automatically recognizing the screenshots from AW. Some googling revealed that Facebook requires images to have this meta tag to work:
I can view that this is missing from the raw metadata in Photoshop, but Photoshop doesn’t let you directly edit the raw meta data. There are some software tools to do this, but I found a simpler method. By extracting the raw metadata from properly formatted panoramas, I was able to create an XMP template I can now import in Photoshop to make Facebook read any photo as a 360 photosphere.
How to add missing equirectangular photosphere metadata in Photoshop (CC 2015)
- Download the XMP template with required projection meta tag and unzip it.
- Open the photo you wish to make into a panorama in Photoshop. 6000 x 3000 pixel images work well (this is what AW produces)
- Go to File > File Info and select the Raw Data tab
- Click “Template” and choose “Import…”
- Navigate to where you saved the XMP file in step 1 and click “Open.” In the dialog that opens, choose “Keep original metadata, but append matching properties from template”
- The new metadata with the equirectangular tag should now be added.
- Click OK. You can now save the photo and upload it to Facebook. If everything worked, your post dialog will say “Say something about this 360 photo…” and a globe icon will appear on the thumbnail.
- Congrats! You’ve now manually created a 360 photo.
As a sidenote, if you’re interested in capturing 360 photos in the real world, new versions of the Android camera app have the feature built in. If you’re on iOS, you can download Google’s Street View app, which has a 360 capture mode. Street View has supported uploading photospheres for a few years now.
If you’re looking for a simple app for uploading and viewing photospheres using a headset like Google Cardboard, I recommend Round.me.
If you’re having trouble getting iOS panoramas to upload as photospheres to Facebook, I’ve found Facebook often requires the panorama to be the full width, meaning you can’t stop early. If you have a differently sized image, you can try working from an image template instead.
- Download this image.
- Copy the image you’re trying to get to work as a panorama into a new layer in this document.
- Save the image as a jpg.
I’ve uploaded a basic template for full 360 photospheres. Add your images on top, keep the document the same size, and save as JPG, making sure to retain metadata.
Facebook’s published some extensive documentation for editing 360 photos and injecting metadata, but I think my solutions’s simpler. They also have some templates of their own which are useful.