Embedding 360° images in WordPress

Since getting my Ricoh Theta S, I have used various methods to display my images here. This is a post that brings together my currently recommended methods, to show folk using the same kit what can be done.

Note that this WordPress blog is self-hosted, which gives me free rein over what methods and plugins I use. Others using hosted solutions such as WordPress.com may be more limited.

WordPress plugin: Cardboard

This plugin allows you to host the images directly in the WordPress blog. Operation is easy – simply upload the file, and tell it to display with no alignment and full size. The plugin will automatically insert the correct cardboard code. This is now my preferred way to display pictures. Disadvantage is that there is currently a bug preventing the full-screen display to work, although I think that is my installation, and not the plugin as a whole. Advantage is that it is simple, and everything is hosted in one place.

Embedded image from theta360.com

This involves uploading the picture to Ricoh’s own site, and embedding it in the wordpress. Disadvantages are that it is means maintaining the picture(s) and blog content in two different places, and you cannot get rid of the Theta360 branding. Advantages are that it works, and that it provides zoom controls and an easy click-through to the site, and from there to a full screen version.

Covent Garden – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

Embedded image from Flickr

Lastly, this involves uploading the picture to Flickr, and then embedding it in the wordpress. Like theta360.com, it has the disadvantage that you need to maintain the picture(s) and blog content in two different places, and once again there is branding. However, if I was to keep my images on a 3rd party site, it would be Flickr, rather than theta360.com, as it simply has more options to categorise and curate your images, with the option to create separate albums for different sets of pictures.

equirectangular

So while I started using theta360.com, I don’t use it that much now. For one off images, I use the Cardboard plugin, while for images that I have already uploaded to Flickr, to share with friends as albums, I use embedding from Flickr.

One other notable option is Holobuilder, but that really for linked series of 360° pictures.

Further research: WordPress plugin: WP-VR-View

Another plugin WP-VR-View seems to give even better results. Disadvantage is that it isn’t completely integrated with the Media Library. Rather than just clicking on an item, you have to look up the full URL of the image and paste it into a dialog. The advantage of this is that you can embed both images from your blog’s Media Library *and* external 360° images. There also seems to be support for stereoscopic images and video, but I haven’t tried that yet.

Furthermore, the full screen option actually works! Looks like we may have a contender.

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