360 Panoramic Digital Painting: Painting for a virtual world

“Person painting while wearing an Oculus virtual reality headset” by Billetto Editorial on Unsplash

This article talks about 360 digital painting.

It was around last year when I learnt of something called 360 panoramic digital painting. I was browsing ArtStation looking at all the beautiful artwork, when I came across some work by an artist called Yog Joshi. My first thought was, “wow that's cool”, followed by “how’s he done that then?”. As it happens, Yog Joshi included a link to a detailed guide on how he had created the picture.

I did some more research on the subject and found another method for creating 360 illustrations by first converting an equirectangular grid into a cube map, and then drawing the views of your picture into the correct squares, then converting it back into a equirectangular picture. Sounds complicated? I thought so as well.

The new version of Photoshop has the ability to paint in a 3D environment (See Lester Banks tutorial https://lesterbanks.com/2017/04/draw-paint-360-panoramas-photoshop/), or you can use 3D software to help you create these sort of images. Jama Jurabaev has some tutorials using this method. There are several different ways to do this sort of image depending on your technical abilty and software preference.

If you type “how to do 360 painting” into Google you will find many different tutorials on the subject. There are technical hurdles involved in this process, but if you Google them enough you will find a way. I’ll be honest, it sounds technical, complicated and difficult to do, and on the whole I think it is. My main observation of 360 painting is the importance of basic perspective drawing. Aside from that, the technical hurdles needed made me decide to put it on a shelf for another day.

The increasing use of virtual reality will likely make this a useful skill to learn. It could open new ways of communicating and telling story’s for artists, Illustrators and animators. As a viewer of these sort of paintings, I can say they are fun and immersing.

Some dedicated software for 360 panoramic painting is being developed called PanoPainter. PanoPainter aims to make the process more intuitive for artists and illustrators. They launched a website and a Kickstarter if you want more information.

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