LESSON 1 - The Basics
HINT - Click on the Headings below to jump to the point in the video relevant to that section.
1. On the top menu bar select Window so see the drop-down menu.
2. Select Extensions then select Drawn2 VR
3. A window will pop up and you will see a "Create New" button. Click on that.
4. You are presented with options relating to Image Size, Field of View, Grid/Background Image and the option to load your own Custom Grid/Background Image.
IF YOU WANT TO GET STARTED RIGHT AWAY, THE DEFAULT OPTIONS WORK GREAT!
5. Choose your options. Click "Ok" to begin!
6. When you click "Ok" you will see a portion of the Grid/Background you selected loaded into the canvas. A secondary window containing the Drawn2 "Control Panel" will appear.
IMPORTANT - If the Drawn2 Control Panel does not open automatically (once the grid/background loads on the canvas) then go back to the top menu bar. Select Window, then Extensions, and select Drawn2 VR to spawn the Control Panel (THIS IS A KNOWN BUG).
Navigating 360 Space - To navigate the 360-degree space, the Drawn2 control panel has a Grid/Background "Preview Window" that can be controlled by clicking, holding and dragging the cursor to move the window throughout the space.
Changing Your View - You can quickly change your view by double-clicking any area of the "Preview Window." Your "Photoshop Canvas" will then update instantly to reflect the latitude and longitude you have selected.
Layer Management - When you double-click on a new latitude/longitude, a group folder is created automatically that holds all the layers and groups you make while at that particular latitude/longitude.
YOU CAN USE ANY PHOTOSHOP TOOL WITHIN DRAWN2. You can draw, drag and drop, and copy and paste any image into the "Photoshop Canvas."
Updating the Preview Window - The "Preview Window" is a real-time preview of your entire 360-degree project. You will notice a button that looks like an internet browser "refresh symbol" below the Preview Window to the left. Press this symbol anytime to update the Preview Window to reflect your current Photoshop Canvas.
Drawn2 allows you to see the Preview Window and an Equirectangular Map simultaneously. You can navigate the 360-degree space by clicking and dragging the white square within the "Equi-map" or using the arrow keys on your keyboard to move the Preview Window one notch at a time for increased accuracy. Press Enter to instantly change the "Photoshop Canvas" to match the "Preview Window.”
Zoom in on any area of the Preview Window by clicking on the Preview Window and using the mouse's scroll wheel, or by using the slider at the bottom left of the Window.
LESSON 2 – Moving Layers & Saving Files
Let’s say you want to move one of the group folders (representing a particular latitude/longitude) below or above another latitude/longitude folder. You may want to do this to because an image is blocking some other image, or you wish to obscure another image purposely.
Moving a Group Folder - In the Drawn2 folder setup, there is always a "Composite Image" that sits above and links to its corresponding latitude/longitude group folder. It is this "Composite Image" that needs to be moved in order to successfully move the latitude/longitude group folder that it pairs with.
You SHOULD NOT move the "Composite Image" into another folder, or individual layers into other folders. But don't worry if you accidentally do this. Drawn2 will automatically notify you and the error will be corrected.
One of the coolest features of Drawn2 is that you don't have to constantly look around for where an image is in 360 space. Just by clicking on the layer, you can instantly teleport to the latitude/longitude that it's associated with.
To move Individual layers and image segments, simply use the "Copy," "Copy Merged," or "Cut" function in Photoshop, then move to the latitude/longitude you desire, and use the "Paste" function within Photoshop.
There is a lot that can be done to enhance the sense of image depth when crafting 360-degree images. One simple way is using shadows. If a character has their shadow cast onto the floor, there is an added spatial connection between the forward plane and the floor plane. The more overlapping visual connections between planes, the better and more beautiful your 360-degree image will be.
If you would like to reopen your work in Photoshop later, simply save your work as a standard .psd Photoshop file. A .vr file is created automatically that pairs with the .psd file.
To save as a lossless .png showing the entirety of your 360 image in a common VR Image format (such as equirectangular, cubemap, or cube faces), you will need to click the drop-down menu at the upper right hand corner of the Drawn2 "Preview Window.” From this drop-down menu, select "Save VR Image.”
LESSON 3 – Using Tags
Drawn2 has a unique "tagging" feature that lets you isolate specific content and images across a 360-degree space. Tagging lets you save images of a certain category as separate equirectangular or cubemap images, which has many effective uses.
To make a tag simply follow this formula. (Tag Name, "dash," Notes) for example (Trees - Large Tree One). The first thing typed is the tag name. This will populate the drop-down list under the "Preview Window.” Using the same tag name on different layers will classify them together in the Drawn2 "Tag Drop-down List." For example, if multiple layers have the tag "Trees" then they will be universally controlled under that tag within the drop-down menu.
Let’s say you have a 360-degree scene that has multiple categories of images spread across the 360-degree space. For this example, we have "trees, characters, and buildings.” If you want to apply an effect or a look to images of a particular category only, then this becomes impossible once they are merged into a 360 format like equirectangular or cubemap.
With our Tagging System, you can isolate categories of images and layers and save them separately. Once saved separately, they can be tweaked and effected exclusively, which has many useful applications.
Select a tag from the drop-down menu. You will see the tag appear at the top of the menu. Left click the tag’s name. This will trigger a load bar (please be patient). Drawn2 will reconfigure the visibility of all the layers across the 360 space and leave the matching tagged layers visible only.
IMPORTANT: After the loading finishes, you will notice that the canvas window and layers now show the visibility of selected tagged layers only. The preview window WILL NOT UPDATE until you press the "refresh button.”
IMPORTANT: Save tagged image groups with a transparent background. This allows you to stack them easily.
After saving the VR images, you can isolate and affect different categories of the image one at a time (this is useful in After Effects as well). We were inspired by Walt Disney's Multi-plane camera, and our goal was to create a 360-degree version of that system.
Hold the control key on your keyboard to select multiple layers at once (you can also use the shift key). As before, you will see the selected tag items populate the top of the drop-down menu. Left click the top of the drop-down menu and a load bar will appear (wait patiently). The visibility will turn off for everything except the selected tags.
IMPORTANT: The preview window WILL NOT UPDATE until you press the "refresh button.”