360 view in magento

As much as we love Magento as a great ecommerce platform, one of the basic functions that we would love to see implemented is 360 product photography. We have been watching for years that online stores want the technology, but they are not ready for the headache of the technology. This is a great update to an already great platform… Hint Hint

In the mean time, we have come up with a novel way to showcase your products on your magento product page with only a few lines of code. We have made this change on a few implementations of Magento and it seems to work out nicely.

On App>Design>YourTheme>Template>Catalog>Product>View>Media.phtml we added the following

$vrfilename = $_SERVER{‘DOCUMENT_ROOT’} .’/360view/’.basename($_product->getSKU(), “.jpg”).’.swf’;
if (file_exists($vrfilename)) {
echo “<li><a onclick=\”flash_in_lightbox.embed(‘”.’http://www.xyz.com/360view/’.basename($_product->getSKU(), “.jpg”).’.swf’.”‘);_gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘360view’, ‘Open’]);\” href=\””.’https://www.photospherix.com/360view_sample.jpg’.”\” rel=\”lightbox\” title=\”360 View\”><img src=\”/360view/360view.jpg\” alt=\”360 product view\”></a></li>”;
} else {
echo “<!– ” .$vrfilename. ” * –>”;

By doing this, It looks in the 360view folder for a file named “THESKU”.swf and if it finds the file, It adds a 360 view icon to the end of the Additional Images folder. All we have to do to add the 360’s to the site, is name them with the sku number and they show up on the site. In the included example, we used a lightbox with flash option to display the 360’s.

Take a look: 360 views in Magento

Out in the wild

After a trip to the west coast, I had time to spare on the plane. I did a little thinking and here is what I cam up with.

The photography industry is crazy, it is fickle and it is needed. How many products are on the market today? How do they stand out from their nearest neighbor? How do they get to market? and How do they get in the hands on consumers? All of these questions have different answers depending on the item that is in questions, but they all have the same cycles, needs, and expectations. So here is an example of a new widget by John. Now remember that Johns widget is a product, you can touch it, feel it, hold it and look at it. It also has to be shipped to the retailer, it has to be built, and it has to be delivered to the consumer. John’s widget is the best case in point of a hand held item that I can come up with. It is a glove… Now John has worked hard to come up with the best glove he can cream of. He has worked out all of the kinks that come with a new glove. This product is the best possible glove you could dream of.

Now the problems come in. John has just started making this glove. He wants to get it to consumers, but he has to tackle some hurdles first. These roadblocks are set up in the system to streamline the lifecycle of products in the consumer world, but it also makes it more difficult to break into that market.

We will start with the first hurdle. No one knows who John is, and the sure do not know about Johns gloves. This is the first glove that he has put on the market. This has nothing to do with John or his glove. So he starts out trying to call possible retailers and distributors of his glove. He can not get past the gatekeepers in the system. They do not let him into the decision makers. That is the job of the gatekeepers. His glove may be the best glove ever to be designed, but until someone sees it, it is not worth anything. So John works day and night trying to find a way to get in front of his prospects. So finally after more time than he wants to admit, he gets to a product purchaser, and as we said before, they love the glove, it is the best glove they have ever come across. THE FIRST HURDLE IS CROSSED.

Just because the first hurdle is done, we are not to the gravy train. Just because the purchaser loves the glove does not mean that they are ready to buy any. They want to know how it has performed in the market place. John has no track record for this product. He has made a few different products, but this is his first glove. So he needs to get the glove in the hands of some people that are willing to promote his glove to show how great the glove is. He starts by going to the local hand show and shows his glove to every hand aficionado that he can find. The eat up the glove, they wear them everyday. The want to tell everyone about the glove, but they have nowhere to tell people to get their own gloves, but the SECOND HURDLE IS PASSED.

The parts are starting to come together, he has people that love his glove and he has a retailer that is willing to carry the gloves. Now he needs to get a manufacturer that can make the gloves for him. He tries local, no luck. He tries to find a manufacturer in the states, but their costs do not line up. He is even willing to have the gloves imported from over seas, but he is having troubles communicating with the manufacturers. Finally he finds a way to communicate with the overseas manufacturer, with a little help, he finds someone to build the gloves. Now he no longer needs to build the gloves in his basement and the THIRD HURDLE IS CROSSED.

He now has a product, market and a retailer. He is in the business of making gloves. But this is where the fourth and final hurdle shows its head. He has to have a way to showcase the greatest glove on earth to millions of prospective buyers. Being that he is a small company, he can not send out thousands of sample gloves, and he is drop shipping all of the gloves from internet sales so  he needs to showcase his gloves the best possible way. He works to find the best glove models money can but, he has a limited budget, so he ends up with a 3 fingered hand model. with his images complete, he has the FOURTH HURDLE COMPLETED

Now the lesson in this story, if he would have tackled the fourth hurdle first, he would have been able to inform the retailer about his product, showcased his product to the early adopters, found a manufacturer in a universal visual language and revealed the best glove on Earth to the consumers all with great product photography.

Now in no way am I saying that great product photography can do the dishes, cure national debit or make it sunny everyday, but it can make the life cycle of a product much better. You can even add to this, 360 product photography, that can say millions of things about your product in one set of images, or you can go about it the hard way like John did, it is your choice.


Multi Row 360 Photography

Sometimes you want to show every angle of your product. Other times you want it to stand out beyond everyone else in the market. Multi-row 360’s are a great way to showcase your products. Let the user play with the product online. They can see it through every twist and turn. The process is not easy, but the end result can make the most mundane product more interesting.


360 Still Life

Navy Federal has added a great interface to their different offerings. With the help of the staff at Fitgerald + CO, They have a still life of their offerings that evyone can take for a spin. This is a change for the guys at PhotoSpherix. We have done so many single items, that we had forgotten that you could do a great setup of items and use it more for intaction than just showcasing a product. Do you have a product group or family that you want to show in a more interesting way, call PhotoSpherix and we will help you out.

Take a look at what Navy Federal has done.

yowza 360 Exercise Equipment

A great new client came to us the other day. They have a product that the staff at PhotoSpherix knew nothing about, and they wanted to showcase the product. After looking up the description of the product(Exercise Machine), we starting the photography.Yowza Fitness wanted the final version of the 360 spins to be showcased in Magic Toolboxes Magic 360 viewer. With a little bit of changes to our process, we had the final version ready for the client in short order.
Standard Display
Magic360 Display


Product Photography

The team at Easley Winery wanted us to shoot their new-look bottles for their launch and we were happy to oblige. this is one client that we don’t mind doing stock-for-work arrangements with!

Photospherix is one of the country’s leading product shot studios and whether you need stills or 360 product shots, we would love to talk to you.


Museum 360 views

The Indiana State Museum has teamed up with PhotoSpherix to create their virtual galleries. With our on-site photo studio, it was possible to produce 360 imagery without the cost or inconvenience of shipping these un replaceable products.

Click here to read the full press release by:
J. Mugele is a social networking outreach coordinator and content writer for The Indianapolis Children’s Museum and Angie’s List.


360 Hotsposts

Eva-Dry came to photospherix with a problem. Their customers loved their products, but a new customer just didn’t get it. They wanted a way to demonstrate their product online. They wanted the user to hold the product in their hands and examine it. They also needed to tell the story of how the product works. Hotspots for their 360 degree product rotations were the answer. With two or three clicks, the user knows how the product works and how to assemble the product when they receive it. This has greatly reduced Eva-Drys phone and email questions about the product as well as virtually removed product returns from lack of information.

Here is a link to 360 product view hotspots in action.


Sanyo Biomedical 360 views

This project for Sanyo BioMedical is a great example of taking the technology of 3d product photography and including it into a full flash site for a new or existing product. The group at Sanyo wanted to find a way get more heat for the release of their new incubator. They come to PhotoSpherix for help getting more motion in their product display.

Here is a link to an Sanyo’s BioMedical Site.http://www.sterisonic.com/


360 view of furniture

The Work and the rigs are growing. This summer, PhotoSpherix added an 8ft platform to the list of rotation devices available in the studio. This platform holds up to 2000lbs with a rotation resolution of 48 stops per rotation. This makes it possible to get that great shot of you larger object. TV’s, refridgerators, lawn tractors even pop up tents can be shot using this new equipment.

Here is a link to an example of an oversized 360 product view.