How many images make a perfect 360 spin?

We’ve had lots of clients ask us how many angles/images make up the perfect spin. It seems some studios have conflicting opinions but as we spent many hours testing over the years we thought you’d be interested to hear our take on the subject.

Our research shows that (apart from displaying your product at its best) a spin needs to meet three objectives. It needs to load quickly; use very little bandwidth and retain a smooth appearance. A large amount of images will produce a smooth spin, but will load slowly and use a lot of bandwidth. A small amount of images will load quickly and use less bandwidth, but can create a jumpy spin. So how do you find the best balance?

Firstly, where are you planning to display your 360 spin? Is it on the web, on your eCommerce shopping site or in an offline presentation? Is it going to be displayed on low resolution screens, or are there plans for large screen resolutions and television? These are all factors you need to consider before choosing how many images to have in your spin.

Below, are four different scenarios, including the three image totals which our research shows gives the best results:

Too few images

Before we show you what we offer, we thought we’d show you the result of using only 9 images in a spin. Sadly, some studios still produce spins like this, which is odd, because the set up is the same, so surely it would make sense to shoot more images. Anyway, to us, less than 36 images in a spin is too jumpy. It lacks finesse and seems a bit amateurish. Certainly not something which will make your product stand out from the crowd. So let’s have a look at what we produce in the Swiftspin Studio:

360s for Web – 36 images

When displaying your 360 spins on the web, we highly recommend using 36 images. Broadband speeds vary and our tests show that 36 images ensure that loading times are quick whilst the spin remains smooth. It’s also one shot every 10 degrees on a turntable so our production systems can be standardised.

Another point to consider is your website’s bandwidth. You may have a limit if you use one of the spin hosting companies. This could easily be exceeded if you’ve got lots of spins containing a huge number of images. It’s even more likely if you have a lot of visitors landing on your website. This is why we believe 36 images at sensible dimensions (subject for another day) is the perfect balance for displaying 360 spins on the web.

360s for Offline Presentations – 72 images

When displaying your 360s offline, or in presentations from a local machine, you don’t need to rely on your internet download speed. This means you can use more images to create your spin and make it a lot smoother. 72 images per spin offers a smoother rotation. You can use more images, but it’s not really necessary.

The reason we can allow double the images in these 360s, is because there is no need to download images from a website. The 72 images will already be on your hard drive, which means there is no waiting or loading bars. The spin will load almost instantly.

Please note: the sample to the left has been downloaded from the web so may not appear that different to the other samples.

360s for HD TV – 144 images

Many clients ask about high definition 360 spins, and whilst they are not interactive, they are a stunning way to display your product. If you are planning to display your 360 spins on a television screen (which more than likely has HD quality these days) this is the perfect way to show your product in its best light. They work particularly well in YouTube videos.

The product spins a lot slower, with 144 images, which displays a much smoother rotation. When creating an HD spin it will more than likely be output as a movie file (mov, mp4 etc) which takes a little longer to render, but the final result is well worth the wait.

You also get the benefits of 144 still shots to choose from as well as the ability to create 36 and 72 image spins!