Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stereographic Projection of 360 Degree Panoramas

My World in Autumn, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

If you want to try something completely different and have a lot of time on your hands, put on your widest lens and shoot a panorama which covers everything around you (including straight up and down). Run that through the free Hugin panorama software, and viola!

I have to warn you that it's a steep learning curve: it took me roughly 24 hours to produce this result (partially due to a nearly 1GB TIFF file initial result). Until I've done a few more the best option is to refer you to the many Flickr groups which have tutorials posted in the discussions: www.flickr.com/search/groups/?q=Hugin

For example, the group Create Your Own Planets www.flickr.com/groups/createyourownplanets/ offers tips on the shooting end. First you put on your widest lens, set one white balance, exposure and manually set focus (so the information in overlapping shots will be easier for the program to identify and blend). Then with the camera in portrait/vertical (sideways) orientation you rotate around and take overlapping photos in a circle (each one overlapping the previous one roughly 1/4 frame). You need to cover everything, so at 10mm you'll need to take at least 2 rows in a circle, one almost catching your feet and one almost reaching the sky straight up. Then you take one shot straight up, and one straight down. Tou do all of this while trying to have the camera always shoot from the same point (rotating around a point roughly halfway down the lens, which can be done best with a panoramic tripod head). Here's a discussion with more detail on the shooting:
http://www.flickr.com/groups/createyourownplanets/discuss/72157606038572766/ including a link to tutorials on this site: www.panoguide.com/howto/

Here's a discussion in that same group with 2 links to tutorials on the whole process, including software: www.flickr.com/groups/createyourownplanets/discuss/72157594556380967
Now I need to go read the tutorials. : )

Good luck!

P.S. - For extra credit, once you get the basic process down, you can try integrating the result into a video, like the opening sequence here, and the timelapse at 4:00! www.vimeo.com/12279966