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Photographing a spherical reflector and post-processing the image to produce a one-shot panorama is not a new idea; what’s really cool about Ryan Burnside’s recent project is how cheap and accessible he’s made the process. Besides the obligatory digital camera and computer, Ryan’s method requires just two essentially free tools: 1) a mirrored Xmas ball, and 2) the GIMP open-source image manipulation program:

  1. Photograph the Xmas ball.
  2. Crop the image to a square circumscribing the ball.
  3. Run GIMP’s “Polar Coordinates” filter.
  4. Scale the aspect ratio as needed.

The exact scaling of the aspect ratio is a matter of some ongoing debate in the comment thread on Ryan’s blog. It occurs to me, also, that a lens-distortion correction step might be useful in this case as well. In any case, once you get a post-processing protocol established, automating it using Script-Fu, Gimp’s native macro language, should be straightforward. [via Hack a Day]

Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.


3 Responses to Ultra Simple 360-degree Photo Hack

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  1. Some time ago I did more or less the same, but with a mirrored light bulb and 360 video. Here:
    http://hackaday.com/2010/01/04/360-degree-video-for-next-to-nothing/

  2. Anonymous on said:

    This is great, I am going to go try this right away!

  3. Anonymous on said:

    I love how simple it is!

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