Christmas ball photography hack WORKING!
A $20 360 degree panorama solution.
Let me first say NO that pink coat is not mine. This was done at my parents’ house.
I’m very very pleased to day that today I was finally able to accomplish my dream of providing a cheap way for the average person to do special 3D 360 degree panorama. I found that if one simply shoots a spherical object from above, they can capture a whole 360 degrees worth of image data. I used this cheap ( and admittedly crappy Christmas tree ball). To do this I disabled the camera’s flash, set a timer for 10 seconds, and moved my tripod so the ball was in full view. I then stepped back and allowed the ball and camera to do their magic. This is the result, look at all that image data tucked away inside there! The FINAL 360 degree product is at the very bottom if you don’t like to read.
Now I used GIMP to convert the image from a polar map to a normal rectangle. The result will look squished but we’ll fix that.
Be SURE to crop your image first so the sphere is in the center and the image is square not rectangular.
Now we are ready to begin the magic.
Filters -> Distorts -> Polar Coordinates
Uncheck “To Polar” Your image should unfold into a square.
This is the result.
You can see that we are getting there. Now I went to Image -> Scale Image and scailed the width by a factor of 314 % (This is PI times the height!).
I’m not sure that that is the correct width, readers please correct me if my math is incorrect.
Here is the final result, please keep in mind this is a proof of concept. The Christmas ball had many imperfections in the surface. You can probably get amazing results with one of those half dome safety mirrors like retail stores use and a professional camera. I’m just a simple inventor, this is probably a 15 dollar project if you have the camera already. According to one commenter, my final picture might be out of proportion please read the comments.
Please readers, feel free to correct, comment, and improve on my methods.