Fun Photography Projects – 360 & Cloning. Any Other Ideas?

Recently I received a link to a YouTube video demonstrating how to spin a camera around the CN Tower. The video was posted a little over a month ago (17th December 2012) and has received around 125,000 views so far. One can make use of Google maps and street view to find the positions from which you would need to take a set of photographs in a circle around a tall object of interest. Then with a bit of work in Photoshop and your favorite video editor create a nice 360 – QuickTime Object VR like animation.

More recently (11th Jan 2013) a YouTube video was posted of the Space Needle in Seattle using the same technique as the CN tower video. I visited Seattle a few years ago and would have loved to have given this a go after seeing the results of the video below.

Another fun task is that of Multiplicity or essentially cloning yourself multiple times. A nice demo of one technique that could be used for this is demonstrated in the video below. Towards the end of the video the author mentions that he would give a ‘prize’ for somebody who include a hundred clones within an image. How difficult would it be to create an image with a hundred clones, or perhaps more importantly how long do you think this would take to achieve? The following post on PetaPixel breaks the cloning process down into seven steps.

I am quite tempted to give the hundred+ multiplicity challenge a go, using the setting of a good sized computer lab. Could have 50 or so clones sitting to desktop computers, perhaps another 20/30 sitting along a very wide windowsill (reading an interesting selection of books ranging from photography to C and Java!). Then would need to squeeze in another 20 or so clones in the remaining open areas. A tripod set at perhaps seven to eight feet should provide a good perspective allowing the full depth of the room to be observed and the clones to readily be visible throughout the image. The video below is another nice example of multiplicity.

Multiplicity in the Studio – Breakdown
Ensure the camera is on a good heavy tripod.
Camera settings to try as a starting point.
Manual Mode.
Sutter Speed 200, Aperture F8.
While lens set to Auto Focus, focus on an area where the subject will be, then switch over to Manual Focus so it remains the same throughout the photoshoot.

Should have one or two lights setup to illuminate the background.
Subject should be 6/7 feet away from the background to help avoid shadows being formed.
The subject itself should be lit so another light (Key light) should be used, to help fill in & create softer shadows and additional & less powerful light may be used.

Combining the images in Photoshop
File > Scripts > Load Files into Stack.
Browse for and select the images taken & press OK.
Within the Layers Window, select each image (layer) and press the Layer Mask Button.
Select the top layer, then with a black paint brush paint out the subject, making them disappear. Pressing Ctrl + I will invert the mask, hiding everything else bar the area painted out.
Carry out the masking process for all other layers.

Once finished, one may go to Layer > Flatten Image to flatten all the layers into one.  A better option of course if you ever wanted to edit it further would be to save the file as a PSD to retain all the layer & masking information. To create a flattened image you could simply save the file as a JPEG.

You may also wish to crop the image to a particular size or aspect ratio (Image > Crop).

Are these fun / Interesting Projects to Try?
Do you think some project tasks along the lines above would be interesting for a group of a hundred or so first year computing students doing a module looking at graphics / photography. Do you know of any other fun and interesting examples be they YouTube demos or online tutorial example walkthroughs?

Some Possibilities for 360 Animations in Aberdeen

The tall chimney stack

The Big Wheel at the Beach

The Obelisk at Duthie Park

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