April 6th, 2006
360 Made Easy
So I've been meaning to do this project for quite a while. You can spend tons of money on a professional rotation tray to create 360 photography, or you can build one yourself essentially free. Me? I'll choose the free. Here's the thing. Getting a neat 360 rotation animation is really nothing more than getting a still photograph of the subject from multiple angles. And that's achieved by nothing more complicated than a rotating plate. Really.
Now, you can really set this up in any number of ways. What I chose to do was really pretty simple. Follows thusly:
- Cut a circle out of a cardboard pizza box (using a large bowl as a template)
- Spray paint it black so light doesn't reflect up on the subject
- Place it on another box and push a nail through the center (axis)
- Mark off equal segments of the disc. I placed a clock on it and marked off 24 increments. This would be way easier with a computer.
And that's really about it. That's all you need. I suppose you could use the rotating tray from a microwave, or a plastic plate or something...you see? It's really actually quite simple. The important parts are that it can rotate cleanly - hence the nail in the center - and that it's marked evenly around the circumference.
After photographing the subject at equal rotations, it's really just a matter of compiling them all in Photoshop and deciding what to do with them. I've imported them into Flash for a nice smooth play, but you certainly could create an animated GIF.
Spo check out some of what I created using this technique.
Above is a pretty straightforward example. If I had wanted it to rotate slower, I would have needed to photograph closer-together steps of rotation. Slowing down the speed of rotation would simply result in a choppy staccato pace of progression.
Gotta love the pimp cup. This was from a relatively low angle, shooting up.
Finally, I did one of Rex, the nearly mascot-level toy that's featured in several articles here at theWAREHOUSE. For his 360, I set the camera on a tripod well above the plane of the toy and aimed down. Also, a quick levels layer effect in Photoshop created a nice dramatic almost Frank Miller lighting effect.
That's really about it. Not too much to it, but there's lots of reasons to use it! I hope you all have fun creating these rotational discs and I'd love to hear from you if you do!