Wednesday, 2 February 2011

360 photography peaks and troughs

This week at Product Capture we have been striving to perfect our 360 photography. Although some might think this is as simple as taking a packshot photograph and repeating the process, let me assure you that it is not that simple. Our first subject was good old Melanie and her new wig.

The first challenge and in my opinion, one of the most important things was to get her slap bang in the centre. There is nothing worse that a 360 animation that is not central. This causes the product/subject to spin in an irregular pattern, much like a piece of floppy pottery on an amateurs spindle. This might not seem like a difficult task, however if you are even 0.5cm out, it will look terrible and will eventually make the viewer feel sick.

Once the centre has been found, the next challenge is to set the lighting. Again, this is not as simple as setting the lighting for a single packshot, as every time your subject spins a degree, it will change in shape, size and texture (depending on the complexity of your subject). It is worth taking 4 test shots at 90degrees each to check for differences in lighting.

Next you will need to establish how many images you want in your rotation. Obviously the more images, the smoother the animation, but all of this takes time. It is, however, well worth it. Never do a 360 with less than 12 images. Personally, I like a good 25 or more images as this reflects the same frame rate as PAL video and gives you a lovely smooth image. Once all of this is in place, you are home and dry... almost. When rendering your image, make sure you set the initial speed to which it spins by default. If this is too low, it will look dull and jittery, if it is too fast, it will make you a little woozy.

Our Product Capture 360 player allows you to fully interact with the image. You can spin at any speed, any direction and whip it about with your mouse, allowing you to see the subject from any angle you desire. A very good tool when selling a complex product that people want to take a good look at.

Check out our 360 animation of Melanie at