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How to Shoot a 360-Degree Panorama Using a Christmas Ornament


Ryan Burnside recently set out to find a cheap way to shoot 360-degree panoramas of scenes, and discovered that shooting a Christmas ornament (or any other spherical reflection) captures all the information needed — all that’s needed is a way to “unravel” the spherical image. Burnside found that the free image editor GIMP can do the trick.

Here are the steps:

  1. Shot a top-down photograph of a Christmas ornament (perhaps using a tripod).
  2. Crop the image into a neat square that bounds the ornament
  3. Run Filters->Distorts->Polar Coordinates and uncheck “To Polar”
  4. Scale the width by 314% (PI times the height)

Voila! A cheap and easy way to shoot a 360 panorama!

Christmas ball photography hack WORKING! (via Hack a Day via Make)