Popular Post Pragma Posted February 19, 2014 Popular Post Share Posted February 19, 2014 I recently made my own little turntable for shooting 360-degree pictures of minis to turn into animated gifs. Some forum members were interested in hearing how I did it, so here it is in detail. It was pretty straightforward, so hopefully by following these instructions you will be able to make pictures like this: Things I used An analog clock A screwdriver, to take apart the clock A 0.7mm mechanical pencil with a removable tip A round plastic lid to act as the stage Some glue A digital camera The manual for said camera, you will probably need it A tripod Deep-seated obsessive-compulsive tendencies Turntable construction First, acquire an analog clock. In this case, a clock that was left in the laundry room of our apartment building, in a place where people usually leave things they don't need any more. Then ponder how we see fewer public clocks in the age of smartphones. Once you're done pondering, take the clock apart to get the mechanism that drives the hands. The one I have contains three circles to drive the hands of the clock - an outer plastic tube for the hour hand, an inner plastic tube for the minute hand and a tiny little metal pin for the second hand. It's the second hand we want, or else it will take an hour to get our picture. The challenge is attaching something to this tiny little pin. Fortunately, it turns out that this little pin is just the right size to fit snugly over the the end of a 0.7mm mechanical pencil. So I removed the tip from a mechanical pencil, and glued the pencil tip to the bottom of the plastic lid with white glue. The pencil tip has to be well-centered on the lid or else the mini will wobble back and forth in the photos. Finally, stick the cap on the clock mechanism. There, a simple little miniature turntable. Camera setup The main thing with the camera setup is to turn off all automatic features of your camera. Usually a camera will automatically determine things like the white balance, length of exposure, and focal distance. This is bad for an animation like this, since those parameters will change every frame and lead to flickering in the animation. On my camera (Canon EOS 400D) there is a switch on the top that I have to point to "M" for manual, and another switch on the lens that you have to set to "MF" for manual focus. The downside to manual mode is that you have to know how to choose good settings for your camera. I don't know how to do this. Luckily, a simple way to find good settings is to first set up the camera on the tripod with the mini in front of it and shoot a picture in automatic mode. Then once you switch to manual mode the setting should hopefully (!) be preserved. Image capture We have to set the camera up to take one photo every second for a minute. I couldn't figure out how to get my camera to shoot that fast, but I managed to get it to shoot once every two seconds. To do this I used tethered shooting mode, connecting the camera to my laptop via USB. Since I run Linux, I can then control the camera via the command-line utility gphoto2: gphoto2 --capture-image-and-download -I 2 -F 30 This tells it to capture 30 images, one image every 2 seconds and download them to the current directory. Once this command is done I have pictures named capt0000.jpg through capt0029.jpg in the current directory. Image processing To process these images into an animated gif I used another wonderful piece of software called imagemagick. First I import one of the images to my favourite photo editor, gimp, and adjust it as needed. I crop the image, do a global levels adjustment, and resize. As I go along I keep track of all the settings I use so I can put them into the command to imagemagick: convert capt*.jpg -crop 1200x1200+368+44! -resize 300x300 -level 0%,90%,0.8 -layers optimize damien.gif This tells it to load the jpg images we shot, crop to a rectangle 1200x1200 starting at a location (368,44) from the top right, resize to 300x300, then apply a global level adjustment with a white point of 90% and gamma of 0.8. It then converts the whole series to an optimized gif animation. A 30-frame image at 300x300 comes out to about 1.5 megs, which is small enough to attach to the forum. Conclusion There it is, hopefully others will give it a shot. When you do, post links in here. I'd be happy to answer any questions, or take suggestions on how I could improve the process. 26 Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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