DIY Automatic 360 Product Photography Turntable By TinkerForge

November 19, 2014  |  360 Photography Equipment, 360 Product Photography  |  Comments Off
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Here’s another example of creative ingenuity by folks at TinkerForge, Germany who applied their own DIY building “bricks” that they sell online and a cool idea, and turned it into a fully functional robotic 360 product photography turntable.

As you can see on their blog, the whole constructions is made of just a handful of DIY parts, including a stepper motor, of course, a rotary ball bearing (250kg rated!), two cutting boards and a couple of cool “bricks” manufactured by TinkerForge: Industrial Quad Relay Bricklet and Stepper Brick. All in all, this is a substantial saving compared to commercially produced professional tables that we have here.

Except for the challenge with the ball bearing attachment that ended up needing some clearance to work in conjunction with the hub and the motor, we call it a success! Hopefully some of our readers will get inspired by this design and will use TinkerForge’s cool “bricks” to create similar 360 product photography platforms.

You may also be interested in these DIY solutions that we have been collecting on this blog:

DIY 360 Product Photography Turntable with Magnetic Trigger
Another DIY 360 Photography Turntable
Computorized DIY Turntable For 360 Product Photography
Build your own DIY 360 Photography Turntable for under $40

Drones for 360 Object Photography of Large Items?

November 6, 2014  |  360 Photography Equipment  |  Comments Off
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You know one of the challenges with the 360 product photography of large objects such as cars, big machines, etc. is that you can’t really put them on a turntable (unless you have a lot of $$$, of course), and then moving with your camera around an object just sucks. Same with building huge fixed circular rails..

So it just occurred to us a couple of weeks ago.. why can’t we start using drones for this? Presumably, you can just fly a drone around a large item at a certain trajectory and capture rotational 360 images this way. Of course, it may not be as straightforward as one might think, but this should be doable.

Here’s for example a quick video we just stumbled upon showing a custom 3 axis gimbal attached to a drone designed for larger cameras. You can see how it works closer to the end of the video which we think is pretty smooth for what we’re doing here.

PS: DJI’s latest quadcopter seems to be built just for the task!
http://makezine.com/2014/11/19/dji-inspire-drone-demo/

DIY 360 Product Photography Turntable with Magnetic Trigger

October 27, 2014  |  360 Photography Equipment, 360 Product Photography  |  Comments Off
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We just recently stumbled upon this interesting video by Marcin Kowalski from Norway, showing his cool DIY 360 product photography platform that we think really stands out.
What sets Marcin’s table apart from the other DIY concepts we have seen so far is a magnetically triggered shutter which really makes his hardware design quite simple and cost effective (e.g., doesn’t need a stepper motor, etc..).

As you will see in the video, Marcin placed a bunch of small magnets underneath the rotating platform at 10-degree increments. The magnets trigger a magnetic sensor as the platform continuously rotates at a chosen speed which then triggers the camera shutter using simple wiring.

The table construction looks solid and without the need for a stepper motor, we think this concept can be used to build heavy duty platforms for much large objects. We’re just wishing it had a wireless trigger!

So please check out the video below and if you follow the Youtube link you will also find the list of parts that Marcin used for his project and you will be surprised how little it costs to put this turntable together.

360 Product Photographer at Work

September 18, 2014  |  360 Photography Equipment, 360 Product Photography, Product Photography  |  Comments Off
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Here at Photogear 360 we are always on the lookout for useful 360 photography resources. And today, thanks to the product photographer Frank Bekker at Amorphium Imaging based in South Africa, this is a short video that Amorphium Imaging just shared on Youtube to demo their neat 360 product photography workflow and setup!

In addition to the 360 product spins, Frank also does a few still shots to produce a complete set of images for each product – all using the same equipment and software.

We will take an educated guess here and suggest that the 360 product photography turntable shown in the video is perhaps one of the larger ones of the Ortery’s PhotoCapture 360 series. Most likely, it’s PhotoCapture 360M with an extended platform to allow for larger items but it could be an L or XL model as well.

PhotoCapture turntables come with their own control software that you can see at work in the video. It automatically synchronizes your camera and the turntable with a lot of handy option such as live preview, ability to re-shoot and refocus on a given shot, set most of you camera settings for your current lighting conditions and a lot more.

White Background in Your 360 Product Photography Projects

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If you noticed in our sample 360 product views on WebRotate360.com, they are all produced on pure white background. This is also a common practice with most popular e-commerce websites where clean white spaces are generally favored over heavier colored ones. Majority of still product photography produced for e-commerce these days also follows the same pattern.

If you are just starting with the 360 product photography, these simple tips below can help achieving almost pure white background in your raw images, and then some minor image post-production can eliminate the rest of the shadows or unnecessary gradients.

If a product is not white or light grey, the common approach with our 360 product photography is to overexpose the product background as much as possible. So the background behind and below our product have to be much brighter than the actual product on the set. The more contrast we can achieve between our background and the product the better. A simplest solution is to put a couple of light sources just behind our product, shooting at our backdrop as per this diagram (diagrams were created with the help of Lighting Setup PSD by Kevin Kertz):

On other occasions we can put our background light source directly behind the backdrop, shooting at the backdrop towards our product as you can see on the next diagram. And then we always have a lightbox on a boom arm sitting above the product and pointing towards our turntable with some angle to light up the top of the product and the turntable itself. Sometimes it makes sense putting a white semi-translucent sheet under the product as the reflection it produces helps with the shades in various ways. And then, of course, we have our main lights that actually illuminate the product at the front which are shown here via the two larger lightboxes next to the camera (we never use strobes in our 360 product photography!).

Also, depending on your 360 photography turntable manufacturer, the rotating platform itself can be translucent, allowing you to put a light source under the table and shooting straight up, eliminating most of the product shade (can also make the product look weird with a lot of odd shine at the bottom of the product).

So if you have sufficient contrast in your final 360 product images, you can often just use a standard photographic filter effect called Levels (that we also have in the new version of WebRotate 360 software) to overexpose your image highlights even further to make the background pure white (if it’s not there yet straight out of the camera). And you can still leave some very light shade under the product if it gets too bright as you move the Whites slider – this minor shading will still look good in most cases.

You can see the whole process of making the background pure white in our tennis rocket example in this video using the WebRotate 360 software.