Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Struggle...

A week messier than the one before! Frustration, vexation, a heart attack, name it whatever you want. Any term that gives a resemblance to "annoying" would work perfectly here.
I've been trying so hard to do things prior to this post to be able to put some work, but I kind of failed, but hey, I tried! But the thing I'm regretting the most is, not being able to work on a simple task as recording my Ayvarith texts.

To start with a failure, I was trying to take a panorama on a low level. The new tripod gives me new and interesting capabilities (and yes it is made in China), and for this I was trying to work with a panorama in the bathroom, again. The location is chosen for a certain idea that I wanted to imply, however, there was one difficult task to come over (and I couldn't); The tripod legs. Simply, impossible to clone out, unless of course I would decide to work for one full week on cloning them out. Despite my trials to rotate the set from above and take the panorama again with the legs of the tripod out of their former place (and then overlap the 2 results), yet, that didn't work quite well and PTGui didn't help (nor Autodesk Stitcher which I don't know how to use still!).

The setting in the bathroom!
The floor is clean don't worry! :)

Another work had to be done in my work place. Now it's Ramadhan and the working hours are shifted and shortened generally but however, I'm still on my same routine. Not affected and hope to remain like that till the end of the month. Anyway, I try to finish whatever I have to do in the lab by the early hours of the morning just to do whatever I like the rest of the day. If only I can bring my PC to work to do something about these images and panoramas!
Last week I did take a small vertical panorama for the corridor but when I got back home, the process was hard to be done and to stitch, hence, I decided to go on and do it again last Monday but this time, a full spherical panorama. I think I got my lesson now from all of this. Always go for the full and then part whatever you want.

Despite the fact that it's not a full spherical panorama, this vertical panorama taken from under an arch of bushes and then cropped. I realized that I almost done a full panorama here minus some few angles.

- Struggling With Failure:
Back to the main headache of this week for me. A panorama from my work place, and specifically from the corridor of labs. As stated before, I took a limited panorama from there before but I was mistaken not to make it a full spherical one. Also, this time I decided to take the whole panorama with (M)anual mode instead of the (Av) mode as I usually do. In brief, the process is about metering the highlight and shades in (Av) mode to check the shutter speeds, and then choose an average shutter speed in (M)anual mode, and that way you will make the exposure time to the camera more constant time-wise, making for a smoother transition, as it seems, as you move your camera while taking the panorama, from highlights to shadow areas. On the other hand, the WB was set manually to about 3300K, instead of relying on the presets of WB that already exist in the camera.
This time I tried hard to take a shot of the Nadir point but things later on were not that easy either. I've been struggling hard to achieve a suitable blend but seems I need more work with my tripod. I went through much fluctuating between Photoshop and PTGui trying to fit the Nadir point in its place.

Nadir shot taken after moving the tripod away from its original place. Not a good shot!

The idea in fact is simple, and I've read a lot of documentations online and from the PTGui help so that I might fit the Nadir point perfectly. The idea is simply to stretch the Nadir shot which I took from an angle (after changing the tripod position) into its place on the completed panorama. This simple idea, was not simple to do at all!

Vertical panorama.

As a brief discussion for the colors; here I tried to add a dirty look resembling asylums and places of maniacs that we usually see on movies and such stories related to psychos. My main interest, in general from the very beginning, is the linear shape of the corridor and that is what drove me to do the panorama (twice). Yet, when it came to the tone-mapping and fixing colors, the philosophy in the mind begins. Seems I do have a certain pattern of thinking when it comes to such workflow: Notice, Shoot, Add philosophy with colors.
Back to the nadir, here, you can see the middle block in the vertical panorama is totally covered. Not perfectly covered though but compared to my other trials, this is considered superb, I guess.
It turns out that my VR-head, Manfrotto 303SPH, is not one of the best VR-heads available. Not because of its weight, but probably because of its size. By coincidence and as I was surfing the net to find a solution to my nadir problem, I've discovered that MY common problem of having parts of the VR-head into my shooting process is in fact, normal. Other people who used this very same VR-head did suffer from the same problem, and if you are not going to make a QTVR, then this should not be a big problem; a simple crop would do the job.
Yet, my main problem is, I insist on doing this and I wanted to add a nadir point to make a suitable QTVR. There is always, however, an open option for me to create my own nadir which is something common as well: a title block.
In the processes that I've been through, which were so complicated and so memory-exhaustive, I've learned many things for now, but that does not compensate for a good nadir shot. There are methods mentioned on the net for such way to shoot the nadir, but lot of them are impractical. I've learned some new options in PTGui that are said to be helpful for nadir stitching (like Blending priority) but they were useful for other ideas in my head. After all, I've managed to stick a fixed and isolated nadir (from an original angled shot) which did not fit perfectly, but yet, to me it is a glance of hope...

Asylum II
The isolated and fixed nadir was way larger than the piece I wanted to cover.

One of the problems that occurred here while stitching (or after actually) is the weird splashes of colors that are not originally there. There had been some odd blue bands, and you might see them as well even after cloning (never been good with cloning!). I'm not sure what causes such weird colored occurrences, but it might be the process by which I took the panorama or the effect of the original WB? Thinking about it now I really can't decide how to research this topic! And to add to the drama, Photomatix is still acting weird for adding white spaces to perfectly aligned images!
Finally, there was this simple QTVR (I didn't do QTVRs in some time now), in which I've forgot to turn on the option that says "360 panorama" when tone-mapping in Photomatix. For this reason you might notice a sudden change in shades as you rotate in the QTVR. You need the latest QuickTime plugin to see the QTVRs on web. If you downloaded QuickTime and installed it already, the plugin is supposedly installed already...

The final twist to the epic of such panorama is, a tunnel view. I was going to make a little planet projection of the scene but it turns out that it does not make much difference to the vertical panorama that I did before. Thus, a tunnel view projection is more interesting I'd say!

Asylum (Tunnel View)

It was a struggle indeed. Made some advancement and got some failures as well, but let's hope I did learn my lessons here. Originally, the images were stitched on relatively larger sizes (not relative to what you see here but to what have been submitted to stock sites), but after all I had to compromise and give up some space to have mercy on my PCs memory.
All of this work got me back to a spark of memory in my head, when I used to be an active member somehow in the Wild Minds network; a network dedicated to Maladaptive Daydreaming (MD). The vertical panorama specifically, which was the first in this series, got me back to myself to realize that I didn't do much against my MD habits. The ups and downs in my life got me even deeper into this. Getting closer to 31 in few days does not make it any better as well, as socializing is already harder for me to do. Maybe I should get back to the network, to people who are, to some extent, like me... just wondering where to this is going...

Salute, to such a hectic week, with a little dedication inspired from the essence of the strokes of bad luck during this week...

Busy Life
Long exposures (25") layered  with "soft light" blend.

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