rundum meditation | waidmarkt

dieses video ist mein erster ernsthafter härtetest der neuen ricoh theta V rundum-kamera. das gerät ist sehr handlich und setzt die videos der vorder- und hinterseite in 4k-auflösung unmerklich schnell und praktisch makellos zusammen. der schwachpunkt aller 360°-aufnahmen ist das, was exakt unten passiert. der effekt (dicke finger, die den gesamte unteren bereich  belegen) wird mit einem selfiestick abgemildert. ich stand also an der abbruchstelle neben dem ehemaligen und 2009 eingestürzten kölner stadtarchiv und sah dem bagger und den menschen zu. es passiert nichts besonderes, es ist einfach ein zeitdokument.

➡️ beim betrachten scrollen oder smartphone drehen!

illustration | atomwaffen

raketen und kernwaffenexplosion. illustration: ms/dpa

um den tiefenschärfe-effekt für die 3D-nerds zu beschreiben, habe ich ein → tutorial-video angefertigt und dafür diese kleine skizze am iPad pro (mit apple pencil) in knapp einer minute erstellt. in dem video erkläre ich dann, wie sich die blende und schärfeneinstellung der drei gegenstände in der szene auf die tiefenschärfe auswirken und wie man das anhand des obigen beispiels rendern lassen kann.

sekundenskizze zur DOF-illustration

ambient | occlusion

ambient occlusion is a rendering technique which delivers amazing results in minimal time. from the rendering perspective it’s a variation of the much more costly global illumination method. i rendered this image in 9 seconds – and after half a second it was already ready for evaluation.

ambient occlusion. rendering: ms

dynamic MASH | network

MASH is a relatively new module in autodesk maya, the leading 3D computer animation software package. i just published my third or forth → tutorial about MASH in maya, demonstrating its basic behaviour in context with dynamic simulation of a thousand little cubes.

MASH interacts with a torus and the surface. rendering: ms

 

the tutorial is not about rendering. but (solid angle) arnold renders MASH scenes fast and reliably. here even with the always cool and somewhat delicate effect namend „motion blur“. pixar, by the way, holds the patent for the first motion blur algorithms. it pays the pension of several employees there.

abriss neben | stadtarchivloch

gebäudeabriss im zentrum kölns. foto: ms/dpa

seit dem frühsommer wird am abriss des gebäudes links gearbeitet. im september fiel der größte teil der mitte (rot eingefärbt), seit heute geht es an den linken gebäudeteil. das gebäude grenzte wand an wand am 2009 wegen u-bahn-baupfusch eingestürzten historischen archiv der stadt köln. das archiv rutschte quasi von der rechten wand des blauen gebäudeteils nach unten.

rechts habe ich das so genannte „besichtigungsbauwerk“ umgrenzt. es dient der beweisfindung für den einsturz, also dem erstellen diverser grundwassergutachten. es kostete den steuerzahler viele millionen und täglich mehr.

a road with | trees

a road with trees in 10 minutes (maya rendering)

this is a scene which i created in about 10 minutes. the street and sidewalk took 8 minutes, the trees 2 minutes. the reason for this is that the trees can be painted. they behave like oilstrokes on a canvas, with the difference that they are 3D strokes on a 3D surface.

here is my tutorial about it.

besser als | rundum

… zumindest ästhetisch.

in maya/arnold gerenderte 360° szene

könnte man auch in 360° rundum betrachten, ist aber ästhetisch so wertvoller. ich habe eine sehr komplexe szene völlig zerlegt und nur den boden und die beiden figuren übrig gelassen. im hintergrund ist der so genannte „physical sky“ tätig, eine technische spitzenleistung von → solid angle in spanien, die den arnold-renderer programmiert haben.

stitching and drone | harmony

drone harmony layout preplanning

two days ago when the weather was inviting and the wind was calm i took the chance to try out a new drone app for photo professionals, still in beta, called drone harmony. the basic difference between the competing apps is simple, but impressive: before you plan your flight you tell the app where the obstacles are. the drone then avoids the buildings, trees, fences etc. you tell the app in the second step where and how to fly. maybe in a helix around a tower, or, that’s what i did, in a grid for straight down = orthogonal photography.

to cut things short: i’ll have to repeat the flight because – what i never thought about – the lighting conditions between beginning and end of flight were very different. when i took off, clouds cast soft shadows on the ground. towards the end of the expedition, ten or so minutes later, the sun came out, with sharp late afternoon shadows, confusing all four stitching apps i tried.

flight and photo pattern acroos the layed out area

first i let adobe photoshop lightroom deal with the 44 high res raw photos. i did some colour correction and camera profiling and then asked lightroom to stitch them all together. it took ages, maybe 20 minutes. lightroom offers no option for straight orthogonal images and chooses „perspective“:

lightroom tries stitching 44 photos together.

the result was this:

odd sharp edges (lightroom)

this attempt was not the worst, but puzzling. i could not determine where the extreme edges and distortion came from. the shape of the stitched object does only vaguely resemble the almost rectangular layout of the actual flight. next candidate: microsoft ICE.

microsoft ICE stitch

microsoft ICE did a much more sober stitching. i had used it before for 180° and 360° panoramas and little planet photos. nevertheless the pretty good looking panorama is flawed:

stitching flaws in ICE

the reason for this problem is that the sports playground had different lighting conditions. the third candidate amazed me with its free inventions. you may call it creative or useless: photoshop CC.

photoshop stitching

photoshop, famous in the old days for its stitching capabilities, is a lame duck now. all it presented was the odd collage above, with pretty amazing details (below):

none of these buildings is at the correct position.

let’s zoom in at another section of the same stitching. photoshop thought, why not TWO sports grounds? here the problem with the different lighting situation is obvious:

photoshop invents a double sports ground.

the creativity of photoshop is so amazing that i risked another close look. here the two sports grounds (in reality there’s only one, of course) are seperated by trees:

another attempt in photoshop

autostitch was the last software i tried – and it turned out to be the best, along with microsoft ICE.

autostitch64 does a good job.

like microsoft ICE, it handled the different lighting situations with ease, but both programs have problems with details. this is autostitch, a detail from the center of the image above, buildings which seem to fall into pieces and blend together:

autostitch detail with lots of problems

so, i’ll have to do the flight again and see…

hartkantiges rendering in | arnold

arnold ist eine in spanien entwickelte großartige rendering-software zum schlussendlichen berechnen von bildern, die man mit einem 3D-programm generiert. zur orientierung: pixar rendert alles mit der hauseigenen software renderman. es gibt einen kleinen, aber sehr kompetitiven markt für renderingsoftware. dieses bild hat 5 minuten zum „bauen“ und 10 minuten zum rendern gebraucht. vor 5 jahren hätte ich dafür gefühlte 60 minuten gebraucht, vor 10 jahren war sowas unerreichbar. würde ich heute statt 10 minuten 20 minuten rendern lassen, würde das farbrauschen abnehmen, aber die gesamtanmutung wäre dieselbe.

spitzfindig hartkantiges

hier die dem zugrunde liegende szene in autodesk maya:

aufbau der szene oben

köln süd | 50 m hoch, rundum

rundum panorama köln südstadt

das panorama ist aus 50 metern höhe aufgenommen und hat einen kleinen näh-fehler (stitching problem), der aber nicht tragisch ist. wir sehen den dom, den deutschlandfunk, die severinsbrücke, die nord-südfahrt, die severinstraße, den waidmarkt. etwas näher das friedrich-wilhelm-gymnasium, das hotel mercure und die baustelle des eingestürzten stadtarchivs. diese baugrube wird in einem jahr völlig anders aussehen. let me keep you posted. ich rate zum betrachten auf vollbildmodus zu gehen.

unten dasselbe panorama, diesmal in der → little planet-projektion. weil ich immer wieder gefragt werde, warum man ein panorama nicht „ordentlich“ auf papier bringen kann, erinnere ich an den weltatlas. der verzerrt so ungemein, eben weil es immer verzerrt, wenn man etwas dreidimensionales auf papier oder bildschirm bringt.

little planet version des obigen panoramas

complex stitching | defects

this is photoshop’s helplessness with stitching non-trivial panoramas. the error message in german translates to: some images could not be automatically put together because of missing elements in between. what PS instead does is arrange the images in a useless vertical row:

helpless photoshop stitching

adobe lightroom which usually handles standard panaroma stitching with ease fails often with more complex panoramas. plus: it does not detect vertical shots where the drone moves in X/Y axis. lightroom tries to interpret the images as perspective, cylindrical or spherical shots. only with a preselection it did a decent job. the original image below is 9,000 pixels wide.

lightroom stitching – nice try. lots of things missing

microsoft ICE is very robust. instead of leaving unknown/uncovered areas blank it invents its own landscape:

creative stitching with ICE. inventing structures

the image shows things in the top left corner which the other tools just ignored. in the top right area, however, ICE did some remarkable interpretations. here in detail: my car would run right into the river, roads fall into the lake etc. actually quite lovely.

errant stitching makes funny farmland.

i think next time i need to pre-programme the flight using waypoints, to that nothing is missed out.

when i took these photos for stitching i thought about the legal situation. i was flying across a poisoned lake. it was poisoned because of the chemical industry factory nearby. does the chemical industry own the lake where under normal circumstances the local people would swim in summer? i don’t think so. they own as much of the lake as of the air they pollute and which we all breathe.

did i spy out anything? see the image which ICE put together. it shows premises at the top right which are certainly „private“. from a legal standpoint in most european countries us drone pilots must avoid flying over private premises. we may fly close, tilt the camera and have an almost vertical look down, but the straight vertical shot is so-so-ish.

in practical reality nothing can be spied out with drones flying at 100 or so meters altitude – because satellelites do that all the time, and services like google maps or google earth provide those insights (oversights) for free, and free of legal punishment.

the tricky thing is when amateur drone pilots fly low across private property, invoking irritation, rage and lots of negative feelings against ALL drone pilots.