Exposure bracketing and rendering in AutoPano Pro

Taking 360 degrees panoramic photographs has become easy due to the arrival of dedicated 360 cameras, such as the Ricoh Theta V. But their 4K resolution is spread thin across the whole 360 degree viewing angle. There is still a need to panoramas with high resolution that can only be taken by stitching multiple photographs together. The GigaPan Epic Pro is a robotic camera head that tilts and pans your camera before triggering the shot. You can stitch hundreds even thousands of photos together into one GigaPixel panorama. I have uploaded a few on GigaPan’s website.

One problem when shooting GigaPixel panoramas is that some parts of your panorama will be very light due to the sun shining directly on them while other areas might be very dark, for example by simply being in the shadow. Finding a compromise exposure for your camera might be difficult and hence we are using bracketing to shoot multiple photos of the same area. Each of these photos will be several exposures apart from the others. For any shot you will have in fact three shots, each with a low, medium and high exposure. When you stitch the panorama together in AutoPano Giga, for example, you can use all three exposures. Autopano has several modes to select the best exposed pixel.

There are two settings that you can play with that will heavily influence how your final panorama will look like. You can set the Color Mode to None, Auto and HDR.

You can also set the Blending Presets to Simple, Anti Ghosting, Exposure Fusion and HDR Output.

I systematically varied these two settings to get an impression on what results the may produce. Continue reading “Exposure bracketing and rendering in AutoPano Pro”

LEGO Idea Conference 2018

I was honoured to be invited to the LEGO Idea Conference 2018. It gave me the opportunity to meet with several members of the LEGO group but it also brought me up to speed with what the LEGO Foundation is working on. I talked to Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen and gave him my Unofficial LEGO Color Guide. I met with Jan Beyer and talked about the LAN and their connection to the AFOLs. I also discovered that the LEGO House’s library features my Unofficial LEGO Minifigure Catalog.

My Minifigure Catalog in the LEGO House library
My Minifigure Catalog in the LEGO House library

I also experienced the amazing architecture of the LEGO House. I took many (panoramic) photos of the outside and the inside. The large models, in particular the dinosaurs are amazing:

Dinosaurs

But maybe the most amazing aspect of the LEGO House are its interactive installations. Their RoboLab is just amazing:

And I also enjoyed their agent based city simulation:

What an amazing event.

Simple LEGO Mindstorms Mars Rover

This is simple Mars Rover model using two LEGO Mindstorms EV3 and a total of eight motors. The two EV3 are daisy chained and the model can be controlled using the EV3 IR Remote Control. The model uses the rocker-bogie suspension system including a differential in the middle axis. The two EV3s are suspended and remain horizontal in any position. There are much more complex Mars Rover models already available using many more Mindstorm bricks. My design goal was to keep it simple and experiment with the rocker-bogie suspension system. The principles works, but there is a bit too much flexibility in the model.

The 3D model and the building instructions are available for LEGO Digital Designer. The parts list and instructions are also available at Rebrickable.

 

Fonthill Abbey

We launched our Fonthill Abbey website on which we document our efforts to bring this amazing building and the story of its owner back to life. We created an interactive Virtual Reality Game that allows you to experience a forgotten piece of history as you become Lord Horatio Nelson or Lady Emma Hamilton, guests of mysterious Lord Beckford. You will have the rare privilege of entering secluded Fonthill Abbey and meet its extravagant owner, but will you make it out alive?