How to photograph an image on a cylinder
September 3, 2015 8:55 AM   Subscribe

So I'd like to take a picture of an image I have on a mug but I don't know how I could get the entire image. Is there a way to do a kind of panorama while circling the mug? Software that could stitch multiple images together? Any ideas appreciated, thanks.
posted by zeoslap to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
I would imagine that if you put your phone camera on "panorama" mode (iPhones and Androids have this, don't know about other phones) and took the picture while circling around the cylinder, it would capture the whole image and display is as a panorama shot.
posted by hepta at 9:12 AM on September 3, 2015

Best answer: I asked a similar question a few years ago that has some possibilities as answers, but nothing simple or definitive (and I ended up not following through because it didn't turn out to be necessary for my project). It does seem like this should be possible using the same techniques an iPhone uses to create a panorama, but most of the technology around this seems to be focused on created 3D representations of "scanned" objects ("object panorama", see e.g. SpinCam), not unwrapping the texture of the object to a 2D field. Microsoft Research actually had a little paper on extracting the unwrap mosaic from a video which I might try to mess around with over the weekend if I can.
posted by j.edwards at 9:13 AM on September 3, 2015

Best answer: Hmm, it didn't work when I tried it at the time of my previous question, but perhaps due to phone software improvement I actually just had pretty good luck placing a round object in front of a homogeneous background, holding the iPhone steady and activating panorama mode, and slowly rotating the object. Could probably improve further with some kind of turntable under it.
posted by j.edwards at 9:16 AM on September 3, 2015 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Would a turntable work? I always assumed that panorama mode somehow used the compass/gyro to know when the phone was moving.
posted by zeoslap at 9:56 AM on September 3, 2015

Panorama mode, at least on the iphone, doesn't really work for this, because the software works to prevent the outcome you want.
posted by mercredi at 10:23 AM on September 3, 2015

On preview - I think that having a completely blank background, as mentioned by j.edawards, might work.
posted by mercredi at 10:23 AM on September 3, 2015

My gut is that I would put the item on the center of a lazy susan or other turntable and take a picture in "panorama" mode.

if people are saying it won't work, I am very interested to hear what the result actually is! :7)
posted by wenestvedt at 10:43 AM on September 3, 2015

Best answer: This has even been done with film cameras. The term to google is "slit-scan" or "rollout"
You can do it with smartphone as per this article, or with a $15,000 pro system
posted by Sophont at 12:11 PM on September 3, 2015 [1 favorite]

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