There are three steps:
Also, here are some useful Photoshop scripts
This involves taking shots of the subject from multiple angles, ideally from points along an arc a fixed distance from the subject.
Pick a target
Pick a target as the focal point. For the Thumb photos, I picked the top of the Thumb; for the Coyote Gulch photos, I picked the top of the foremost 'toe' of the knob. It is important that each shot be centered on the same target. I used the cross-hairs of my viewfinder.
Processing later will be easier if each shot is level (or at least consistent). It's helpful if there is something in the photo that can be used later as a reference (eg., the horizon); you'll be able to use that later to align the rotation of the images.
Number of shots
(angle between shots) A small angle between shots will make the display smoother (more like a video), but each shot adds to the burden of taking shots, processing them, and download time for viewers. I aimed for about a dozen shots. For The Thumb and Coyote Gulch, which were objects about 300m to 500m distant, I tried to space shots by walking twenty paces along the arc between shots.
(pixels of resolution) The final display medium will be a computer screen, which doesn't require a lot of pixels. Today's displays are generally at least 1024 pixels wides, so 2048 pixels ought to provide a few years of 'future-proofing'. All the images should be the same size (if not, there will be more processing work later). Moderate JPG compression is probably adequate for displays on a computer screen -- though if camera memory is available, might as well use it; resolution can always be decreased later, but not increased.
Time of day
Low light (morning or evening) is generally best for light on the subject and makes dramatic shadows, but can create problems of high dynamic range if part of the arc ends up shooting into the sun.
I shot each photo of The Thumb and Coyote with automatic exposure, with the idea that the camera would compensate for lighting variations. Alternatively, locking exposure over the series of shots might ensure that the light changes gradually and naturally as you traverse the arc. The Canon Powershot A75 seems to tolerate underexposures better than overexposures (overexposed shots lose information due to clipping, whereas underexposed shots can more often be saved by shifting information from the dark area), so it's best with the A75 to set the camera for the brightest shot and then let the subsequent shots go dark. If the camera will be powered off between shots, a way of locking the exposure would be to use Manual mode, if your camera supports that.
Shooting an arc of shots is power-consuming because each shot has to be aligned carefully (target and level), and the time between shots (eg., twenty paces) means either leaving the camera on or turning it off and then on soon after. All this is power-consuming (I learned this the hard way).
To get the best display effect, each image must be aligned (position and rotation) and there shouldn't be large differences in exposure between images.
Here's the procedure I used with Photoshop CS (available for 30 days free trial from Adobe):
Here's what I did:
To put your stuff on the web, just upload the directory created in step 1, including the subdirectory with your images.
You're done! If you've got a good result, I'd like to see it.
Jim Elder, Oct 2004
The two scripts below are useful for preparing images for multi-angle display but are not necessary. The scripts can be uploaded to your computer by clicking on either of the following links:
When you see 'Open or Save', just click 'Save' to store the script anywhere on your disk. Then use File->Scripts->Browse within Photoshop CS to execute a script.
Note that the applyActionToVisibleLayers script needs to be edited to work on your system. Use any text editor to open the file and make the simple changes indicated by comments within the file.
Here are copies of the two scripts (but download from the links above in case these copies are out of date):
Documentation for Photoshop scripts is located in the install area for Photoshop (Windows: \Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop CS\Scripting Guide\). The PDF documents there have enough examples that I was able to glue together the scripts above. To try a script, create it in a text file and then tell Photoshop to execute it using File->Scripts->Browse. Put this:
$.level = 1; debugger;
at the start of a script to tell Photoshop to open its script debugger, then single step through the script for feedback on problems.
As mentioned in the comments of applyActionToVisibleLayers.jsx, I'd appreciate hearing if you know a way to display a menu of user actions (to eliminate the hard-coding in that script).