I have always been fascinated by panorama images and image stitching and for several years I had been wondering about the effects of using a slice-scanner for panorama images. Or more succinctly, the lack of effects. Parallax-free panorama images. It would stretch and morph elements in the image, but it would never produce double objects.
So I always wanted to build an application that could do this. I figured it's really very simple: just scan the center scanlines from a video stream. That way you can even produce a panorama image from a prerecorded videofile. And because you can also point the camera at a fixed point and thereby "scan" moving objects, I decided to call this "project timescan".
Well, as such, the need for a mobile application and iOS seemed to have met somewhere a year ago, and this particular idea has come to fruition. The first experiments I did where anamorphic scans of objects like a vase with flowers, and the interesting thing is that the resulting images had a remarkable grace to them.
Very first anamorphic flower scan
Getting slightly better at it: vase with tulips
For useful anamorphic scans i needed some kind of rotating turntable. Started with my coffee muck on an egg-timer. The egg-timer didn't quite like that, but it did manage partly:
Anamorphic view of my coffee muck:
In order to create useful panorama images, it is necessary to rotate the camera at a certain fixed speed. So i needed some way to rotate the iPad I use for development. It just so happens that my extensive collection of Lego could finally be made to good use. So this is me in the very first experiment with an improvised Lego turntable. Didn't even bother to lock exposure etc. The device is rotating right in front of me, and I suppose the distortion doesn't make me any prettier, but hé, no parallax errors!
And as there is no such thing as coincidence, as soon as I had submitted the app to the appstore for review I came across this thread. And the images immediately reminded me of my earliest results. And of course, I have created example scans that show the exact effects of this type of photography.
These effects are really cool. Once you get a feel for the results, you start noticing weird counter-intuïtive distinctions. For example, all moving objects will point in the same direction in the scan, even though they may have moved in opposite direction in real life. In the ship example above this is visible by the light: the sun seems to light the front of the ship, yet similarly it seems to light the back of the walking figure on the far bank.
In JM Johnson images there is a similar effect for the people and cars image. Everything seems to move in the same direction, but the cars are most likely traveling in opposite direction depending on the side of the road. And the image then gets a new layer of interest in searching for which direction the people in the image really where travelling and thus what is really happening in the interaction.