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360º Building Capture

Cameron Christopher
January 16, 2013 by Cameron Christopher Staff

Interested in a bit of hometown adventuring? We've got a great project for you, where the process is every bit as fun as the final product. Our friends at Candy Glass Productions made this great tutorial on spinning a camera around a building. With some careful planning and exploratory legwork, you'll be able to fly around a monument of your choosing with ease!

How to Spin a Camera Around a Building

Step 1: Selection
Pick a building or monument that is tall enough to be seen from all sides, at a distance. Pull it up using Google Maps, and take a screenshot. Import the shot of the area into Photoshop and draw a circle around the building.

*P***Pro tip:** The bigger the building, the bigger your circle should be!

Step 2: Prep
Use ‘street view’ in Google Maps to mark shooting locations along the circle you’ve drawn. You’ll need about 36 locations. Some of the locations can have obstructed views, but most should maintain a fairly clear line of sight to the building.

Step 3: Shooting
Bring your marked map with you on your shoot. When taking pictures, try your best to line the building up with a marker on your camera’s viewfinder so it’s in roughly the same place every time. Check off your map locations as you travel along your circle.

*P***Pro tip:** Take 2 shots, about 20 feet apart per location on the map. This way the animation won’t strobe.

Step 4: Post Production
Bring your photos into Photoshop. Line up the building in each shot to the center of the frame. Add motion blur to the mid and foreground objects so they appear to be in motion. Export the photos, import them into your editing software, and you’ll be spinning a building in no time.

Step 5:
Upload to Vimeo and celebrate!

If you’ve got a cool building or monument in your area, break out the maps and apply what you've learned here. Go orbit some architecture!

A very special thanks to lesson contributor Barry Pousman for his assistance with this lesson!


Luke Harvey Plus

Could someone explain how to line the photos up? I'm not very familiar with photoshop but my girlfriend has it so we are trying to figure it out! This is awesome!

Wyatt Brown

To line the photos up just use the crop and rotate tool and adjust as needed so in each photo the building is in exactly the same spot in the frame.

Cameron Christopher Staff

You can use Transform (⌘T) and make sure you hold down shift if you're resizing so you don't squish the image.

You could also try auto-aligning the layers, but with only one thing being similar in profile for each shot, it might not work correctly.


You can use guides (View>New Guides) to mark the position of your monument. It will be easy to adjust it exactly on the next photos. (If they don't appear or you lost them, press CTRL+:)

Fabiano Peres

Really nice.
Just a doubt.
Was it a commercial projetc?
Did you sell it to someone or ir was just for fun?

Anyway, congratulations, amazing work.


i like it.


Excellent ! I try this week end !! Hope to have a good result !

Nicolaus Wegner Plus

Surprised warp stabilizer was not brought up. I'll be sharing some nature based 360 hyperlapses in the coming months and warp stabilizer was invaluable in smoothing things out. I suppose manually aligning images in photoshop would work if you weren't working with hundreds of images though.

Curious that so few images are used as well in this tutorial. Many of the urban hyperlapses I've seen posted on Vimeo were done with hundreds of shots per sequence. Was this just a way of sharing a 360 of a building, and less dealing with time progression?

Regardless, very cool information. Especially like the google earth suggestions. Invaluable tool for just about anything photography related. Great way to scope out new locations as well.

Cameron Christopher Staff

I think you're right about this being more about the rotation, and less about the timelapse aspect. Thanks for the warp stabilizer info!

Peter Freele Plus

Wow. I hope your hyperlapses are as smooth as your put downs. Plus bonus points for combining a plug for your own upcoming project with a polite put down that you "suppose" manually aligning images would work since they used such few photos.
It's "curious" you had to ask if this was "just" a 360 of a building rather than dealing with time progression, especially since the name of the article is 360 Building Capture!
Regardless of your opinion, I liked the fact that the effect worked so well with a small amount of shots.

Michael R. Zieniewicz

Would be cool to do with a person too. But I guess it has been done a thousand times. But that doesn't mean I won't do it again ;-)


I gave it a first shot. AROS, the aarhus based art museum with the famous OLAFUR ELIASSON RAINBOW PANORAMA on top. I also created a channel. What do you think?
360º Building Capture

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