(close) Encounters Part 12 < 360° < 370w

by bob on November 20, 2015

in (HDRI) Panorama portraits, HDRI



Its been very quite on this website lately. Main focus this year was my other website/onlineshop Dutch 360 HDR – Onlines shop, revisions of Dutch Skies 360° Volumes (1,2,3 & 4), shooting new Dutch Skies 360° XL skies (19k) and some other projects (some of them will be launched in 2016).

If you might wonder why this website still has the same look as last years……. hope to have some time in 2016 to update this website with a new “face”.

But the most important thing is finally a brand new Close Encounter HDRI panorama portrait! And the next one is almost ready too (that one can be expected in a couple of weeks). also pre-planning some new Close Encounter HDRI panorama portrait for 2016.

About the (close) Encounters project

This panorama is part of a bigger series (this is Part 12 – at the bottom of this page you will find direct links to the previous editions) that will be made in the future. Behind the scenes HDRI panorama portraits of people. More info about this project see at the bottom of this page. Not sure witch direction it will go.

(close) Encounters Part 12

How it started

This (unexpected) HDRI panorama portrait is about a Journalist/Anthropologist/text writer Anoek Hofkens & a Photographer/Graphic & Product Design Joost Gijzel Studio Joost Gijzel (both Dutch – like the text on their website).

During shooting several new sunrise Dutch Skies 360° XL skies (19k) two person walked by and stopped asking what I was doing.

Of course also asked what they were doing there (specially because they were trespassing my Dutch Skies 360° HDRI Recording studio 😉 )so early on a saturday morning (Saturday 3 october 2015 – 08:29):

They were working on a project called Belonging – sorry its in Dutch *) – its about feelings of home and belonging of people living in the Netherlands.

*) Asked Anoek to write some words about it:

We interview all kinds of people at places in Holland where they feel at home. This way we want to show who belong in Holland. We don’t care about nationality and where they are from, we care about where they feel they belong.

Here you can see the interview by Anoek & the nice portrait Joost made.

ps so yes they were ok  if I made a HDRI panorama portrait of them.

(close) Encounters Part 12 – the 360° panorama

For those who not want to read about the technical part of the proces here are a flat version & a 360° (VR) of the final color corrected HDRI Panorama portrait of Anoek & Joost

1) VR – 360

2) Flat projection


3) Close up (from flat projection)


Technical info

Below you can read about the most important parts of the process. Note that its simplified there are much more steps.


For processing the raw images out of de Nikon D800 always make use of a color card from QPCard. In this case its the QPCard 203 Book.

13 exposures

Not will explain everything in detail but have 13 exposures so generated 13 panorama’s with the panoramic image stitching software called PTGUI Pro.


note: the process of Dutch Skies 360° XL skies (19k) is a bit different, in that process first generate from every angle a HDRI and then create a 19k HDRI panorama.

Generating the HDRI panorama

Next generated the HDRI panorama with HDRsoft Photomatix

Bottom retouche & shadow removal part 1

– Next did the bottom retouche in HDRI by first converting the Equirectangular into a cubic projection (with PTGUI Pro)
– then retouched the bottom shot (a bit too sloppy when looking at it now) + tripot shadow removal
– now converted the cubic projection back again into a Equirectangular HDRI


Tonemapping & Photoshop

Next the tonemapping process starts. Really like to do this. The only thing is that regardless the usage of a color card you still need to do some finetuning.

Here always do the tonemapping on a kind of instinct / feeling. Made different tonemaps with Photomatix, HDRE Expose 3 & PTGUI Pro so mix those together in Photoshop. Each tonemap/layers have different opacity. So actually play with it until it more or less comes close to the actual colors on the day of the shoot.

Added as top layers two +/- middle exposure panorama’s as guidance for later color correcting see screenshot below:


Color correcting & shadow removal part 2

Shooting an HDRI Portrait is one thing, another very important step is color correction and retouche. My good friend JP van der Burg did that for me. He’s a real master in color correction + retouche. JP can translate the clients wishes exact what they want without asking to much questions.

Jp also removed the shadows on Joost plus the shadow correction in front of his left shoe (as shown below)


ps his special “sauce” color correcting procedure will not be shown here.


Big thanks to Anoek & Joost for the permission of taking the panorama and the allowance of showing it on this website & Jp van der Burg for the color correction and retouche.

HDRI panorama portrait information:

This is a ongoing project and is called (close) Encounters.

The HDRI ( High Dynamic Range Images ) panorama portrait panorama’s are made out of 63 pictures (minimal 9 exposures per angle, 7 angles so 63 images are used to make a HDRI portret panorama.

That makes taking the image with some thrill — it could be ruined due to the fact that if the people are moving the portrait could fail. That idea makes it fascinating for me to do it, Its always exiting to shoot. Warn the customers in advance: “we will see in the final image who moved, so do not dare to move!” Until now (almost) everyone has listened very good in the portrait shoots from the last years.

After the shoot the most time consuming part starts: tonemapping, color correction & retouche. The actually shooting is done within 1 minute per pano, post production can take about 20 or 30 hours (or even more).

Update november 2015:

Last years the technical development of 360° camera’s (so no need to shoot in several angles but just push the button once) is going very quickly. More and more are entering the market and this is fantastic news. My special attention goes to the latest Lytro Immerge development. But have to be honest. For the (close) Encounters series not want to use such camera’s its just too easy. Its much more exciting if there is a bigger chance of failure. It reminds me also to the early days of (portrait) photography, can imagine the photographer shouted also “ please do not move”.

Previous Editions (close) Encounters

(close) Encounters Part 1
(close) Encounters Part 2
(close) Encounters Part 3
(close) Encounters Part 4
(close) Encounters Part 5
(close) Encounters Part 6
(close) Encounters Part 7
(close) Encounters Part 8
(close) Encounters Part 9
(close) Encounters Part 10
(close) Encounters Part 11
(close) Encounters Part 12 – see above
(close) Encounters Part 13