Very impressive article Jake! You are very talented.
nice article! i love seeing the breakdowns.
Do you want to know the trick behind the scenes from Inception when the ground is bent up at 90-degree angles? Matthew Maas from PetaPixel published a guide on creating Inception-style shots. In fact, it appears that you just need a drone and Photoshop to create similar photos. There’s no need for any special 3D tools — the basic warp tool in Photoshop will do the trick.
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The first step is to find a subject that will work well for the effect. You need a long straight subject, you can either have it run off into the distance or end above a subject. Then, you take photos at increasing heights above the same location and also angle your camera down further each time. The final top-down shot should be taken slightly further along the subject.
For the straight down shot I flew 60 meters down the road and up to 120m. This time you want to make sure that the bottom of the image is further down the road so that it ill line up in on the last image in the distance.
Now we need to stitch them together. Load all the photos as layers into Photoshop and position them roughly where they would go in the final image. In the layers panel stack them with the top down image at the top and then the next lowest until the last. You will have to make the canvas longer to fit in the images.
Starting with the bottom photo use the warp tool to widen the bottom and squeeze the top to make it closer to lining up with the next image. You need to make it a bit wider to leave room to widen the next image to match.
Do the same for the next 2 images to line them up while keeping a nice curve throughout. You have to make sure you are getting a smooth curve through the image otherwise it will look really angular at the joints. It takes quite a bit of fiddling to get everything to line up nicely. Lowering the opacity of the layer can help quite a lot.
You can find the full guide here.