The Arqball spin is another KickStarter project that combines a free iOS app and paid hardware. Despite the name of the project ‘Arqball Spin: 3D For Everyone,’ Arqball spin does not produce 3D so much as it is a way of representing 3D objects on a 2D screen. No 3D geometry is actually being rendered in a software sense; what you really see is a synchronous loop of video which can be manipulated by sliding a finger or mouse back and forth over the “spin.” On the spins provided, it does look and “feel” like manipulating a virtual 3D object.
The KickStarter funding project is for the stage: a special motorized lathe that rotates any object you wish to “scan.” The stage costs $60 from the KickStarter project, which seemed a little steep to me. Since the software was already available, I thought I’d try my hand at replicating the hardware with some sheets of white paper and a lazy susan. (Which is not something I thought I’d admit to owning on iJailbreak.com.) I couldn’t find my mini tripod, but I figured my hands would be steady enough. How hard could it be?
First take a look at one of the professionally made spins. It feels like a rendered object. Now feast your eyes on my failure. The rotation has to be absolutely perfect, otherwise the illusion fails and the spin looks like a poorly made gif. A tripod would keep the camera steady and greatly improve the illusion, but if the rotation isn’t perfectly synchronized with the app’s recording time there’s a jump in the loop. I am not convinced that the solution is a $60 spinning plate, but freehanding both the camera and the plate isn’t an option.
The applications mentioned for Arqball include e-commerce, crafts, and food blogging. However, while the effect is neat it does not provide much benefit above… a YouTube clip of an object spinning on a lazy susan. The lazy susan cost me $2, and I can already paste a link to any object doing a complete spin on it anywhere where I can paste text. It won’t be as slick, but it will get the job done.
Ultimately the Arqball is a gimmick, but it’s a charming gimmick. If you’re taken by the effect, you can download the app below and purchase one of their stages from their KickStarter page. The expected delivery date is in June for a $60 pledge. Keeping with the DIY spirit of this site, you can also try your hand at making a spin for free, using your own materials. Just make sure you get the timing right.
Download Arqball Spin – FREE [iTunes link]
If you manage to make a better spin, please link to it in the comments section below. And can someone please stop the spinning Kalimba? It’s making me dizzy.