If you hate technical mumbo jumbo, read no further and just look at the pretty pictures. These images were made with the use of a home-made no-parallax panoramic tripod head. The basic idea of this rig is that the camera pivots around the lens iris, which eliminates any parallax when panning and tilting. The multiple images taken from a single position with no parallax can then easily be stitched together (I’m using PTGUI for this) into one big super-wide angle photo or a seamless 360 degree image. Multiple exposures of the same shots can also be combined using photomatix to achieve a much higher range of light sensitivity.
I took Joe’s advice and started with one shape. Then I added another, and another. Pretty soon I ended up with this weird structure. It’s the first thing I rendered on the new PC build. took 37 seconds without Global Illumination… and two hours with.