A failed experiment. A series of photos taken with a stationary tripod mounted camera as The Dawn Princess started its journey out of Sydney Harbour. 13 photos stitched together reasonably well once I'd edited out most of the background - there's wasn't much. What I hadn't anticipated, but what seems to have happened, is the ship changing course about half way through my series of photos. You can see that the stern of the ship seemed angled towards the camera more so that then bow of the ship. So, far from perfect. The idea was to make a 'gigapan' with people lined up on the deck. Perhaps if I'm more careful with the camera location, mount it lower to reduce the background and position it where the ship is less likely to change course.. Any better ideas other that 'give up'?
Hmm... I'll give it a try. 'small worlds' are new to me, so there will be quite a delay. Inspired by your suggestion I did look at "Dawn Princess" using the Panini viewer and the FPS viewer, which was fun.
Didn't get very far with 'small worlds' as I don't have Photoshop, and am not keen to re-install The Gimp, and the only other contender I could find 'BirdsEyeWarp' found my non 360x180 image unacceptable. Still, you got me thinking, and I explored the deformation possibilities of the software that I do have. Below are 12 separate (untiled) trignometric, logarithmic and algebraic distortions. Would you like a closer look at any of them? Or what the function is? None of them do much for me, but, neither does 'small worlds'!
I agree that small worlds are more of a novelty, but every once in a while there is an image that is improved by them.
In your examples, I don't think the subject lends itself to distortion, but some other subject may. And you have to be in the mood to create digital art. IMO, this will never be my main photographic style, but they may have a novelty effect.
I think the top left, the cross directly under the top left, the circular one and the one on the top right are all worth keeping in mind for the right subject. The one second from the bottom on the right may have possiblilities also.