So what is a cylindrical lens good for? Well, every matte painter out there will be happy to have this additional tool with which to work.
Let’s say the modeling department sends you a rough scene from which you have to do your matte painting. Render the scene using the cylindrical lens, then paint your scenery. You can project the image cylindrically using camera mapping and the camera can then pan across a much larger area than would be possible using other projection types.
Proceed as follows when creating a 360° rendering: