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Panoramic photography with free software and cheap hardware

Panoramic photographs are used to make images of scenes that are too large to fit in a normal camera lens or even too big for the human eye to see at one time. Most well-known panoramas are outdoor landscape shots of geological features or city skylines, but they are useful for taking large pictures inside buildings as well.

Panoramas are almost as old as photography itself. Professional photographers and inventors have been creating extreme wide-angle photos using a variety of methods since the nineteenth century, but until recently these required expensive specialized equipment and processing techniques. Several types of panoramic cameras have been built over the years that expose a large sheet of film by either moving a lens across it or exposing through a fixed lens with a very wide view angle.

More recent innovations in photography include digital cameras and computerized image processing, which have made possible yet another panoramic photography technique: image stitching. Stitched panoramas allow much more flexibility than older panoramic cameras and are well within the budget of any amateur photographer.

A stitched panorama starts off as a series of shot through a standard lens, with the camera in the same location, using the same exposure, but facing in different directions. Computer software then analyzes the separate images to determine which angle each one corresponds to, and finally combines all the images into a single seamless panorama.
 
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You can use Windows Live Photo Gallery instead. It has a stitch photos function.
camel flag4 years ago
just use photo synth sooooo much easyer.
stuuf (author)  camel flag4 years ago
I put "free software" in the title and you suggest a microsoft product. Way to miss the point.
frollard stuuf4 years ago
reading further into the comments it seems you're opposed to ice...never mind.
frollard stuuf4 years ago
Microsoft Research ICE (Image composition editor) is DEAD simple, totally free, all windows platforms 32 and 64 bit.

No thought involved.  Drop all photos, and it calculates the image.  No adjustment of any photos.  You can change the expected input (rotating camera or linear) and projection of the final (cylinder, sphere, isometric)...and it spits out glory every time!  Check it out!
photo synth IS free
jaceone5 years ago
Hmm that scene looks familiar.. GO TIGERS!
is that mizzou?
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stuuf (author)  DELETED_manonfire2855 years ago
What exactly does it do that hugin and autopano-sift can't? (besides forcing me to use an expensive proprietary operating system)
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stuuf (author)  DELETED_manonfire2855 years ago
Autopano can create control points from a set of images automatically and can be called directly from inside hugin. Hugin can also correct images with different exposures or white balance (if you do something stupid like try to take a panorama with your cell phone) Anything else?
You should try out autostitch, its free and does everything automatically. The algorithm has been licensed out to a bunch of professional programs (Autopano Pro being my favorite) and companies including ILM. Check it out at www.autostitch.net The default settings make a pretty small panorama and the compression is set to 75% quality. Change output to 100% and set quality to 100% and you're set. I agree though that panotools gives you complete control but for average users I always recommend autostitch simply due to the ease of use.
stuuf (author)  jphphotography5 years ago
Yeah, thanks. I'm always looking for closed-source demo programs that have less flexibility than tools I already know how to use and don't run natively on my operating system.
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