Sunday, September 14, 2014

Stitching pictures into a panorama

If you want to capture a whole scene in a single picture your digital camera might not be your first choice. Even if you have a wide lens it might not be enough for the entire scene. It is easier to take the phone out of the pocket, set it in panorama mode and just take the photo.
But there is an easy and simple way to do the same thing with your digital camera, even if the camera does not have the panorama function.

Creating a panorama in post-processing.

The first step is to set the camera on manual, aperture priority, or shutter priority. The idea behind this is to obtain pictures in which the settings of the camera are similar creating same style photos.

If you let the camera on auto, the camera may choose different settings which will create a not very convincing panorama result.

After setting the camera, take pictures of the scene moving the digital camera in a linear/rotating motion.

Be as steady as possible while moving the camera, keeping the camera at the same level.

Step two, merging the pictures.
For these you need the Microsoft ICE. It is free and creates magic. Import the taken pictures in ICE and let it go to work.
The result will be a good panorama done fast and well.
Give the program a try.
You can use this program not just to stitch a series of photos horizontally. If you are to close to a subject and can't back up anymore, and the lens it is at it's widest point the solution is taking a series of pictures horizontally and vertically and then making an image out of them.

But sometimes the program is not enough to create the final desired result. The image might be distorted, or you will need to add pixels at the edge of the photo. For this you will need a program like Photoshop or the free alternative Gimp.
You can see in the picture above that the sky in the right is put together in a hurry. Also, the initial picture was very distorted due to the angle from which all the 4 initial shots were taken. After a little editing, the picture is looking a lot better.

The downside: panoramas can create addiction. Be responsible.

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