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Old 05-29-2006, 07:01 PM   #1
Kevin
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TUTORIAL: Creating Panoramic Photos Using Autostitch

TUTORIAL: Creating Panoramic Photos Using Autostitch

I got inspired after reading this thread and decided to learn Autostitch. This is fully functional freeware, but does not save your settings when you close the application. It only takes a few seconds to enter the settings.

STEP 1 - Take the photographs. You need to keep the camera level and have the edges of each picture overlap slightly so Autostich can properly connect the images together. I have tried connecting pictures that do not match just to see what happens. I received an application error and it does not complete the panoramic image. It also helps to have your camera set to panoramic or manually set the camera's settings (do NOT use automatic settings). This keeps color and contrast balances uniform.

STEP 2 - Download Autostich. It includes this tutorial.

STEP 3 - Enter the settings exactly as shown below. Some settings are unchanged. Sometimes setting the blending bands to 3 instead of 2 helps with tough edges.




STEP 4 - Open each picture from your camera in your photograph manipulating software of choice (I use Photoshop, but it costs money so for a free option visit this post). I use the auto levels feature in Photoshop to make the brightness and color balance in each picture the same. Because sunlight's impact is different from picture to picture you need to have all the pictures for your panoramic as close to the same brightness/contrast as possible. You'll need to toy with your particular photo software's settings if you're not already familiar with how to do this.

STEP 5 - In Autostitch go to File --> Open. Select all the pictures you adjusted in Step 4, holding down the Ctrl key on your keyboard while clicking on each filename (this allows you to select more than one file at a time). Click the open button and Autostich will start to create a panoramic photo for you. It takes several minutes depending on the processing power of your computer. Once completed it tries to open the generated jpeg file into your default image viewer. This may not work and you might have to open the pano.jpg file into the software used in Step 4.

STEP 6 - Once you've loaded the pano.jpg into your photo editing software, you will need to crop the picture. Below is a screen shot of one of my panoramic photos, showing the selected areas to be cropped. You obviously want all the black areas to be removed and have as much of the photographic content selected as possible.




STEP 7 - Once cropped you will want to make minor brightness/contrast changes and resize your panoramic photo to your needs. Here's the final result from above:


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Old 05-29-2006, 07:03 PM   #2
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This post reserved for FAQs as they come up.
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Old 05-29-2006, 07:51 PM   #3
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Mac stitches

Autostitch does not have a Macintosh version, though (the usual line) they are "working on one". Never fear, a number of similar products exist for the Macintosh as well, some free, some not so free. I have a Canon camera which comes with PhotoStitch for the Mac. It works as easily as you expect any Mac product to work... just run it and it works, nothing else special required. Photos stitches are seamless, as long as there is reasonable structure detail contained in adjacent photos.
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Old 06-14-2006, 05:06 PM   #4
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If you have photoshop CS or CS2 it has a panorama function called "photomerge" in the file:automate menu. It works very well if the brightness and color balance are already matched.
It helps to use manual settings on the camera if possible. Auto exposure settings on the camera will result in very different exposures that you may not be able to match by adjusting in the computer. Clouds especially tend to match up poorly if the exposures are not right and one has the highlights all clipped off and overexposed.
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Old 06-14-2006, 07:17 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbitling
If you have photoshop CS or CS2 it has a panorama function called "photomerge" in the file:automate menu. It works very well if the brightness and color balance are already matched.
It helps to use manual settings on the camera if possible. Auto exposure settings on the camera will result in very different exposures that you may not be able to match by adjusting in the computer. Clouds especially tend to match up poorly if the exposures are not right and one has the highlights all clipped off and overexposed.
^^ Thanks for the tips ^^
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Old 06-15-2006, 10:51 PM   #6
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Thanks for the tips Kevin...Here's a view from atop Porter
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Old 06-15-2006, 10:53 PM   #7
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And from Cascade
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Old 06-15-2006, 10:55 PM   #8
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And from Mt Jo in the clouds
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Old 06-22-2006, 07:33 PM   #9
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here is one from a non adirondack location. John Boyd Thatcher state park near albany. I tested my new hammock tent and got up really early for this shot. humid weather=nice fog
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Old 06-22-2006, 09:06 PM   #10
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That is neat..kindy of eerie...
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Old 07-10-2006, 04:18 PM   #11
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I just tried the program out yesterday. It did a better job of stitching my photos together than the program that came with my camera.
http://community.webshots.com/photo/...8978467xCjGmW#
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Old 07-24-2006, 11:23 PM   #12
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Here's some Maine Panoramas
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Old 07-24-2006, 11:24 PM   #13
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A touch later
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Old 07-24-2006, 11:25 PM   #14
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And Ogunquit Beach
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Old 07-25-2006, 08:11 AM   #15
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I've been setting the blending bands to 4 and blending to 6 and the photos are being meshed with even fewer noticeable edges.

All the above panos look great .
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Old 08-31-2006, 01:52 AM   #16
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Question

i just tried to make a pano of niagara falls using 6 shots but only pics 2 and 3 were used and im not sure why
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Old 09-01-2006, 09:06 PM   #17
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I seem to have missed these panos. Thatcher Park has a mystical quality about it and Ogonquit Beach jsut makes me want to turn my car east and return to Maine (even if I do just wave to southern maine and keep driving ) for the smell of the ocean.
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Old 09-02-2006, 11:43 AM   #18
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As an additional help for step 1, having the same camera settings for each picture (not having the camera on auto), will greatly improve results since that should result in little color variation between the individual pictures. Or, if your camera has a panorama setting, use that.
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Old 09-02-2006, 12:00 PM   #19
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Here is what I've noticed regarding the overlap between the individual pictures.

If I use the panorama setting on my camera (Canon), the pictures have a large overlap (almost 50%). This works well with AutoStitch. I think one of the reasons that the results are nice, is that with the large overlap, if your individual pictures have any vignetting around the edges, the software has enough overlap to avoid using that area of the picture. PhotoShop's photomerge doesn't like the large overlap, and won't automatically create the panorama. But there is a manual mode that allows you to arrange the pictures yourself, and once you have the general overlap lined up, PhotoShop figures it out and does the "fine tuning".

I have also played around with pictures that I took that were not in panorama mode, that had a much smaller overlap. With these pictures, AutoStitch wouldn't create the panorama, but PhotoShop worked without an issue.

So, I guess my advice is if your camera has panorama functionality, use that, if not overlap your pictures quite a bit for better results.
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Old 09-02-2006, 12:46 PM   #20
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Kyler, thanks a bunch for the feedback and suggestions. I removed my prior post on overlapping the images because I was having contrary experiences but my 'tests' and observations were less than scientific. I believe you have the correct advice here. I also added your tips to step 1 .
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