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  • How to create Panoramic photos?

    I'm sorry if this is too basic, but I'm trying to get my head around creating Panoramic photos. Yes I know my P&S can create them

    I had a bit of a play over the weekend, and although I got an image, I'm not 100% happy with the results.






    I've done a bit of study around the traps but have yet to find a resource which can help me 100% (Slow learner)

    Although I have considered a panoramic head, and the Gigapan Epic Pro would be nice, I cannot justify spending 1kAUD (if buy it locally) for something I may not use a lot.

    Anyway back to the photography. I started with a 16 shot pano and the image was so long and thin it didnít look right, so I cut it back to around 7 shots. I note that some panoís are not only lateral images stitched but also vertical to make the image appear more like a one shot image.

    What I did learn was manual exposure, and manual focus (forgot that one) but it is also the art of taking these images, particularly where both lateral and vertical are involved. I would like to take these with minimal parallax errors, and preferably without buying a pano head initially.

    Can anyone give me some basic pointers, so I can get some pano's using both lateral and vertical for the same image?

    After I get this close to being mastered I'd like to add bracketing and/or HDR into the mix

    Then the next issue will be software to process these
    Cheers Richard !

  • #2
    Not exactly what you're looking for, but some random tips I have:

    > Along with Manual exposure and Manual focus - set a custom white balance, otherwise it will change depending on the contents of the shot (Particularly important at night).

    > Get the tripod as level as possible, if the tripod or the base of the tripod head has a spirit level use this. The better you level the tripod, the straighter the shots will stitch (and the less distortion of the stitched image).

    Anyway, that's about all i can think of for the minute. Hope it's some help...
    > Photos taken with a moderate focal length will generally stitch more easily than wide-angle or ultra-wide-angle shots (unless you're extremely close to your subject).

    > Large "empty" areas like large expanses of clear sky often fail to stitch (in PS anyway), and have to be manually blended.

    > Make sure there's plenty of overlap between shots (40-50% overlap as a minimum is the ideal with longer focal lengths, sometimes for UWA's you need as much a 70-80% depending on the complexity of the subject).

    > If possible, open the RAW files as a batch and process them before stitching. Pay particular attention to removal of CA and removal of vignetting, and finding the best compromise for white-balance/colour across all the shots. (This is made a lot easier if you have them all open in CameraRaw or similar and have them all selected while carrying out the edits...)
    -Tim.

    Comment


    • #3
      Manual exposure, big aperture, focal length not too wide (I like 35mm or close to it on APS-C crop / 50mm equiv to FF), tripod is helpful but not compulsory.
      Camera in portrait orientation, I always swing L-R but that's personal, 25-30% overlap per frame.
      Import RAW files to LR
      Basic edit on the first one (Camera RAW correction, lens adjustment, etc). Sync all the others to the first shot.
      Export as TIFFs
      Import into Microsoft ICE the best pano program on the market and its free. Create pano. Export result as TIFF
      Import Pano TIFF to LR and do final adjustments.
      Takes 3-5 minutes all up from taking the card out of the camera to finished product for a 10 or so shot pano.
      .

      Comment


      • #4
        Oops just remembered that you are a Mac person. You miss out on your dose of ICE then.

        One more thing. If you want to do HDR panos you need to do the HDR conversion of each photo first before you do the stitch. It's straight forward do the HDR on the first one save the recipe then do each remaining shot then stitch the HDR shots together.
        The reason is that it is almost impossible to do stitches that are the exact same dimensions so your -1,0 and +1 stitch will all be very slightly different and the HDR software will have a hernia trying to get them all lined up.

        I did try the Hugin Panorama software at one stage it was okay but I prefer ICE. For you though it does work on a Mac
        Last edited by K1W1; 14-01-2013, 06:12 PM.
        .

        Comment


        • #5
          PM sent.
          My website
          Facebook

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          • #6
            Thanks Beeb, K1W1, and Plusnq.

            I did remember to set the WB, and I also remembered K1W1's previous advice about shooting portrait.

            The practice images were done handheld, using the lines in the view finder to track the horizon. I also used 85mm lens on a crop body, and I shot RAW.

            I think I need to create a cheat sheet, so I remember all these things.
            Cheers Richard !

            Comment


            • #7
              I just downloaded and tried the latest Hugin on the pano from Saturday and was quite impressed with the result. The interface was not as polished as you would expect from Adobe but there is a huge amount of possibilities (I basically just kept clicking default).
              I think that you might want to give it a go. I pixel peeped the detail of all the factories in Croydon/Kilsyth and the trees and paddocks and couldn't find any errors.
              .

              Comment


              • #8
                How to create Panoramic photos?

                I like panorama factory and it has versions for both windows and mac

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Remorhaz View Post
                  I like panorama factory and it has versions for both windows and mac
                  Thanks, I'll check it out.

                  Do you use a panoramic head?
                  Cheers Richard !

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I don't believe nodal rails and pano heads and all that stuff are worthwhile unless you want absolute nth degree accuracy or you want some sort of unattended remote device.
                    These things come from film days when you had to get the shots right up from otherwise you had no way in hell of ever merging them.
                    With the algorithms that the software uses today in conjunction with the exif extracted from the files the stitching software does a massive amount of calculation to get things lines up correctly. You will be amazed what the software tells you with things like the angle of rotation both horizontal and vertical, FOV, type of stitching method etc. This is the main reason I use stitching software to do the job rather than trying to do it in Photoshop. Use a tool designed for the job.
                    Last edited by K1W1; 15-01-2013, 09:38 AM.
                    .

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I
                      >>hand hold when doing most panos

                      >>use AV mostly

                      >>often use manual focus but not every time

                      >>overlap heavily...better to have too many images than not enough

                      >>hold camera vertically mostly

                      >>don't use wide angle.....50-70 or even a longer lens

                      >>leave plenty of cropable area top and bottom

                      >>i export as PSD to a pano folder outside Lightroom

                      >>chunk them in CS3 photo merge

                      >>might use transform to correct angles if required

                      >>take the new pano back to lightroom

                      >>delete the original images

                      >>give them the "Pano" LR keyword plus others

                      >>post them APH and generally forget about them



                      OK i'm not perfectionist, I have done them from a moving truck and from an airplane (yeah ok; was only two images and more arse than class lol). They are not hard to do. I just work out what I want in it, keep the horizon as straight as possible and approximately the same place in the viewfinder for each image. That all takes a few minutes..........move onto something else

                      Panos are not rock science IMO
                      Cheers for now, IanB.
                      Photos by Ian Browne on Facebook

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Spearmint View Post
                        Do you use a panoramic head?
                        No and as Richard says I also don't believe they are really necessary - except:

                        - if you plan to shoot pano's with objects which are quite close to the camera - the closer things are the harder it is to stitch without errors
                        - multi row panos are harder to do without special equipment (but not impossible)

                        Also - this might be obvious but just in case for the folks out there - (ignoring the other compression effects you get from using different focal lengths)
                        - the longer the focal length you use for the pano images the wider and narrower (in height) the resulting pano will be (assuming a single row pano, which is by far the easiest to do) AND the more source shots you need to take for a certain overall angle of view
                        - conversely using a wider focal length allows you to end up with a relatively "taller" and not so wide result (to the point that if you use a 180 degree fisheye you can get a nice (but very distorted) full 360 degree pano (in both horizontal and vertical directions) in three shots and the result is about a 2:1 aspect ratio
                        - note also that option 1 also results in a much larger (pixel dimensions and file size - this can be both good and bad obviously) pano result
                        Last edited by Remorhaz; 15-01-2013, 10:33 AM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          While I typing the above CS3 was joining the image in post #13 together

                          I stood on the the truck fuel tanks with the G12 and clicked away six times. The pano would be around 90/120 decrees of landscape

                          I took the first image at 9.01.51 and the last at 9.02.13

                          While stopped (yeah, of course I stopped...............for these anyway lol) I took about 25 photos including two pano sets from 8.59.30 to 9.02.46
                          Cheers for now, IanB.
                          Photos by Ian Browne on Facebook

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            HUGIN is a pretty useful tool to stitch the photos
                            http://hugin.sourceforge.net/
                            D7100, SB700. PS CS5, LR 4.4 - Flickr

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by K1W1 View Post
                              I don't believe nodal rails and pano heads and all that stuff are worthwhile unless you want absolute nth degree accuracy or you want some sort of unattended remote device.
                              These things come from film days when you had to get the shots right up from otherwise you had no way in hell of ever merging them.
                              With the algorithms that the software uses today in conjunction with the exif extracted from the files the stitching software does a massive amount of calculation to get things lines up correctly. You will be amazed what the software tells you with things like the angle of rotation both horizontal and vertical, FOV, type of stitching method etc. This is the main reason I use stitching software to do the job rather than trying to do it in Photoshop. Use a tool designed for the job.
                              Originally posted by Lost View Post
                              I
                              >>hand hold when doing most panos

                              >>use AV mostly

                              >>often use manual focus but not every time

                              >>overlap heavily...better to have too many images than not enough

                              >>hold camera vertically mostly

                              >>don't use wide angle.....50-70 or even a longer lens

                              >>leave plenty of cropable area top and bottom

                              >>i export as PSD to a pano folder outside Lightroom

                              >>chunk them in CS3 photo merge

                              >>might use transform to correct angles if required

                              >>take the new pano back to lightroom

                              >>delete the original images

                              >>give them the "Pano" LR keyword plus others

                              >>post them APH and generally forget about them



                              OK i'm not perfectionist, I have done them from a moving truck and from an airplane (yeah ok; was only two images and more arse than class lol). They are not hard to do. I just work out what I want in it, keep the horizon as straight as possible and approximately the same place in the viewfinder for each image. That all takes a few minutes..........move onto something else

                              Panos are not rock science IMO
                              Originally posted by Remorhaz View Post
                              No and as Richard says I also don't believe they are really necessary - except:

                              - if you plan to shoot pano's with objects which are quite close to the camera - the closer things are the harder it is to stitch without errors
                              - multi row panos are harder to do without special equipment (but not impossible)

                              Also - this might be obvious but just in case for the folks out there - (ignoring the other compression effects you get from using different focal lengths)
                              - the longer the focal length you use for the pano images the wider and narrower (in height) the resulting pano will be (assuming a single row pano, which is by far the easiest to do) AND the more source shots you need to take for a certain overall angle of view
                              - conversely using a wider focal length allows you to end up with a relatively "taller" and not so wide result (to the point that if you use a 180 degree fisheye you can get a nice (but very distorted) full 360 degree pano (in both horizontal and vertical directions) in three shots and the result is about a 2:1 aspect ratio
                              - note also that option 1 also results in a much larger (pixel dimensions and file size - this can be both good and bad obviously) pano result
                              Originally posted by ScottH View Post
                              HUGIN is a pretty useful tool to stitch the photos
                              http://hugin.sourceforge.net/

                              Thank you all for the advice and assistance.

                              Nice pano Ian, I love the colours.

                              I'll trial a few more panos over the coming days, and try out some of the recommended software.

                              I'm glad in a way I don't need to buy any new hardware, and that I should be able to get good results, within reason, by either handheld or using a tripod.

                              If I get a chance I'll also try out taking a multi level one.

                              I might even do what Ian did, and use the P&S for practice.
                              Cheers Richard !

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                I downloaded Microsoft ICE earlier and had a play. Even after downloading and installing the appropriate codec pack it didn't recognise the RAW files, so I had to convert to jpeg to do a stitch. Not that big a deal, just surprising given its list my camera's Raw files on as one of the compatible formats.

                                It gave a slightly sharper (overall) stitch, and ever so slightly faster, but it also introduced a few very obvious overlap errors (areas that haven't lined up when stitching in other words) to an image that PS had absolutely no troubles with. They could be corrected manually with some cloning/layer work, but it'd be annoying. I'll give it a few more attempts, but can't say I'm thrilled with it so far...
                                -Tim.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I never use RAW files with ICE only TIFFs or jpegs. I have had ICE create vertical panos of trees that other programs have simply crashed on. As far as banding is concerned again in my experience ICE has been as good or better than many oth programs I have tried and as far as panos are concerned I have tried plenty. ICE is not perfect but firstly it's free, secondly it's probably the best program Micosoft actually produce and third it is easy for people to use especially if they haven't tried panos before.
                                  In my experience mots banding on images has always been my fault. Usually I forget and leave one parameter on auto rather than having 100% the same settings on every photo. One thing that does affect panos badly is a filter I got bad banding once with a straight UV filter don't know why.
                                  .

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Minty here are a couple of things you might want to try.

                                    This was taken with my D50 and 16-85 set to 35mm. I was maybe 4 metres from the base of the tree and it's taken hand held from bottom to top with the camera in normal landscape mode. Overall 15 shots are merged in ICE no other program I tried could do the merge every one bombed (remember this was 4 years ago). If you check the full size on Flickr you will see some issues with the large horizontal branch on the right of the trunk but nobody o have shown the picture to has ever noticed it and i can't be bothered fiddling to correct it.



                                    You might remember this one from the leech walk with Terry my neighbour. Again hand held and 15 shots.



                                    Another hand held this time Cape Schanck. The main thing I wanted to see here was how well ICE in this case handled the moving waves. Acceptable for me at least.



                                    Looking from Middle Park towards St Kilda again hand held (5 shots)



                                    Melbourne skyline from on top of the roof of a 40 story building in City Road (16 shots). Again hand held, blowing a gale and taken very, very quickly because the union guys were giving me strange looks as I was using a camera on site (they subsequently questioned me about it but that is another story). There is some obvious banding in this but I have a feeing I was in Aperture priority but as I only had seconds to get the shots while somebodies back was turned I was not going to fiddle.



                                    The point of all of these is that they are all hand held they all have minimal editing and imo at least they are all reasonable panoramas. If you pixel peep you will find issues but a panorama to me is about the big picture not the tiny detail so just go out and play.
                                    .

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Last one I promise. This is actually the most interesting but I had trouble finding it.



                                      This one was taken with my D300 in portrait mode with the shutter set to high speed burst (8fps) and the camera literally swung from left to right with my finger on the shutter. There are at least three people in the photo who were walking during the time the shots were taken. Basically this is what p&s cameras do but they stitch in camera afterwards.
                                      Panoramas are not rocket science.
                                      Last edited by K1W1; 15-01-2013, 07:12 PM.
                                      .

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        Thanks Beeb and K1W1

                                        Going through some images from our trip to Perth late last year.

                                        I was caught short with this church, I didn't have a wide lens on the camera, and had taken 3 images trying to get a reasonable shot of it. There was no thought of a panoramic image at the time, so camera was set auto WB, focus, and aperture. However merging them makes not a bad final capture IMO. It's a pity I didn't allow enough room above the left hand spire, but now I'm reasonably confident if it happens again, I might be able to make something of it.

                                        Last edited by Spearmint; 16-01-2013, 07:19 PM. Reason: Fixed Link
                                        Cheers Richard !

                                        Comment


                                        • #21
                                          Not hard is it?
                                          I think that's a great result especially seeing as the shots weren't taken with a pano in mind.
                                          .

                                          Comment


                                          • #22
                                            Originally posted by K1W1 View Post
                                            Not hard is it?
                                            I think that's a great result especially seeing as the shots weren't taken with a pano in mind.
                                            The software certainly makes life easy

                                            Here is another from Perth, 3x consecutive shots, again taken all auto, but I feel worked out okay.


                                            Last edited by Spearmint; 16-01-2013, 07:18 PM. Reason: Fixed link
                                            Cheers Richard !

                                            Comment


                                            • #23
                                              Originally posted by Spearmint View Post
                                              Thank you all for the advice and assistance.

                                              Nice pano Ian, I love the colours.

                                              I'll trial a few more panos over the coming days, and try out some of the recommended software.

                                              I'm glad in a way I don't need to buy any new hardware, and that I should be able to get good results, within reason, by either handheld or using a tripod.

                                              If I get a chance I'll also try out taking a multi level one.

                                              I might even do what Ian did, and use the P&S for practice.
                                              Not sure if it has already been mentioned, but a couple of points.
                                              A CPL can effect the colours, when pointing at differently lighted angles.
                                              Always expose for the brightest shot.
                                              D7100, SB700. PS CS5, LR 4.4 - Flickr

                                              Comment


                                              • #24
                                                Originally posted by ScottH View Post
                                                Not sure if it has already been mentioned, but a couple of points.
                                                A CPL can effect the colours, when pointing at differently lighted angles.
                                                Always expose for the brightest shot.

                                                Thanks Scott

                                                I'm going to need to put together a cheat sheet, so I can tick them off, as I know I'm going to forget something
                                                Cheers Richard !

                                                Comment


                                                • #25
                                                  Originally posted by Spearmint View Post
                                                  It's a pity I didn't allow enough room above the left hand spire,
                                                  So where are your Photoshop skills?
                                                  Ever heard of content aware fill?
                                                  You could also just take a slice of the sky then add it to the top and clone the extra spire out and then blend the clouds together or you could use a mask and completely replace the sky with another one that that has some more room on top.
                                                  I thought you Mac people were all creative and techno wizards.
                                                  .

                                                  Comment


                                                  • #26
                                                    Originally posted by Spearmint View Post
                                                    Thanks Scott

                                                    I'm going to need to put together a cheat sheet, so I can tick them off, as I know I'm going to forget something
                                                    Oh good.
                                                    I could use it.
                                                    I always forget things in the heat of the shooting moment.
                                                    Premature Shutter Release.
                                                    D7100, SB700. PS CS5, LR 4.4 - Flickr

                                                    Comment


                                                    • #27
                                                      Originally posted by Spearmint View Post
                                                      I'm going to need to put together a cheat sheet, so I can tick them off, as I know I'm going to forget something
                                                      1. Manual exposure set for the bright parts.
                                                      2. Plenty of space around the edges to allow for parallax errors and cropping
                                                      3. 30% or thereabouts overlap on each shot.
                                                      4. (The most important part) take a photo with your hand in the frame before and after the pano so you can easily tell where it starts and stops when you get home with 200 photos to edit. This should also be done with HDRs.
                                                      .

                                                      Comment


                                                      • #28
                                                        Originally posted by ScottH View Post
                                                        Oh good.
                                                        I could use it.
                                                        I always forget things in the heat of the shooting moment.
                                                        Premature Shutter Release.
                                                        I like that Scott

                                                        Originally posted by K1W1 View Post
                                                        1. Manual exposure set for the bright parts.
                                                        2. Plenty of space around the edges to allow for parallax errors and cropping
                                                        3. 30% or thereabouts overlap on each shot.
                                                        4. (The most important part) take a photo with your hand in the frame before and after the pano so you can easily tell where it starts and stops when you get home with 200 photos to edit. This should also be done with HDRs.
                                                        Thanks, plus manual focus, set WB, and whatever else has been missed
                                                        Cheers Richard !

                                                        Comment


                                                        • #29
                                                          I was including that in manual focus but yes I guess i should have been more specific. Maybe I should have just said manual mode with exposure for the bright parts.
                                                          .

                                                          Comment


                                                          • #30
                                                            BTW: you don't have to go anywhere special to practice panos. Your house or back/front yard; or the house/s across the road; or a fence or the near by park are all you need to practice taking the photos and work out what works for you. Like most things photography, expensive gadgets are not really needed. (wish I knew that when I started out)
                                                            Cheers for now, IanB.
                                                            Photos by Ian Browne on Facebook

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