Useful Tips

Overview of programs for creating panoramas


A panoramic layout is a way to create much wider fields of view than your lens and camera can provide. Hugin is an advanced publicly available program that allows you to automate the "stitching" of panoramic photos, built on the Panorama Tools project. Although it may not be easy to use as alternatives, the basics of creating panoramic photos are relatively simple. A little practice, and you will take photos, and "stitch" panoramas in the blink of an eye.

Method 1 Taking Pictures

  1. 1 Consider lowering the quality settings on your camera. Remember that your final image can be many times larger in all dimensions than a normal photo taken with your camera. Unless you need to print photos of huge sizes (and / or you have unlimited processor power, disk space and memory), you should not set the highest quality of the picture that is possible on your camera (although you can not use large JPEG compression if it is possible).
  2. 2 Set the manual white balance. Many cameras (including the old Canon D30, used to take photographs for this article) do not block their automatic white balance between frames, and are not able to do this even when using AE lock (see below). Your camera may decide to change the white balance for different parts of the panorama, therefore, in the end you will get several photos with a very different white balance, which will take a lot of time and nerves to fix using software.

therefore not use auto mode for white balance. Read the instructions for using your camera in order to understand how to do it yourself, on some devices this is in the “shooting mode” sections - view settings. Of course, you should not worry about this if you are shooting on tape. (Of course, you can shoot in raw format, and set the white balance when you convert to another, more acceptable format.)

  • 3 Tilt your lens down a bit. Most - perhaps even all - camera lenses tend to tilt slightly down to the corners and darken when shooting with a wide-open lens (this will happen with any aperture, but worst of all when the lens is wide open). This will be especially noticeable if you shoot on 35 mm film or using a full-frame SLR camera. Hugin can adapt to some extent, but it’s better to eliminate it completely. If conditions permit, try to use the aperture one or two stops less than the wide-open lens. This has an added advantage, because lenses tend to get a little sharper down, this will help Hugin find adjacent points much easier. (If you don’t really understand this, don’t worry too much, just fix the darkened corners using the software later.)
  • 4 Take a test shot to choose the correct exposure if you are shooting with a digital camera. Check your LCD screen for proper exposure. And as with all digital cameras, if in doubt, it is better not to contain it. You can fix and add details and shadows later if necessary, but you will never be able to remove the burnt out light spot.
  • 5 Enable AE lock, if you have one. On Canon cameras, this is a button with an asterisk on the back. This will prevent the difference in exposure in photographs between different frames. Hugin mixes them in such a way that it will not be very noticeable, but still take this idea into account. (If you have an unusual approach, you may like the effect that appears in the pictures without using your AE lock, have fun if this is your work style.)
  • 6 Take your photos. Remember that Hugin can handle as many shots as you give him in all directions (up and down). The most important thing is to leave a substantial overlay between the shots, perhaps even one third. Beware of large, unfilled areas in the sky, Hugin will not be able to automatically distinguish between adjacent points (“control points”) between two frames. If you want to be pedantic enough, use the panoramic tripod mount to make sure that when you rotate the camera, you do this around the front axle. Quoting Paul Baths Volrie,

    To preserve the perspective during rotation, which prevents the displacement of nearby objects relative to the background (parallax), the axis of rotation should pass through the entrance pupil of the optics [...], the position of which can be approximately set using visual inspection. When you look at the front of the lens, the entrance pupil is the image of the opening of the diaphragm

    Method 2 Stitching Your Photos Using Hugin

    1. 1 Open the program and click the “Download Images” button. Select the photos you took before this. Click OK and wait.
    2. 2 If necessary, enter your focus distance and FOV. If you were shooting on a digital camera, and software intervention does not remove EXIF ​​data from your photos, Hugin should determine this automatically, so don’t worry too much about it (in our case, shooting was carried out on a Canon camera equipped with a 29 mm M42 lens with manual focus, so you must enter data manually). Remember to enter your actual focus distance and crop factor of your sensor, rather than the 35 mm equivalent distance (you can easily find this information using a web search). If you are shooting on 35 mm film, just enter your focal length and set the multiplier to 1. Divide 35 by the width of your film in millimeters to get a focal length multiplier for other formats.
    3. 3 Click Align. The window that appears is the key point generator; it is a tool that finds adjacent points between your shots to match them and connect them properly. After that, a window will appear that will show you a “roughly stitched” version of your photo. (Do not worry about the ugly edges in this window, the “stitching” mechanism will smooth them out later.)
    4. 4 Check fit. The information “Typical error after optimization ...” may appear in the main window of Hugin. Check the information below immediately. If it says "very good fit" or, perhaps, just "good fit", then you can safely "stitch" your frames and ignore the next three steps.

  • 5 Remove all scattered control points. One of the main reasons for incorrectly stitched images in the Hugin program is the finding of control points between the images in those places where they should not be. Find these false breakpoints and delete them. Control points will be marked with circles. Right-click once in the center of the circle, then select “Delete” on the bottom panel (by default, at least in Linux, this button on the panel is negligible, so you might want to make it bigger).
  • 6 Add multiple control points. Go to the “Control Points” tab. You will see two numbered tabs there. This is the number of your photos. Make sure that in both the left and right tabs, there are two different images with a common item between each other. Click on the left, then on the corresponding right (see the figure on the right for an example). Hugin will set everything up by default, so don’t worry about accuracy (although it’s better to increase the scale to 100%, in the pop-up menu below, so that the program does not have to make too many assumptions). Click the Add button on the bottom panel. Add as much as you see fit and repeat the process for each common area between all the photos.
  • 7 Return to the “Help Tab” and click “Align”. If you have not achieved the desired effect (“very good fit” or at least “good fit”), repeat the previous two steps and this one until you do it right. Try more control points, more apart from each other. Once the alignment is correct, you may want to click the Align button in the Panorama Preview window.
  • 8 Optimize your panorama. There is a button on the toolbar for this, find the icon on the right. Click her. You can do this also by pressing the “Optimization” button, this will give you more complete control over what exactly will be optimized.
  • 9 Set the staple options. Go to the “Stitching” tab and click “Calculate the optimal size”, this will make your final image as large as necessary. Set the "Stapling mechanism to" no, this usually gives good results, although it does not allow the addition of PSD files (which may be useful for you or not) or something other than TIFF files. Set “Image Format” to “TIFF”. You might want to use the “multi-layer TIFF” if you ignored the tips about white balance and exposure lock, this will allow you to manually adjust the exposure and white balance if your software does it well (GIMP does it right). Alas, this means that you will have to connect each photo manually using masking layers. Good luck.
  • 10 Click the Sew Now button. Enter a file name in order to save it. Click "Save", and relax, and ...
  • 11 Do other things, away from the computer. Stitching can take some time, and observing this process is not particularly exciting.
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