Sunday, May 15, 2016

Awesome Panorama Software!

River in between the mountains.

Often times when I travel there are these amazing landscapes which really simply breath taking. Then the reality hits when I look through the view finder or take a photo and look at back of the camera. Nothing but disappointment .The photo does not do any justice to what I see. The grandeur, and the spectacular view of the entire landscape cannot be encapsulated in a single photograph. The problem is a bit more when you shoot with a camera with a small sensor, The wide angle lens can only go so wide.

In most cases the camera lense is not wide enough or the perspective is not zoomed enough to capture the scene. Thankfully though we can make panoramas to capture the beautiful landscape. This is perhaps the best way to show some of these breath taking views.

The technique is simple take a series of photos and stitch them all of them together. In fact today software and hardware are so advanced you don't even need software on a desktop to make panorama. Cameras have this feature built in and all you have to do is simply wave the camera and make a panorama. It's really simple!

Even cellphone cameras have this feature, just pan the camera and the poof! the panorama is done. But if you planning to photograph a series of images that is when you may run into problems. Camera manufactures are packing more and more mega-pixels into a camera body at this point and the files that come out are huge. Start going beyond 10 files and software start to struggle.

You can use PhotoShop the one hammer which fits all problems including this one or use LightRoom which also has a panorama feature which is amazing. however if you have  not invested in one of these software where do you go is the question? In fact I have struggled with these software. Some of my panoramas where I stitch have 20-30 photos each with 24 mega-pixel the software just hangs. I have a decent rig but no avail.

After looking around for many software (free and paid)  I finally stumbled upon this amazing software called Image Composite Editor and it is awesome.

Here is one of the panorama's I was making. It is 51 image panorama I was struggling with in PhotoShop. I put this to the test here and started by importing the images

waited for it do its calculations...

A few moments later you get the panorama all stitched together

I has a really good image stitching algorithm. It is good enough to fill in sky bits on the top and if there are no complex patterns in the ground like grass it will fill that up too. Once you have the panorama style you like and are happy with the crop you can export to jpeg, tiff, ping or even into a Photoshop file for further editing.

Here are some examples on some of the panoramas I made using this software
Avantipur Temple, Kashmir

World's Biggest world cannon Rajasthan

Chand Baori

The best in case have not yet mentioned the software is Free!!!! So go ahead make your panoramas and show some amazing perspectives.  As per the Microsoft website you can make image composite using video as well. This is something I have not tried. You can read more about the product on the company website and see the demo of the product below.

I did find software created panoramas which were not proper. In case you have a problem with a panorama just close the application and try again it usually works. Another problem I found was in a panorama the software decides which part of the images are to be revealed. I am sure that can be done. This is something you can do when you work with Photoshop by working on the layer you like and painting in the layer you like and painting out the layer you don't want

A workaround I used was export the image to a PSD file you can do later in Photoshop I worked with the different layers. Alternatively you can do a photo merge in Photoshop with the final panorama image and the photo you want fully shown in the panorama and just paint in the details on the layer you like.

In case you have had an experience using this software let me know by commenting below