Monday, 19 February 2007

Wooo Hooo!....A new toy!

Whilst wandering around on a photography website yesterday, looking at reviews of the sexy looking new Leica D-Lux 3 camera, I also noticed a write up on a piece of free software called Autostitch. It looked promising, and better still the demo version was free to I did.

Basically it's a very simple and easy to use program that automatically stiches together any number of individual but overlapping frames, to make a big panorama shot. I've seen some of these tools before and they've not been all that special, so I wasn't expecting miracles.

To test it, I nipped out at lunchtime today, back to the Castle again, and shot a sequence of frames in almost a 360 degree circle. One row with the horizon in the middle of the shot, another row pointing up at the sky a bit more, and another pointing down at the ground....The key thing is to imagine it as a tiled grid, and try to ensure that each tile overlaps it's neigbours vertically and horizontally. It sounds complicated, but in practice it's really very easy to do, if you take your time and move steadly round the arc.

I ended up with 24 individual 2mb digital photos (I shot them quite low resolution as I expected it to take ages to compute back on the PC, but this was not in fact the case.)

You just fire up Autostich, point it at the frames you want to stitch....and voila!
This is the raw image it created, and it really does consist of 24 shots....(Click on it for a larger version)

You can see that I didn't quite get my upper and lower bands of tiles consistant, but it's not bad for a first go I think. If I had the camera on a tripod it would have been even easier.

I had a ten minute brain-jam as I couldn't figure out why the processed image was so small, until I realised the default setting on the software reduces the image to 10% of the actual size. Presumably so it runs quickly, (in about 15 seconds on my PC) so you can see what you've got. Once I adjusted it up to 100%, and ran it again, it took about 5 minutes to render the whole thing, but the quality was much better....Unfortunately I've had to reduce it back down to about 25% to post here, or you'd be waiting for ever for it to load open in Blogger!

The image below, is the end result, after some basic cropping, sharpening, and colour / exposure corrections in Photoshop (or whatever photo software you normally use).

Obviously it was a rotten grey day, and the actual image is not very inspiring, but I don't think it's too bad for a first attempt.....Autostitch really works!

Imagine instead of Tonbridge, a nice Florentince rooftop scene, all terracotta and azure skies,.... or an English cricket match on the village green.

So why not have a go yourselves. -I wanna to see allotment panoramas from all over the land!

I'm off to lie down now before I over excite myself, and Nurse needs to call for the big syringe and the straight jacket again.


Petunia's Gardener said...

How fun! Thanks for sharing. You and Lottie are just trying to get me on a trip though, soft dollar and all. Nothing near as fun here to capture, at least not until a clear day. I'll keep my camera at the ready though.

allotment lady said...

clever stuff - thanks GM I might have a go at that. And it was interesting lol

Melanie Rimmer said...

I think that's a really nice image. Much better than some twee picture of a beach at Capri or something.

Petunia's Gardener said...

So any more stitching projects for you?

troyhark said...

The new version of PS [CS3] has an improved Photomerge in it which is apparently very good indeed, though I didn't play with it when trying the Beta.
As you have Photoshop, there is a Photomerge tool in there, which isn't bad. It's in CS2 anyway.
I'm Michelle's OH BTW and I leave the blogging to her!