Saturday, 23 August 2008

Panorama Tools

GIMPImage via Wikipedia I was initially fascinated with stitching several photos together to create a panorama. It's easier to do that nowadays because more and more cameras can do that in-camera and more and more software automatically do that. Olympus, by the way, have an in-camera panorama feature but don't get too excited about that. It essentially turns on grid lines so that you can overlap your shots as you point but only works with Olympus branded xD cards and doesn't do much else(?). Their PC Studio Master software will then take over the job once you get back to the PC.

There are, however, several software that create panoramas for you.

  1. Hugin is a free download.
  2. The Panotools plugin for The GIMP is also free.
  3. The free Microsoft Windows Live Photogallery does panoramas as well as photo cataloguing.
  4. Arcsoft Panorama Maker Pro is a well regarded, low cost veteran.

The problem with panoramas, though, is that you get a very wide aspect ratio result - viewing them are a problem. You either get lots of paper surface, print and mount on the wall or you have this band that will be several screen dimensions wide or auto-fitted into a small rectangle that fits one screen.

There are interactive panorama tools which allow mouse control and zoom so that you can browse / tour through the result image. I'll update this posting later when I have time.

Microsoft Labs Photosynth is a leading edge interactive idea - it's more than just a scrolling panorama.

Kari Kuuka created a interactive WOW! panorama of photographers at the Beijing Olympics

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