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Thread: Panorama Photography

  1. #1
    DaveFergy's Avatar
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    Panorama Photography

    Panorama Photography

    This is my first attempt at panorama photography stitching together five images using MS ICE.
    The image is almost SOOC with only light sharpening to the RAW and exporting to ICE. It reflects closely what I saw in front of me. Any tips for improving the photo composition or processing? Any thoughts on good tutorials for panoramas?

  2. #2

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    Re: Panorama Photography

    I can only say 'go for it' and have fun and just tell you I use my editor with each frame on a separate layer to aid the stitch and with the clone tool to help create material to hide the jagged tops and bottoms from a handheld pano shot. You may find for some shots you need height so holding the DSLR in portrait mode can help ...I avoid vertical panos becuase they tend to 'look funny' to me ... and I never use a wide-angle lens, prefering to take more frames to capture the wide view. While you have an interesting sky in this shot the grass in the foreground is not that exciting and a reason for using the longer lens ... to reduce the amount of foreground and sky the WA lens gives you. Getting down can reduce the amount of foreground that appears in the photo ...I started with a 3.3Mp camera shooting panos so the idea then was to not crop if you could avoid it.
    If you are shooting vertically for height, with the camera tilted upwards, you could find it advantageous to shoot lots of overlap, like 50% or so, so that you can apply an equal amount of perspective correction to each frame before you do the stitch .... perhaps not needed with current stitch programmes which I don't have.

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    DaveFergy's Avatar
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    Re: Panorama Photography

    Thanks for the feedback. The pics were taken hand held with a vertical aspect ratio and aroind 25% overlap. I can see what you mean by the grass though being uninteresting. Maybe I should lift up the brightness of that area as the fence line on the right provides a nice line to draw the eye toward the sunset? Good idea on the POV getting lower though as I suspect the the noise when grass lightened will get a little distracting. I'll give it a try.

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    DaveFergy's Avatar
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    Re: Panorama Photography

    Panorama Photography
    I applied a graduated filter to lift the brightness of the grass - the fence line is now a little more visible.

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    Re: Panorama Photography

    Nice shot

    25% overlap should be enough, and you shouldn't need to do a perspective correction beforehand. It might actually be a bad idea, unless you can be sure that you apply the exact same correction to all shots going into the pano: at least the program I use (Hugin) expects all images to be taken with the same focal length/angle of view, and that assumption might not hold if you do any corrections yourself (and it's more work for you).

    As an aside, the Hugin suite can calculate the corrections to apply for lens distortion, and you can then use those corrections in external programs (at least those that use the lensfun library)

  6. #6
    inkista's Avatar
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    Re: Panorama Photography

    Sidenote: Hugin actually can handle images from different cameras/lenses in a single pano. You just have to know how to specify the settings per individual member image.

    To me, pano shooting should not be any different than regular shooting when it comes to composition: the same things that make a single image strong will make a pano strong: foreground/background, rule of thirds, etc. So make sure you're thinking about composition of the finished pano before you start. Shooting more coverage than you think you need (including additional rows) is always wise, because one correction nearly every first pano I've ever seen needs is horizon levelling. The rotation you need requires you to crop, possibly more than you want to. Content-aware fill can be your friend, but it's not as nice as having extra elbow room for the rotation & crop to begin with.

    I tend to overlap by 1/3 for safety's sake, but as long as you don't get any holes in the pano, you should be fine. And even though most stitching software can help you out with color and exposure shifts, my pano mantra is "manual manual manual." Manual exposure settings, a non-automatic white balance setting, and manual focus.

    Watcha foreground. If you have anything very close in the foreground, then parallax error might become an issue, and that's when the whole panohead thing comes into play.

    If there are any moving objects in a pano, also consider overlapping in time. Erasing ghosts/clones is all about movement and coverage.

    If your horizon is bowed, that can be corrected with stitching software. Typically, it requires simply dragging up/down in the preview window.

    While you probably don't want to do perspective corrections ahead of time, lens-correction wise, you probably really do want to do chromatic aberration correction (unless you're using PTGui or Hugin, where you can specify that was part of the stitching process). And, of course, always keep HDR/exposure fusing in mind if you run out of dynamic range. Pano shooters were some of the first folks to experiment with HDR, because the wider you go, the harder it gets to leave the sun out of the shot. Most of the panostitching packages out there, (including ICE, iirc) can do HDR/fusing at the same time it stitches.
    Last edited by inkista; 21st January 2013 at 07:08 PM.

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    Re: Panorama Photography

    I also tried to lift the brightness of the grass and reduced some of the burning of the sun.
    Panorama Photography

  8. #8
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    Re: Panorama Photography

    I liked what you did with this... will try and replicate with my editor

  9. #9

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    Re: Panorama Photography

    One of the advantages or features of PSP is that it remembers what you did withe last use of that particular tool so it is quite easy to apply the same perspective correction to each frame. It is quite possible your editor also has this feature if you look for it and appreciate how it can help you. I have only needed to do this once a long time ago.

    In another situation I gave a talk about stitching and handed my camera to the audience and the end guy on each row took a photo of fellow members ... I then put it together ... frankly it was not the most wonderful stitch but we made it. Another time I was shooting images to be used as a background for model railway and I moved the camera a kilometre or so between headlands on one side of the Otago Peninsula to shoot the mainland as my subject. All the special equipment suggested by some is I'm sure needed if you do spherical shoots with a 'grid' of frames but for the simple average single layer there is not need to have more than you and your camera and a bit of nouse as to how you shoot the frames as you found out Dave.

    If you have layers it possible to duplicate the image and then apply different corrections to each and then either merge/blend them or erase the bits you don't want on the top layer with a soft tool so things between the layers meerge nicely. I have yet to get the hang of blending so I use the erase approach though it is a bit primative and I am told by experts I should use masks. Again that is something I have not learnt. Like skinning a cat there are usually numerous ways to do things in editing.
    Last edited by jcuknz; 22nd January 2013 at 07:29 AM.

  10. #10

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    Re: Panorama Photography

    I have stitched lots of images, all hand held and with probably only about 10% overlap. I like the results but I seem to be more easily pleased than most at CiC.

    I use MS ICE because it is painlessly easy to use. The 'auto' option rarely selects the wrong stitch mode but if it does it's no effort to redo the stitch having manually selected the mode. Similarly correcting a bendy horizon is straightforward.

    So far I have only had one set of pictures that MS ICE could not stitch. It's a set of three that follow a waterfall and ICE will not join the bottom one onto the other two despite obvious overlap. I was able to get a panorama of the fall using Hugin. Clearly a powerful piece of software (and free to boot) but I hated the interface.

    Ken

  11. #11
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    Re: Panorama Photography

    Kathy Li's recommendations are what I use and I've had good success with those techniques. I always try to shoot more (higher & wider) than I expect I'll need in the final image. When foreground and background areas are important, a pano head is recommended. I use CS6 to stitch my images together.

    Paul S

  12. #12
    DaveFergy's Avatar
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    Re: Panorama Photography

    Have you noticed that ICE seems to work better if there are distinct vertical lines in the overlap areas? - or is that just me? Even still, bloody good for free software.

    I've been getting the stitching right, exporting as a TIF then doing the processing on the exported image with Capture NX2. The workflows give better results if I perform tone corrections after the stitching as it is more consistent. Same with any other global changes like contrast and sharpening.

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