AUTOSTITCH MIRACLE!The past weekend, I discovered some (almost) magic freeware called AutoStitch, created by a University of British Columbia student named Matthew Brown. It's a full-fledged program, not a Photoshop/GIMP plugin, that assembles a set of single images taken from a single vantage point into a panorama, and it's completely automatic.
Here's a panorama that I assembled last year of the corner of Sainte Catherine's and Stanley streets composed of photos that I took in downtown Montreal last July.
I used a Photoshop plug-in that sphere-izes the individual component photos very slightly in order to make the edges match up a little better. It looks okay, but it's far from seamless, and it took hours of work.
Here's a Autostitch panorama comprised of the same source photos.
Click on the picture to see it full-sized and the improvements are instantly noticeable. The architectural components of this photo are as close to being seamless as you'll ever get from photos taken from this particular vantage point without using a fisheye lens. You can see some slight bending in the lines beyond the usual vantage point curving, but you have to really, really look to see it. This is because the software uses pretty sophisticated AI to not just attempt to match up edges as close as possible, it blends for total continuity between the pictures, almost as though the program recreated the entire scene in 3D.
Not everything on a city street is motionless, so the program rendered some of the pedestrians from the overlap areas as motion-blurred "ghosts", but that doesn't really detract from the image. In the middle of the intersection, there's also a chopped-off portion of a bicycle wheel, but that's the sort of detail you'd only notice if you go over the full-size panorama of the corner of Sainte Catherine's and Stanley Streets in downtown Montreal with a magnifying glass.
And the best part is that all I had to do is change the options to render this picture at 100% size and upload the photos into the program, and the program did the rest. It took a few minutes for the program to render the final image, but the important thing for a lazy guy like me is that the computer did it all. No cumbersome cutting-and-pasting, no "feathering", no "masks", no messing around with control points. Just simple "put photos in", "get panorama out" action.
AutoStitch is truly TEH BESTEST THING EVAR! Thank you, Matthew Brown, I'm going to take a lot more photos with panoramas in mind from now on.
Here are the Autostitch panoramas that I've already done at Flickr.
Speaking of photography, I'm going to the Ottawa-Gatineau Autoshow at the Ottawa Congress Centre (in the bowels of the Rideau Centre/Westin Hotel complex) this evening, so check out my Flickr account over the next few days for, hopefully, some cool car photos, and I'll probably post a few highlights here.