Accidental Panorama with AutoStitch

Panorama photography used to be a complicating photo technique where the process consists of two parts. First the hardware portion where a camera is set up on a sturdy tripod with panoramic head and a series of carefully framed overlapping section of the scene is taken. The next step involves using a panorama stitching software to align and stitch all those overlapping images into a single panorama photograph. If film camera is used that also involves scanning and digitizing the images before they can be stitched with the stitching software.

Panorama photo of Longmen Grottoes or Dragon Gate Grottoes stitch from three images.
This simple panorama of Longmen Grottoes of Luoyang, Henan, China was stitched with AutoStitch from 3 images taken a few seconds apart and not shot in sequence.   --     Camera; Olympus Pen E-P5, Lens; Olympus M.Zuiko Digtal ED14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 II all three images were shot at 14mm F5 ISO 200 and shutter speed from 1/640s and 1/1250s.

However with digital photography and high speed imaging chip things has all changed and anyone can easily take a panorama photo hand holding a camera or a mobile phone. Almost all mobile phones has a panorama photo mode and they even stitch the finish panorama photo on the device itself just as the photos is taken.

All mirrorless camera and travel zoom has panorama features as well but some work better than others. There are also specialist cameras like the LG 360 cam and the Ricoh Theta camera that take 360 degree panorama images but these are more of the fun camera type. If you are serious about panorama images there is no shortcut and what we said on the first paragraph is mostly true.

Features and performances of panorama software have also improved tremendously in recent years. Panorama software now can stitch the images and deliver the finished panorama in seconds or minutes depending on the complexity of the images and require minimal human input. One of this software is the AutoStitch software that we mentioned in some of our earlier blog posts.

Panorama photo of Longmen Grottoes or Dragon Gate Grottoes stitch from seven images
This panorama stitch was from 7 photographs not originally intended for panorama. AutoStitch64 had no problem stitching them into a panorama photo but the sitting Buddha in the center is slanting and its surrounding has wrong perspective as well.  --    Camera; Olympus Pen E-P5, Lens; Olympus M.Zuiko Digtal ED 14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 II. Six images are shot at 14mm the center image with the sitting Buddha is shot at 23mm. All images at F5 ISO 200 and shutter speed from 1/640s to 1/1250s. 

Recently we replaced the hard drive on our old desktop computer and installed 64bit Ubuntu on it. Previously we run AutoStitch with WINE on 32 bit Ubuntu with great result. This time we are trying out the AutoStitch 64 bit version. Initially we had some problem getting the AutoStitch 64 to run on Ubuntu with the latest WINE. Changing the WINE window version configuration setting  for AutoStitch 64 to Windows XP took care of that problem. AutoStitch 64 run so much better and faster than the 32 bit version and that is not all as we discover more about this software.

After getting the software to work I randomly picked some images from the picture folder and fed it to AutoStitch 64. Surprisingly without complaint AutoStitch 64 simply stitched together a panorama photograph. It was not a horizontal or vertical panorama image but a spread out larger scene with images added in all directions. Nevertheless it was quite a seamless stitching from AutoStitch 64.

Panorama photo of Longmen Grottoes or Dragon Gate Grottoes AutoStitch from five images
Another trial with 5 images panorama stitch of LongMen Grottoes a UNESCO Heritage site in Henan, China with AutoStitch. This time the stitching is much better then the previous one but there are some edges that need works  --    Camera; Olympus Pen E-P5, Lens; Olympus M.Zuiko Digtal ED14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 II all five images are shot at 14mm F5 ISO 200 and shutter speed from 1/640s to 1/1250s.

When my wife looked at the panorama images I just stitched she laughed and said "those are my images but they are not panorama set!" We were amazed -  can you believe it I accidentally stitched a panorama photograph from some random images using AutoStitch.

That gave my wife an ideas to look for images from her trip to Henan, China that were not initially taken as panorama set but she wished that she had.  She experimented with many combination of the images she had in her collection. Here we present a few of those resulting panorama stitches, the last two panorama images look like it was a planned panorama photographs after some editing.

Panorama view of Longmen Grottes or the Dragon gate Grottes at Louyang, Henan, China
This final panorama stitch of Longmen Grottoes or Dragon Gate Grottoes from Luoyang, Henan province China. This one was stitch from six individual photos not taken as panorama set. AutoStitch64 stitch them together beautifully and with some cropping and layer cloning we had a convincing Panorama image.  --    Camera; Olympus Pen E-P5, Lens; Olympus M.Zuiko Digtal ED14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 II all six images are shot at 14mm F5 ISO 200 and shutter speed from 1/640s to 1/1250s.

After many combination of different images this final set above taken from Longmen Grottoes at Luoyang, Henan China a UNESCO Heritage site delivered the final result for that set. It had the least distortion and looked like it was from a set of images shot for Panorama. It does have some double images on the right and some mismatch here and there. However problem like these are often found on panorama photograph stitch from images with hand-held camera. 

The picture below is from Lijingmen one of the four ancient gates of the walled city of Luoyang, China. This set consists of three photos, the first two are close enough for panorama stitch. However the third one where the gate is at the wrong end of the three images set. Nevertheless, AutoStitch has no problem stitching this set but the lower part of the images need a lot of cropping and the sky and roof on this photograph need some reconstructions and cloning.

Lijingmen one of the four ancient gates of Luoyang
This three images panorama stitch of LiJingMen the ancient gate of Luoyang in Henan, China. The three images was not originally taken as panorama but AutoStitch having no problem stitching them together, with some reconstruction of the Sky and the roof and cropping of the foreground and that is all it takes.  --  Camera; Olympus Pen E-P5, Lens; Olympus M.Zuiko Digtal ED14-42mm F/3.5-5.6 II all three images are shot at 14mm F5.6 ISO between 200 to 250 and shutter speed 1/80s to 1/125s.

We had very good experience with the older 32 bit AutoAtitch from years ago only now we try AutoStitch 64. This 64 bit version is way better than the 32 bit AutoStitch in terms of speed and performance. We also witness the superb pixels matching algorithm of AutoStitch 64. It even matches images that were not taken from the same spot and with lens of different focal length as well. Unavoidably stitching panorama images with condition like this results in more distortion than from the planned panorama set.

AutoStitch can be downloaded free from for personal use without restriction and royalties. However AutoStitch company do request for acknowledgement of usage. Please note that this free version of AutoStitch is a demo version which only stitch spherical projection panorama.


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