Photo stitching without the seams...
April 16, 2010 7:02 AM   Subscribe

Can anyone recommend a decent panorama stitcher...?

I always used to use Autostitch, but it doesn't seem to be able to handle blending exposure levels. (self link example)

I really like Microsoft ICE as being easy to use and fantasticaly fast compared to Autostitch. But then I discovered that it's seems to have a problem with edges (self link example)

Before I go download trial examples of everything, can anyone recommend something that does the job well? Bonus marks if it installs on windows without a fistful of other required files and can stitch faster than the Autostitch.
posted by sodium lights the horizon to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: Damnit, those were supposed to be links to the photos, not the media page. Never mind, click the images to see it bigger if it's not clear what I meant.

In speed terms, ICE makes a 2.7MB jpeg in about ten seconds. Autostitch can take several minutes to do the same thing...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 7:05 AM on April 16, 2010

I don't see any images at those links at all—try again?
posted by ocherdraco at 7:08 AM on April 16, 2010

posted by vostok at 7:10 AM on April 16, 2010

Response by poster: ocherdraco - really? Oh 'eck. Okay, direct links. ICE & Autostitch
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 7:18 AM on April 16, 2010

hugin, again
posted by manyon at 7:19 AM on April 16, 2010

To my knowledge, there are only two apps with an output quality that could be considered "professional" and that can deal with most situations.

One is Autodesk Stitcher and rather expensive (>$400, IIRC), the other is PTGui ( PTGui is an affordable commercial frontend to the free Panorama Tools library, which is the gold standard in quality. It is not usable without a frontend though, so you are going to need something like PTGui.

As for blending exposure levels - while both above apps can handle those, this is a error in the source material, as the images should be shot at fixed exposure and white balance settings anyway. No matter the quality of the stitcher, the result will never be optimal unless you do so.
posted by uncle harold at 7:21 AM on April 16, 2010

Hugin is great.
posted by devnull at 7:45 AM on April 16, 2010

Not tried much else, but I like Hugin a lot more than Autostitch. I'd be interested to know why PTGui is considered better than Hugin, since they are both based on the same thing (Panorama Tools).

Also, following on from what uncle harold said about blending exposures: the faults in the picture that you stitched with ICE might have been caused by parallax differences between shots. The best way to deal with this is to buy hardware, not software.
posted by mattn at 8:05 AM on April 16, 2010

I use PTGui. It gives me the control I like. I have an older version; newer ones do better with variations in exposure, I think.

But backing up Uncle Harold....yeah, if your exposure isn't set up right, you might get lucky (low contrast) and you might not.
posted by notsnot at 8:10 AM on April 16, 2010

Response by poster: Yeah, I think those were where I stupidly tweaked the polarizer half way through rather than exposure fails, but then I forgot most of my relatively limited photographic knowledge that week...

Thanks for the suggestions guys...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 8:38 AM on April 16, 2010

Hugin is quite powerful but takes a lot of training (of you) to get it to do exactly what you want. The Hugin community is quite active and will generally help you get good panos. I don't think exposure is your problem with Autostitch, it's vignetting which hugin can correct. I've never used PTGui but people tell me it's as good or better than hugin and easier to use.

Photoshop CS3 and later have built in pano stitching that's pretty good and largely idiot proof. It's under the "Automate" menu.
posted by chairface at 9:00 AM on April 17, 2010

Hugin and PTGui are both very comprehensive and give great results.
posted by kenbennedy at 10:32 AM on April 20, 2010

Nthing Hugin, as I use it for all my panorama and image alignment needs.
posted by JiBB at 8:05 PM on June 9, 2010

« Older Research Study about Teachers   |   How do you stop doubting yourself? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.