Create 2D panoramic pictures with autostitch

Here’s a recommendation for a piece of softare I’ve been using for a couple of years. Autostitch is a fantastic piece of software for creating panoramic images and the results are nothing short of amazing. I’ve tried several photo-stitching applications in the past: some require lots of manual intervention to approximately align the photos in the correct order, others produce distorted or blurry images. Autostitch has none of these problems, just import a bunch of pictures and it works out which of them are part of the same scene (it will exclude any that don’t fit but it’s quicker if you only select the images you want to join together), it works out which images need to go where, and it then creates a single panoramic image. Another great feature is that it can create 2-dimensional panoramas – most other applications only create 1D panoramas so the camera has to be panned in the x- or y-axis but not both. This is great for creating an image where you can’t get a wide enough shot to include the whole scene -for example when photographing a building on a narrow road where can’t position the camera far enough away to fit it all in. Oh, and did I mention that autostitch is free?

Millennium Bridge, London. Can you spot the joins?

The autostitch software is the result of a research project at the University of British Columbia and the technology has been licenced to other companies for use in commercial products – it’s even been licensed to George Lucas’ ILM for production of panoramic images for films. The free version has a quite a clunky interface with a bit of a “proof-of-concept” feel about and although it provides a ton of options for customisation the only think I ever change is the amount of memory that the app can consume (I usually allocate all the physical RAM in my PC), and the size of the output image (larger images take considerably longer to produce). The app itself is only 0.75MB to download, requires no installation and when the trial period expires just download a new copy!

The example images here are my own very basic efforts. For some really impressive images checkout flickr for images tagged with autostitch:

Ramsholt, Suffolk. Stitched from 4 separate images.

I have no association with autostitch other than as a user of the software.

2 Comments to “Create 2D panoramic pictures with autostitch”

  1. BiLL 2 September 2008 at 9:50 pm #

    Hello Tom:

    I have been using AutoStitch for some time too. Mostly for small prints for my friends or on line use at photo forums. Last month I was uploading some pictures to a on line print service and noticed that the 1 or 2 panos included indicated that they could not render a 8″10″ print. I am shooting with a Panasonic TZ-1 camera 5mp with a tele-elarite lens and have had 16″x20″ prints made. Can you advise me on the “edit” settings to use to be able to generate a larger print?
    I would stitch 3 images close to 3mp each yet the pano would come out less than 1mp. I have been Googling and trying various settings with no good results other than slowing my pc. I just dumped the autostitch and will try to find the latest version (I think it is v2.2)



  2. tdroza 17 September 2008 at 11:29 am #

    I think the option you need is under Edit > Options > Output size. Either set the width or height of the output image, or set the scale percentage. The default is a width of 1400pixels which will result in an image of around 1 megapixel as you said. I tend to use the scale option. E.g. if you are joining 3 images horizontally that are each say 2000pixels across, with no scaling the output image would be less than 6000pixels wide (depending on the amount of overlap between the images). If you were to set the scale to 75%, the output image would be somewhere around 4500pixels. Be wary though because producing larger images will significantly slow the operation – setting the system memory (under “Other Options”) to somewhere around three quarters of your available memory may help (I sometimes get out of memory errors if I set it to the full available memory).

    Hope that helps,

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