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Topic: Way to manually-stitch images?

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RhettMelton (Over 1 year ago)
I've been doing a number of synth tests lately, and have run into a problem that I can't seem to get around.  In every single synth, the images simply don't line up 100%.  The final product is awesome, but it's not perfect (and that's what I'm aiming for).

So, I suppose my question is:
Is there a way to manually stitch picture together to form a panorama? I'd really like to be able to take an automatically stitched panorama and edit it from there, but I'm not sure how feasible that is. Either way, I'd just like to be able to fix the blemishes that seem inevitable in the 'auto-synth' route. 

Here's the Panorama/synth that I'm working on:
<iframe frameborder="0" src="http://photosynth.net/embed.aspx?cid=37806883-5008-46b0-a5cd-944eb45f450a&delayLoad=true&slideShowPlaying=false" width="500" height="300"></iframe>

Thanks in advance!
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
Hi there, Rhett! 

You do appear from initial inspection to be using a tripod for your camera, so that's good. 

I'm not sure how familiar you are with how panorama stitching works, but the basic assumption is that for a visually flawless panorama: 
1: your camera's lens' center will not change height, latitude, or longitude between shots (so that foreground overlaps background identically)
2: your camera's lens will not change focal points between shots 
3: your camera will not change its aperture or exposure length between shots
4: your subject will not change positions or shapes between shots

Here's a very helpful guide for finding the no parallax point for your camera's lens so that you can correctly mount your camera on a panoramic tripod head: http://www.johnhpanos.com/epcalib.htm (This helps foreground objects line up the same way with background objects in all shots and is the only way to ever shoot photos for a perfectly stitched panorama.)
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
As to manual stitching, there are other panorama stitchers around (specifically, ones that allow you to manually correct any automatic stitching errors) though nothing quite as straightforward to use as ICE. 

One thing that you could try is to export your panorama from ICE as a layered Photoshop file and then open it in Photoshop and move things around manually there until they're just right and then publish to Photosynth from Photoshop: http://bit.ly/pstops 

Fair warning on the Photoshop route, though: If your camera's lens' center changed position or focal distance between shots, no amount of manual adjustment in Photoshop, short of cutting out foreground and background into different layers will ever allow a perfectly stitched panorama.
RhettMelton (Over 1 year ago)
Thanks for all of the excellent information! I haven't heard of the 'parallax point' previous to your post, but it's a very intuitive concept.. not sure why I hadn't thought of it earlier! 

This is such an expensive accessory though:
http://store.nodalninja.com/index.php/pano-heads/nn3/nn3-mkii-starter-package.html

Do you know of a cheaper alternative?

Also, I'm using Photoshop CS 5, and I keep getting an error when opening my layered-panorama.psd file. It says that it's not compatible with my version photoshop.  Do you know which version might possibly work? I'm using Microsoft ICE to export my compiled panorama's by the way (they usually end up around 7gigs per file).
Nathanael (Over 1 year ago)
I'm not an authority on panoramic tripod heads, so I can't really point you in the right direction there. If all else fails, I'm sure there are some DIY (do it yourself) guides out there to build your own, if you're so inclined. 

As to the .psd file that is being exported from ICE, are you checking the "Maximize Compatibility" option in ICE? If you are and that isn't solving your problem, get in touch with the ICE team via their forum: http://social.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/ice/threads or twitter account: http://twitter.com/microsoftice
Rich-Powell (Over 1 year ago)
I shoot a lot of panoramas, and use special heads to do it.
The short answer is that there are no cheap panorama heads.
With a lot of skill it is possible to shoot mediocre panoramas without using a tripod, by rotating yourself and you camera around the front of your lens as you shoot. This won't work if anything you are shooting is closer than 10 meters, and even then it only works 50% of the time.
There is no way around this. The lower the quality of the head, the more work you have to do on the computer. It is possible to spend as much a 100 hours working on a poorly aligned panorama. Ask yourself, is it worth it?
With the top of range (and fully calibrate) pano head, camera, and software it takes me a minimum of 10 hours to make a speherical panorama.
ElizabethWhite (9 months ago)
you can stitch photos with Panorama Maker, it supports manual correction after automatical photo stitching. For more info you can find at: http://www.arcsoft.com/panorama-maker/
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