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Old Mar 28, 2004, 5:24 PM   #1
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Default Panoramas with camera not level???

I like to take panoramas in the mountains, often of lakes. Often I am looking down at it and I don't want my picture filled with more sky than lake -- which means pointing the camera slightly downward. Is there a program that will compensate for that, or am I always going to end up with a horizon that isn't horizontal? I have PS Elements 2, but I have also read (in this forum) about Pano Tools and Pano Factory -- but again, even one of those talked about needing to keep the camera level. HELP! ! !
Thanks, John
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Old Mar 28, 2004, 10:06 PM   #2
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Default Re: Panoramas with camera not level???

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Originally Posted by JohnSt
am I always going to end up with a horizon that isn't horizontal?
I double the height of each frame by enlarging the canvas size with coloured background (e.g., blue at top, brown at bottom) before stitching, giving a sequence of square images. I then stitch them, usually in 'Pixmaker Lite' (a freebie that may no longer be available). I finish up with curved edges to the actual image area, but the horizon does not usually look unduly curved.

See the much compressed http://mysite.freeserve.com/agtmfl01/02091417cs.jpg This wasn't tilted much, but I haven't any hilltop views compressed enough to show you.
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Old Mar 28, 2004, 10:41 PM   #3
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Default Re: Panoramas with camera not level???

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Originally Posted by JohnSt
pointing the camera slightly downward
...or see http://mysite.freeserve.com/agtmfl01/08031221bs3.jpg for a hilltop one (550KB download, and not quite finished yet!).
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Old Mar 28, 2004, 11:39 PM   #4
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Default Re: Panoramas with camera not level???

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnSt
I like to take panoramas in the mountains, often of lakes. Often I am looking down at it and I don't want my picture filled with more sky than lake -- which means pointing the camera slightly downward. Is there a program that will compensate for that, or am I always going to end up with a horizon that isn't horizontal? I have PS Elements 2, but I have also read (in this forum) about Pano Tools and Pano Factory -- but again, even one of those talked about needing to keep the camera level. HELP! ! !
Thanks, John
Panorama Tools with one of the GUIs will do that very nicely: see http://homepage.ntlworld.com/j.houghton/horizons.htm Houghton's example is pointing upwards to get more sky into the pano, but the same technique works pointing downward.

The need to keep the camera (nearly) level is a limitation with most software, including Panorama Factory.
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Old May 17, 2004, 7:38 AM   #5
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You are not alone. I'm a down-pointer as well.
I use only PS as I am not totally satisfied with any of the alternatives.
So, for now I keep my cash until they evolve a bit.

With this pic, the tilted down bit was literally an arm's length away.
Not so much a panoramic, but the technique used to give me the ultra-wide without the distortion.

This is unfinished as there is noise & colour variants to be fixed, but the putting together is what you are interested in.

The simplest way is to start to think about the effect on buildings when tilting up. Same when tilting down, use the perspective transform to make the verticals, right angled again. Just make sure when taking the pics, give yourself more overlap & try to overcompensate the amount of down. I mean, right up to the legs of the tripod. Try not to use an add on lens to make wider because the added curvature will just confuse. Better to take more pics.

If, like this one, you are restricted to space. This was ok for me, but no room for the tripod as well. Then hand held allows you to use the portrait orientated format. It's much better for us down-pointers, but we have to use more pics for the overlap. Pick out a point on the ground & rotate with that as a aid. If you think you are going to have trouble, like clouds moving & you waiting, create a plumb line between camera & the ground point.
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Old May 17, 2004, 10:30 AM   #6
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Thanks Les.

Nice Picture!

Have you ever used Panarama Tools?

With PS, would you suggest using the Pespective Transfrom with each picture before putting them together into a panorama, or wait until all of the pictures have all been stitcked (or stitch a couple together, then 'Perspective Transform' the pairs, and then stitch the two pairs to make a final pano)?

John


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Old May 17, 2004, 3:11 PM   #7
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Not exactly.
My usual way is to put all in individual layers & choose a mid pic.
In the pan above, the pillar was the mid & each frame was transformed in relation to it's previously transformed neighbour. Sometimes the immediate next isn't used, so no stitching until final layout complete. Yes, these files get pretty big!
Next the lower sections usually get done individual too (but in relation to their above neighbours), but I did have problems. Some parts of one frame could be used & then another part of the same frame had to be transformed in a different way. So instead of 21 frames, I was working with 32. Also perspective wasn't enough. I had to get radical with distort too. You have to make a choice between the exact layout & what you can get away with.

If you transform as a whole, you can end up with some verticals (more noticable with man-made structures) not quite at right angles or horizons not level. Don't stitch together 2 final sets. This takes away the rounded effect & you get the 'point of the knife' effect.

So, the short answer, transform individual once laid in whole pan.
If of course you know your wide angle has curvature, use spherize to correct first. No stitching until all matches complete & tonal differences rectified for whole image. Lastly, the more problematic, the sweeter the satisfaction.

Software answer: Nope, only PS. Too many demos show how easy the x-axis is, but shy away from us down-pointers.
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Old Mar 10, 2005, 11:00 PM   #8
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Having just finished my own Rube Goldberg mount for my new casio P700 I'm curious as to how much fudge factor there is in the whole process of panorama making?

I believe I have found the nodal point using my crafted mount and I'm interested to see how much difference it will make over standard tripod mounting. I would hope that the extra effort shows up in the quality of the final panorama.

Hoping to experiment this weekend and if all goes well (or not) I'll try to post up what I cobbled together for everyone to have a laugh over.
DanT.
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Old Mar 11, 2005, 7:46 AM   #9
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DanTanna wrote:
Quote:
... I'm interested to see how much difference it will make over standard tripod mounting. ...
Do some of your experiments with strong horizontal features near the top or bottom of the image. That might show up the limitations of your software: see http://www.tawbaware.com/panprob.htm

Strong vertical features in the stitching area will show up nodal point issues.
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Old Mar 11, 2005, 10:11 AM   #10
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If you are shooting only distant landscape, you don't need to worry about the "nodal point" of your lens. ButI've had problems when there is close forground. If you have a quicktime plug-in in your browser, take a look at http://users.ca.astound.net/kenww/BlackbeardView.html. The railing in the forground was a mess. I managed to fudge the stitching, but I don't think there is the correct number of posts under the railing. I ordered a Nodal Ninja mount. It arrive a couple weeks ago, but I've been too busy to try it in the field yet.

Ken
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