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Old Dec 27, 2004, 5:14 PM   #1
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Hi folks,

I just tried that canon powerstitch software that comes with the canon cameras. I was extremely surprised about what it could do. I couldn't believe how it could take a sequence of pictures taken over a landscape, and then automatically work out by itself how to patch the photos together to make a virtually 'seamless' panoramic photo out of them. I was seriously surprised how the software could still patch together photos automatically even if we ourselves can't align them manually (due to misalignments from perspective distortion etc). The really interesting thing is that the software automatically adjusts the brightness etc of the pictures to be combined, so that the final stitched picture will look balanced in the brightness through-out the whole panoramic photo. Anyhow...everybody probably uses this software by now, or it may have been out for a long time...but it's the first time I've used it, and I'm extremely surprised about how powerful it is.

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Old Dec 27, 2004, 11:33 PM   #2
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Yeah... it's nice.... I was impressed with it too--especially since it looked like a cheap piece of software.

I am guessing that 3rd party stitching software that you pay for are better but this Canon software is very nice for what it can do.

Are you sure it adjusts brightness? I didn't notice it but if it did, that's surprising to me...

(Even the remote control software, which lets you control your camera through the PC (I'm not sure if you have this software with your camera but you probably do), is very powerful. It's amazing. It's not as "useful" as the stitching software but I'm impressed with the controls you have over your camera via the PC ).

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Old Dec 28, 2004, 4:26 AM   #3
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I too was impressed with it that I actually took several sets (even had a set with 4 shots) just to play... err, experiment with the feature. This is what I find out, be wary about the change in color that may be brought about by the different time of shot for each sequence (example during a sunset). I had one such scene wherein I had about a 2-3 second delay, and you could actually see the seam, and the difference in the lighting of the finish stitched photo. Each sequence was taken at 2048x1536 resolution and handheld. I guess that answers the issue about it adjusting the brightness. But then again, it is still a very handy tool.


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Old Dec 28, 2004, 7:13 AM   #4
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Thanks for mentioning to me there are 3rd party software that could be better Sivaram. I didn't know that before actually. Very interesting! The software really does adjust the brightness automatically. I took a bunch of pictures using my tripod to try to fix the altitude..or at least keep it relatively constant. Then I just took snaps by rotating the camera as usual on the tripod. At first, I just used a photo editor to manually line up the photos by eye. Using my manual way, I saw two problems....one was that the overlapping parts were misaligned due to camera angle/perspective changes. And the other problem was that the images had different degrees of brightness shading. Then I thought I'd try the photostitch to see what happens, and the results took me by surprise. I noticed that photostitch somehow compensated for the differences in perspective from photo to photo, and automatically found where the overlaps should be, and even compensates for variations in brightness in the set of sub-photos that will eventually be stitched together. I'm still stunned at how the software does all of this automatically...it's like fire and forget. It surprises me anyhow.

But ben is right....depending on the attribute variations between the sub-photos, the seams where the stitches occur can have a noticeable shade...usually a darker shade. This means there are still slight differences in the shading. However, my manually assembled photo had serious brightness variation compared to the photostitch results, because I didn't manually vary the brightness of each picture. But even then, there'd be no way for me to compensate for misalignments due to perspective differences. The photostitch manual says it tries to compensate for brightness of the sub-photos. It would be completely awesome if the software could eliminate the brightness variations altogether. Maybe future versions will offer the extra versatility to handle that kind of thing somehow. Actually, since I'm new to this panoramic shooting thing, I was thinking of experimenting a bit, like try to lock exposure setting etc to try to get less variation of brightness in the sub-photos. So far, I just used automatic mode setting on my digital camera. Very nice pic you took there Ben. I loaded up my photo that I took 2 days ago...this is Boulder, Colorado.
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Old Dec 28, 2004, 12:00 PM   #5
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Both of the pics that you guys posted has seams. It's not that bad but it still exists (although it's very hard to see on the Colorado pic unless you look closely). I think the best thing about the stitch software, apart from the actual stitch is that it automatically can crop the image. If you try taking pics which aren't perfectly aligned (especially if using hand-held shots), you would know what I mean

Obviously stitches with the sun (especially sunsets and sunrises) are tough because the light changes so rapidly. You literally have to shoot without any delay between the pics...

BTW, what camera are you guys using? I'm using Canon S1 IS...
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Old Dec 28, 2004, 4:07 PM   #6
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That's exactly right. Both of our pics has the noticeable shading at the seams, which is what I meant about maybe future versions of the software can be more versatile to take care of the compensation a bit better. Or at least, allow us to manually adjust the brightness ourselves with each sub-section already stitched together.

I used the canon G6 for the colorado picture. My sub-photos had pretty significant differences between the brightness between pictures. This is my manual attempt at putting the panorama shot together. There was misalignment and everything due to camera angle/perspective, and the shades are nasty.

Darn lucky that I used Control-A, then Control-C to copy what I typed here to computer memory before trying to upload my picture....because my picture was slightly larger than 250 kb, and this website indicated it after I tried to upload....then after hitting the 'Back' button (at the BOTTOM of the error page), it came back to my text entry page...and all the stuff I typed had disappeared. This is why I always copy text I write to memory before clicking on any button...even the Send button.
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Old Dec 28, 2004, 6:21 PM   #7
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lol... I hate it when I lose a long msg after typing it for a while. I have had some bad experiences with other sites when I type really long messages and after those bad experiences, I copy to memory, and in some cases I actually paste it into a temporary text file on my desktop these days.

Anyway...Yeah... the seams are obvious in your manual stitch.... You can always try fixing the seams in some image editor but that requires a bit of work and I'm not sure how difficult it is...
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Old Dec 28, 2004, 8:34 PM   #8
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There is a whole forum, with little traffic, right here at http://www.stevesforums.com/forums/view_forum.php?id=69....
where these issues could be discussed. They are nothing to do with particular cameras. Any set of images can be processed by any piece of stitching software.
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Old Dec 28, 2004, 9:30 PM   #9
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I am using the A70 set at Auto mode. And thanks for the compliment. :-)
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Old Dec 30, 2004, 1:33 PM   #10
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I went through a panorama phase and tried a bunch of different programs and I believe the best one I tried was Panorama Factory. Some of the programs had trouble making the sky seamless, but panorama factory was flawless most of the time and I didn't have to do touch-ups to the final images to get rid of lines and other stuff.
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