This week I came across a great bit of software called Hugin, for panorama stitching. Other than being a very powerful stitching program its 100% free. It is avaliable for Windows, Mac and Linux in both 32 and 64 bit OS.
I captured the below 10 image stitch taken with my 50mm prime lens at Sanctuary Cove Resorts Marina. I really wanted to test the stitching program by having subjects that would be slightly moving and offer a great range in highlights and shadows. Once again I have made sure that I have at least a 25% overlap between images to allow for the best chance of stitching the final image. Click on the image to view it at 50% of the final image size. I was amazed with the resolution and seamless stitch with great exposure blending.
When it comes to stitching complex panoramas where you have multiple rows to give you a larger image or you capture more than 5 images to make up a panorama, I have been somewhat disappointed by Photoshop. I have already given up on one 30 image (5×6 grid) cityscape stitch thanks to Photoshop having a hard time merging the images let alone handling the changes in exposure. I ran that same 30 image batch through Hugin and after about 10 minutes or defining a few extra control points I have a very good base image to work with. Something I didn’t achieve in over 2 hours in Photoshop.
The screen capture above shows you the control points that the software automatically plotted so that the stitch could take place. Hugin allows for you to add in manual control points and to fine tune the control points. It is a very easy to use interface and if for some reason it can’t find a match between 2 images you can manually plot points and then Hugin will try and expand the possible points after using your original point as a reference.
There are so many great functions inside Hugin that I’m yet to explore but here is a short list of some of the amazing tools it offers.
- High Dynamic Range output
- Perspective Correction
- Blending Masks
- 360° enfused panoramas
- Focus stacking
- Stitching photos from different lens
- Stitching photos from differing angles.
I can highly recommend you download Hugin and run it through its paces. At first it looks like information overload with the processing but once you find your feet you will feel comfortable knowing that your panorama will have the best treatment possible once you get to the processing of it.