drive-by "Panorama" tool?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by thr33face, May 26, 2009.

  1. thr33face macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2006
    so i've had the idea to create an incredibly long panorama, as an intermediate for an incredibly long traced picture. :D

    does anyone know of a tool that can generate a "panorama" of drive-by footage?
    by drive by, i mean something like this:

    now, i know that due to things being a different distances from the camera and due to the camera moving there will be perspective errors, different povs and etc.
    but it doesn't need to be perfect, as it will only serve an intermediate purpose: i can live with blending and alignment errors.

    in theory it would be good enough if i manually aligned and blended the images in photoshop, but 650 frames are a lot.

    i wouldn't mind having to set a few alignment points for every frame manually, as this would still be a lot less work than the photoshop route.

    long text i typed before:

    the plan is to use a compact camera and use it to record video out of a train window. i made a test recording today and came home with ~1.5km "panorama" footage.
    because it was a sunny day i got reasonably high shutter speed and so 95% of all frames are blur-free.

    the original material has 3900 frames, but i can reduce that to ~650 frames and still have 1/5 to 1/3 overlap between frames. the overlap varies because sometimes things are further/closer away and the train wasn't moving at a constant speed.

    according to my calculations the finished "panorama" should be between 80000 and 100000 pixels wide, but only <1000 high.

    any ideas and help are appreciated :)
  2. Patriks7 macrumors 65816


    Oct 26, 2008
    I don't have any help, since I don't have a camera yet, but that looks like a pretty damn good idea! I know this would take much more time, but how about trying it without being on a train? :p Put it on a nice tri-pod and move it a bit around (that's actually the first thing I wanna try with my camera!)
    But I'll let the actual technical work to the pro's around here :p
  3. cosmokanga2 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2008
    Canada, where we live in igloos.
    Does letting PS automatically photo-merge not work? Just dump the files in a folder, point PS to it and let it work its magic. It should be able to render them into a single image.
  4. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    The normal tools should work. There is less perspective distortion when you move rather then pan the camera.

    But your work will look unnatural unless viewed the same way it was shot. you will have to walk along the picture. Far away objects will have the same size as the ones directly to the font. It will be more of a map projection then a photo.

    If Photoshop can't do this then use the "mother of all panoramma tools" This is best for doing very technical work where you care about perspective and distortion. If you wat to play with the projection then this is the one to use -- it's free.

    There are 650 images to be merged. I doubt PS would automatically photo-merge that many.
  5. panoz7 macrumors 6502a


    Nov 21, 2005
    Raleigh, NC
    I did a similar panorama for an imaging class last year. Had it not been for a grade I would have given up. It's next to impossible. Here's the final image I ended up with:


    That was composed from 650 shots taken at roughly 3 feet intervals. I spent a total of about 70 - 80 hours stitching them using photomerge in photoshop. It's a slow process and will tax even the fastest computer.

    The smaller the interval between shots the easier it will be to stitch. What ends up happening is that you only really want to use the very vertical center of the frame. As you move out from the center horizontally the perspective in the picture becomes more and more different from the previous and next pictures. That effect is exaggerated the closer you are to the subject.

    My suggestion would be to try photomerge with 20 - 30 pictures and see what it spits out. If it works continue doing it in 20 - 30 picture increments with 5 - 10 pictures of overlap. Once you have all those stitch the stitched pictures together. There's going to be a couple areas that it simply refuses to stitch and you'll have to mess with manually. If you try to do it all at once those areas will ruin the rest, hence the small chunks. Also, be prepared to spend a lot of time sitting and waiting while your computer seemingly does nothing. It seems as if photoshop isn't particularly well optimized for this type of task... much of the time spent the CPU usage is low and it isn't writing to the disks. I'm not sure what it's doing, but unless you run out of scratch space it will finish eventually.

    There's other more advanced stitching software then photoshop that may give you better results, much of it free, but most of the programs I used required fairly advanced math that I simply wasn't up for learning.

    Hope that helps, and best of luck.
  6. thr33face thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 28, 2006
    thank you for the helpful replies:

    that's kinda not possible.
    being on the train is a good solution as the tracks are very horizontal.

    photoshop's merge function is a hit & miss thing. that's ok if you're merging <30 images, since you can always do it again and it only takes a few minutes.
    but for 650 frames?
    i tried to photo-merge all of them with photoshop, but after about an hour the progress as moved ever so slightly. i guess it would have taken around 7-8 hours for it to finish. and then i would've probably enden up with something totally different from what i expected.

    i know it will look unnatural, but that's ok as it's meant as an intermediate anyway.
    map projection, you say? this should really help me getting better search results. :)

    neat, it has so much more control over every aspect of it :) i shall try this out, but i think i have some reading to do before i get usable results with it.

    that is neat, and a lot of work :)
    tax the computer? good thing i only have a 1st gen macbook with 2gb of ram. ;)

    for some parts it seems to work, for others i just get total garbage, or it puts each image into it without stitching/blending anything.

    thank you people.
  7. Olivier L. macrumors member

    Feb 26, 2009
    More general discussion:

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