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John "Sean" Greenslade


A Brief History

Panoramic photography started out as a curiosity for me. I discovered AutoStitch at some point around 2007, and using my dad's DSLR (an original Canon Digital Rebel) and a borrowed tripod, I made my first panoramas. They were messy, full of odd glitches, relatively small, and took forever to render on my ancient laptop, but I was enamored. At the time, I had no image editing skills, so my experiments were limited to playing with the knobs that AutoStitch provided. I did look up what SIFT and RANSAC meant, and I might have even understood them (vaguely), but I didn't know what else to do to advance my technique.

A few things bothered me, though. The number one thing was the floor. By default, you had the legs of the tripod coming up to this blurry hole underneath you. That was ugly, and even Google's Street View hadn't solved that one (they still haven't). So I got creative. By moving the tripod and taking an extra handheld shot of the floor where the tripod used to be, I gave the software something to fill that hole with. And this was the result:

Moon Room, August 2008

Passable, sure, but not anywhere near the level of quality I wanted them to have. And eventually, through searching for scripts to manipulate panoramas, I stumbled across Hugin, the software that would let me take my panoramas to the next level. That, combined with the knowledge I gained from the PanoTools Wiki allowed me to eventually create panoramas like this:

Moon Room, December 2015

Quite the difference seven years can make. In particular, having manual control over the stitching process allowed me to massively increase the resolution of the final panoramas. Check out how far you can zoom the new panorama.

But Sean, how did you do all of that?

The explanation is rather long, so I've broken it up into slightly less long sections:

1 - The Theory of Panos
2 - How to Shoot Panos
3 - Aligning and Stitching Panos
4 - Fixing Mistakes