Autopano Pro

I was most honoured to make the acquaintance of Piotr Fuglewicz on my recent trip to Poland. Piotr is a very smart chap, with a long history in IT and particularly in the computational linguistics world. He’s also a good dinner companion.

Anyway, today, out of the blue, he sent me a photo:

(click for a larger version)

What’s intriguing about this is that I took it, but I had never seen it before. Piotr assembled this panorama from three of my Krakow photos, which I hadn’t even taken with the idea they might be stitched together! He used an amazing bit of software called Autopano Pro – you don’t even have to give it a hint as to what goes where. Quite superb.

The user interface is complex – the basics are reasonably straightforward but there’s then an infinite amount of tweaking you can do – but I can see I’m going to have to find time to play with this. Photoshop CS3 has some good panorama stuff built in, but it looks as if Autopano is to panoramas what Photomatix is to HDR… a dedicated tool which goes just that bit further.

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Note that there’s also the Open Source progam hugin, which will produce Panoramas without any manual intervention, too. I created this view from St. Mary’s the other week using Hugin (but it is far from perfect due to parallax effects, because I had to move to take photos from different sides of the square tower, rather than from a single point, so the Guildhall and Market Street aren’t quite right).

One of my friends has used Hugin to produce 360 degree Lake District panoramas which are 6 foot long (printed) and are pixel-perfectly aligned.

Cool – thanks Jon – I’ll have a look…

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