Tutorial Thursday

Image SewerHave you ever wanted to create a cool panoramic image yourself? No, you don’t need an expensive camera to do it and you don’t need to purchase any software…instead you can do it all for free using AutoStitch.

A program like this can serve several purposes, but I use it the most for assembling photos of objects I can’t capture all at one time. The most common panoramic scenes that you see are probably of mountains because a much larger area can be covered, but it can be used on buildings or monuments as well. For example, let’s say that you want to take a picture of the Statue of Liberty, but you’re too close to get it all into one shot. What you can do is take a picture of the upper, middle, and lower portions of the statue and then use AutoStitch to put the different photos together.

AutoStitch is fairly straight-forward, and I’m sure you could figure out how to use it in no time at all, but there are some helpful tips that I can give to make using it extremely easy. Here’s how you do it:

Note: AutoStitch says that it is a demo version, but there is no limitation or trial period

  1. Download and install the free AutoStitch program on your Windows computer. There is no installation required so it is a piece of cake to get running
  2. Start AutoStitch, go to the File menu, and choose the Open option. Then Ctrl+Click on all of the images that you want AutoStitch to put together.
  3. If AutoStitch was successful you should see a file named “pano.jpg” located in the folder you picked the images from. A preview of the image should also popup on your screen.

That’s all there really is to it. The program comes with some images that you can use to test the panoramic assembler with, but you should find that it has pretty good results. If it doesn’t you can mess with some of the settings, although many of them are pretty advanced (and the program won’t remember your settings after you close it):

AutoStitch Options

So how about the tips on getting the best results? It’s all about redundancy! I had tried several different image compilations that I had done in the past, and the results that I had were a little mixed. The ones that I had the best results with were the ones that had a lot of overlapping portions. Here are four photos of a bridge that I had AutoStitch assemble for me:

AutoStitch Images

As you can see in those images there are a lot of portions that are redundant from one photo to another. That’s a good thing because it gives AutoStitch a lot more area to match up. The resulting photo looked like this:

AutoStitch Result

You’ll notice that there are some missing areas that are represented by black blocks, but I can easily crop the photo and remove those by using something like PhotoScape. My example is a very simple one, and if you want a more complex panoramic photo, checkout the 57-image “collage” on the AutoStitch homepage. It’s complete with before and after photos!