When Deane and I were in Chicago this weekend, I bought a disposable camera, just so I wouldn’t keep commenting that I should have brought a camera with me.
Just before we left, I’d read about PTAssembler, which is one of several frontends for the open-source panotools suite of command-line programs. Even cooler, there’s a tool called autopano, which will scan a directory, analyze the images in it, decide which ones are panoramas, and get them ready for assembly with panotools. I took a few shots from the Sears Tower to try it out.
The images I took should not have made a decent panorama. Here’s why:
- I had no tripod, I handheld every shot.
- There were lots of people, so I had to move a little between shots.
- The windows on the Sears Tower are filthy (come on, people, Windex and a rope!)
- The pictures were taken with a lame little Kodak FunSaver and there was a lot of lens distortion.
Given all that, panotools did a pretty nice job, considering (click on the image above for a larger view). On the down side, there’s a fair bit of work involved in assembling the images, but on the up side, you have a lot of control over the result.
Panotools and Autopano are free, and there seem to be three front-ends available: PTGui (Looks nice, but $60), PTAssembler (Gets the job done, $39), and Hugin (Free Linux app that looks similar to PTAssembler). I’m looking forward to trying this out on a better set of source images in the future.