Monday, November 11, 2013

USING PHOTO STITCHING SOFTWARE FOR MERGING PHOTOGRAPHS

Summary:
Image stitching or photo stitching is a laborious process of doing image registration, calibration and blending, using sophisticated software like Hugin, Panorama Tools, Composite Editor, Autostitch and many other such programs. Different programs function in different ways depending upon the features provided in each of them.
Image stitching or as it is also called photo stitching is a laborious process where we combine several photographic images using overlapping fields of view to give a segmental panorama of high-resolution images. This task is invariably performed using sophisticated computer software discovered for the purpose. Nowadays, some digital cameras provide the feature of stitching photos. This procedure is divided into three main components namely image registration, calibration and blending. Various software are used for these procedures which help us stitch together different images or photos which have to be viewed together.  These software tools are available easily in the market today.
Image registration covers matching features in a set of images or using the direct alignment approach to search for image alignments that can minimize the sum of absolute differences between overlapping pixels.  Image calibration on the other hand deals with minimizing differences between an ideal lens models and the camera lens combination that was used, optical defects like exposure differences between images, distortions, vignetting, chromatic aberrations and camera response. Finally, image blending involves implementing the adjustments figured out in the calibration stage, coupled with a remapping of the images to an output projector. These three activities make up the procedure of photo stitching or image stitching.
As elaborated above, photo stitching is done using sophisticated software discovered for the purpose. Dedicated software programs like Hugin, Panorama Tools, Composite Editor, CleVR Stitcher, Panorama Maker, Autostitch, etc are exhaustively used for the purpose. Although, this list is not comprehensive, these software make up the popular ones used for the purpose. Apart from these, there are other programs also which can stitch multiple images. An example of such a software is Adobe Systems Photoshop which possesses a tool called as Photomerge in its latest versions. Photo stitching software applications are the common ways of producing inexpensive panoramic pictures.
Auto stitch is a captive image stitching software tool for the creation of panoramas. Developed by Mathew Brown and David Lowe, this software uses methods called as SIFT and RANSAC. This software can also stitch together unaligned or zoomed photographs seamlessly without user input. The only requirement for this software to be effective is that the photographs must have been taken from a single point. Panorama Maker, a software for both Microsoft Windows and Mac OS, puts photos with overlapped areas into the software and it comes out in the form of a long slim panorama picture that has stitched previous photos together seamlessly.

Microsoft Image Composite Editor, an advanced image stitcher made by Microsoft Research, a division of Microsoft Corporation, takes a set of overlapping photographs shot from a single camera location and creates high resolution panorama containing all the source images in full resolution. Hugin, another popular software used for the purpose, is a cross-platform open source panorama photo stitching and HDR merging program developed by Pablo of Angelo and others. This is a Graphic User Interface front-end for Helmut Dersch’s Panorama Tools and Andrew Mihal’s Enblend and Enfuse. Stitching is done using several overlapping photos taken from the same location and using control points to align and transform the image so that the two photos can be converted to a larger image. 

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