The Art of Stitching Photos

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Ever wondered how people get those photos that are very wide – much wider than could be achieved with a standard point & shoot lens?  Ever wonder how people get those expansive shots of the horizon?  Some of the newer digital camera models have panoramic modes which do the stitching for you, but most of them require precisely framed shots with little to no deviation in movement, which is tough to achieve without a moderately high end tripod.  There is a much, much easier way.  Autostitch.

With this simple to use program, you just open up the images you want to stitch together, and it does the rest for you.  Is it perfect?  No…it can produce results that are not desirable, but as all first year comp sci students hear in those beginning classes…Garbage in, Garbage out.  The better your input images, the better the stitched output will be.  The really good part is that this program is small.  Unzipped, it is only 1.40MB, and it does not require obtrusive installation on a PC platform…just unzip and run.  There are even sample images for you to play with.

Here is a very small example of how I recently used this program to produce a composite image.  It has some flaws, but should indicate the utility of this program.

First, the input pics:

Image OneImage TwoImage ThreeImage Four

Note how the images are not precisely lined up, and also note the differing brightness and contrast levels.  Also note that the images are completely out of order.  Now here is the image that I ran through Autostitch…

Finished Image, Stitched

Not bad, huh?  The only image anomoly is the lamp post, which I could have easily corrected through further manipulation of settings.  There you have it…a quick and easy way to stitch a complex series of photos…

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