Panoramas are popular for showing all that you can see around you. But what if you want to show something that is straight? Consider a street. You are standing on one side and want to show everything on the other side up and down the street. Your camera lens is likely not wide enough to take in everything from full left to full right. A set of photos can be stitched together into a panorama. Windows Live Photo Gallery has a Create > Panorama feature that works quite well. I like to use Microsoft Composite Editor because it offers more adjustment features and is very easy to use.
All it takes is a set of photos that show the scene step by step. The content of the photos has to overlap about a third to help the stitching program do its job. Here is a panorama of a street scene.
The left end of the photo shows the street looking down to the left, and the right edge looks to the right. The street looks like it bends. The individual pictures were taken from one position – that is the normal way to make panoramas.
Here, to explain what happens in more detail, is a set of photos showing a straight wall of Fort Pulaski.
Six photos were taken from the same place. That’s what they look like. When you look to the left or the right the farther end of the wall looks smaller. That is normal, the way we see the world. Combining them into a panorama results in an image that has the same characteristics as the one of the street.
It doesn’t look straight. Can something be done? Yes. Instead of taking the pictures from one position, I took a set from six different positions. Each photo looks directly at the wall. I moved from one end to the other. Carefully staying the same distance from the wall. Here is my set:
Doing this is a bit tricky. Do not use a wide-angle lens setting. The best results are obtained when you are as far from the subject as possible. If you are very careful, and the subject is quite flat, the pictures can be stitched nicely. See, I didn’t use the street, I used a wall! I am never all that careful and my resulting panorama has some flaws, but it is not bad:
Now it looks like the wall that it really is. This was done using Image Composite Editor with the Stitch – Camera motion control set to Planar Motion 3. The default setting is Rotating Motion – for the “normal” panoramas that are taken from one point.
If you have not already discovered the links, each of the panoramas above can be seen larger by clicking on the images. The tool for that is “Zoom.it” – and that is another story.