Panorama Stitch

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The Panorama Stitch dialog allows you to glue together adjacent photos, in order to create horizontal or vertical panoramas. Panoramas can be created with any digital camera by shooting a series of photos that all have a small overlapping border.


To start stitching a panorama from your photos, select the corresponding frames in the Explorer, and open the stitch dialog. You can then add more frames, or change the order of frames with the Reverse Order button or by Drag & Drop.


Even though CodedColor has an ingenious algorithm for stitching panoramas with almost no user interaction needed, the dialog has number of useful options for fine tuning:


Maximum overlap area: see the following example



To the left you see 2 frames that were not stiched correctly, because there are several possible stitch lines.


If you reduce the maximum overlap area from 60% to 40% for instance, you may exclude the faulty stitch line. To find the optimal value sometimes requires trial and error.


Downsize frames


Panoramas can become very large, and the stitching can consume a huge amount of resources. For instance, if you have 10 frames from a 5 Million pixel camera, then the resulting panorama can have a filesize of up to 150 MB (= 5 Million Pixels x 3 Bytes x 10 frames), depending on the JPEG compression when storing the panorama. This is usually no problem, however, the stitching can take up to 3 times the amount of memory, that is 450 MB. If your PC only has 500 MB memory, then a lot of virtual memory will be needed, slowing down the process of stitching or even crashing your PC. Usually, you don't need a resulting panorama of this size, so a Max. Height of 800 pixels is a good start to experiment with stitching, and to view the resulting panorama in the Panorama Viewer. Careful: Don't enter values below 200. Naturally, you'll always get the best stitch lines with maximum frame resolution. (also see "Important" below).


Equalize Exposure and Color


Due to the rotation of the camera, the frames in a panorama sequence were frequently shot in different light situations. In the following example, the first two frames of the panorama were taken against the light and are therefore too dark (underexposed). This will cause a bad stitch area with the bordering third frame.


In order to correct the overexposure and improve the stitching, all frames should be manually equalized to the same Gamma (brightness) and Color Saturation. This is best accomplished by first dragging the slider beneath the thumbs, so the corresponding thumbs are reduced in size and become visible at the same time. Next you can equalize the Gamma of the first two frames. Since an increase in brightness also washes out color, you can then increase Saturation to overcome this problem.


If frames differ only slightly in color and brightness, it may be more efficient to use AutoColor and AutoExposure instead. If all frames are already similar, you may only want to increase the number of matching points in shadow areas by means of SmartFlash.


Note: Image improvements are usually non-destructive in CodedColor, except AutoRotation. This option may remove some image details (sharpness), apart from the fact that it might not work at all. Better results can be achieved by aligning the frames in the image editor rotation prior to the panorama dialog. Leveling the horizon in tilted frames usually leads to a noticeable improvement in stiching quality.









Since the frames of the panorama were never taken in a perfectly horizontal manner (unless you used a tripod), the stitch line detection causes the panorama to warp. This is a problem of all Panorama Stitch utilities, resulting in "snakelike" panoramas. CodedColor has an ingenious flatten algorithm in order to overcome any disaligment. The downside is, that some frames may become slightly distorted themselves.


Read the chapter about Parallax, to learn how to reduce warp effects in the first place. You can also align the frames in the rotation dialog of the image editor.




Only use this option with Flatten above. This hides the problem, that some frames may have an unwanted vertical displacement, which the Flatten algorithm cannot correct. Crop cuts off overhanging borders resulting from any vertical displacement. Usually, a value of 5% is good enough, if you had a steady hand while moving the camera during the panorama sequence. For best results of course, you should use a tripod.


Fade Area


Select Large as a default, and only reduce the value, if the stitch line causes intense blurring of the affected image area.


Background Color


Used to fill in areas resulting from frame disalignment. Dark colors like Gray or Black usually blend in best with the frames.


To finish stitching, you can Save the panorama to a file right away, or Open it in the Image Editor for further manipulation, like additional cropping. Saving will allow you to immediately look at it in the Panorama Viewer.


icon_tip Important Tips


The more you reduce Max. Height, the more detail is removed from the frames before stitching. Since this detail is needed for determining the ideal stitch line between two frames, it is always better to create the panorama first (provided you have enough resources), and then resize it later in the Image Editor.


Turn off the Crop option, if you prefer to manually crop the resulting panorama in the Image Editor.


If two frames have a poor match quality, while the other frames match good or excellent, you can experiment with Exposure, Color and Overlap. If you cannot achieve a better match quality, you may try to exclude outer frames or split the panorama into two frame sections. Also watch out for identical focal lengths when shooting the frames: wideangle and fisheye frames don't match! You may want to zoom single frames in the image editor, so that important overlapping elements, like buildings or trees, have similar sizes.


More tips for shooting panoramas


icon_tip Related topics


Panorama Viewer
The Parallax effect
Gamma correction




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