Monday, January 04, 2010

Panoramas and Zooming

Yesterday, I created a panorama of Kuwait City using 44 images and a photo stitching software called Auto-Stitch. I was not very happy with the result, as the limitations of the demo-version of Auto-Stitch combined with my weak laptop configuration meant that the resulting file was only 50% of what I wanted it to be.

I decided to give Photoshop a try - and even though it took couple of hours to process the images, it finally came up with a gigantic 112 mega pixel image.

My next dilemma was how to present this image to others. The file is 22,885 pixels wide and 4,885 pixels long. Obviously, viewing such a large image on a standard 800 x 600 screen would not provide the ideal experience as the user has to scroll up and down to view the details in the image.

There are couple of solutions available for presenting large images to the end user. Zoomify provides a simple application that allows you to feed the application with the large image and it spits out hundreds of tiny images and presents them interactively using a flash-based application. I tried the free version of zoomify with my original (half-sized) image and uploaded it to one my my websites. The result is pretty interesting as you can see it here.

A friend recommended Seadragon - a cool application from Microsoft Live Labs. To implement Seadragon, you first upload the image to any image hosting website (I used my normal Flickr Account) and then give the URL to Seadragon, and it comes up with a interactive version of the image that the user can zoom in and see the details.

I love Seadragon since it's very easy to implement and the result can be embedded directly within your blog/website.

This is my Seadragon implementation of the final image. Click on the (+) and (-) buttons to zoom in and out of the image. You can also use the scroll bar of the mouse for zooming.


Saturday, January 02, 2010

Panoramas and Stitching.

I've been meaning to create a panorama of Kuwait City for quite some time. But every time I looked out of the window, the weather was either too dusty or too dull or bland - a feature that is part & parcel of this dry & dusty desert place.

Today, the weather was nice and crisp, so I decided to give it a shot. I packed my D200 and the Nikkor 80-200 f2.8 and headed to my favorite destination to capture the Kuwait City skyline.

I shot around 44 pictures and then came home to see how they would look like once stitched together.

I downloaded the demo version of Auto-Stitch. I did face some problems as it was unable to stitch all the images at full resolution due to the limitations of my laptop - so I ended up stitching them at 50% resolution.
I am quite pleased with the initial results of my mega-panorama attempt and will try this with some other projects that I have in mind.

Here's the output from the Auto-Stitch program.

Kuwait Cityscape Panorama - 1

A larger version of the image can be viewed here.

And this is the original output from the Auto-Stitch program. WARNING!. It's a large download so don't click the link if you are on a slow link.