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Tuesday, September 17, 2013


How to create large-scale panoramic images with intricate detail using your everyday DSLR

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Focus is a critical step to ensuring your panos will stitch together properly. Any change in focus and depth of field between two images can cause a stitching algorithm to fail to match two overlapping frames. I often use autofocus to lock onto an area of the panoramic scene where my focus is at, or near, infinity, and then switch my focus to manual to ensure the lens doesn't refocus between each image.

White balance should be set manually using the Kelvin setting in your camera's menu system. Choose a Kelvin temperature that best represents the scene or gives you the creativity you desire. If you don't set the white balance manually, then the camera will be left to choose the temperature of each frame, and this will lead to images that won't stitch together, or if they do, the colors won't match up. This is most noticeable in images that have vibrant colors and in the sky.

Filters should be avoided with the exception of a solid neutral-density (ND) filter or an ultraviolet (UV) filter.

Shooting in RAW is recommended so that you have the most data for post-processing changes once the shoot is complete. For example, I'll load all the RAW images of the panoramic scene into Photoshop or Lightroom and make global changes to white balance, contrast and sharpness before starting the stitching process.

Eliminating Parallax: Finding The Nodal Point
The nodal point, also known as the no-parallax point, is the most critical element to the entire panoramic process. The elimination of parallax helps ensure that panoramic software can effectively stitch together the images and leave you with a scene that's not bowed or skewed unnaturally.

What is "parallax?" It's the difference, or displacement, in an object's apparent position viewed along two different lines of sight. This effect is most noticeable with subject matter closer to the camera and becomes less insignificant at greater distances. If you've ever tried to take a panoramic image with three to five frames just with a regular tripod, the end result likely looked very distorted or bowed. This is a side effect of not eliminating parallax, and the stitching software is trying to accommodate the images by warping the image to force it to line up. Needless to say, the end result isn't very pleasing and is of poor quality.


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