Friday, June 8, 2012

#7 : Panorama

For the first time my post's title gets straight to the point! Yes, Panorama!

My fascination with panorama started when my dad mailed me a panoramic view of a temple in Kerala. My god! How cool is it to navigate and look around just with photographs. So I decided to dig around a bit on how a Panoramic view is created. I stumbled upon a lot of other panoramic photography that made me go WOW! Honestly I'm almost an illiterate when it comes to the subject of photography, thought I do have an eye to differentiate poor photography from the good stuff. Its just that I'm not much fascinated like my peer groups who roam around clicking away with an SLR.

So what exactly is this "Panorama"? 
Panorama is basically a picture representing scenes extended to be beheld at once, and so exhibited a part at a time, by being unrolled, and made to pass continuously before the spectator ( That's the definition that is given in some online dictionary! Don't blame me if you don't understand neither do I :P )
Simply put its complete view in every direction , a 360 Degree view.

Check this link out http://www.360cities.net/profile/toni-garbasso. He is my favorite so far (You'll know why once you see this page!)

Any "types" of panorama? 
In terms of the format of panoramas, there are essentially three different kinds: 
  • Partial panoramas that you know mainly from traditional landscape photography. They are created by stitching (assembling) of multiple normal photos together side-by-side, which creates a photo with much wider angle that would be possible with a normal lens.
  • Cylindrical 360ยบ panoramas - One notch higher are 360° photos which capture the whole field of view in all directions around the photographer. These are sometimes called cylindrical panoramas. They cover 360-degrees around but not up and down view. These are too created by stitching multiple photos together. The only real difference from partial panoramas is that you need to make sure the first and the last photos overlap. There are also so called "one shot" 360-degree lenses but they are by definition very low quality compared to the traditional stitched panoramas.
  • Spherical panoramas are the top of the line which not only capture the 360-degree field of view but in which you can also look up and down. They can even be taken in a way that you can't see the tripod nor the photographer's shadow in the picture. 
Okay, looks good, sounds a bit complicated.How exactly to create one?!
You, the photographer, choose a place from which you want the panorama to be taken. Then you start taking photos around yourself until you cover the whole intended field of view with photos. It does not really matter what camera or lens you use, you can even use a cell phone, as long as the photos overlap. The easiest, though, is to use a digital SLR camera with a fisheye lens. The wider the viewing angle of the lens is, the less photos you need to cover the entire field of view. With a cell phone, you will need many photos, with a fisheye lens, you need as little as three to cover the entire sphere. 

For those "mad about photography" folks out there! hit you tube. I stumbled upon this video.


quite simple if you have an "eye" for photography (God! I need to work on that skill!)

Hang on! that guy in the video used something to stitch those photos. What was it?!
The photos you take need to be joined (stitched / assembled) together with great precision on a computer. When the shooting and stitching is done properly the result is a completely seamless, smooth image (without borders between photos), which can be viewed in any direction. 

Here's the list of recommended tools for stitching your photos together:
  • Recommended: Panomonkey.com - Fully automated online/cloud panorama stitcher (freemium).
  • PTgui - Absolutely great program for stitching panoramas (paid)
  • Kolor Autopano Pro / Giga - Awesome stitching software (paid); Kolor also makes great virtual tour creation software called Panotour
  • Hugin - An alternative to PTGui (a bit more difficult and less convenient to use but free)
  • Ideally, you will also need any photo editor (Photoshop or any other) for processing your photos
Beware: Stitching photos is not a lightweight task, and the more RAM you have, the better. It also helps to have fast hard disks. For example, tiny notebook might take 30 minutes to stitch a panorama while the same task would take 2 minutes on an average desktop computer (because of RAM and disk speed, more than processor speed).

Hit this tutorial page for more info : http://www.johnhpanos.com/tuts.htm.

Okay for people like me those who are plain lazy to do all the above stuff, lets just sit back and enjoy the spectacular visuals! 

Okay so we are done with the panorama! But how do we upload this in to blog etc?!

I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO UPLOAD IT TO A BLOG! NOTHING SEEMS TO WORK. SO IF ANYONE KNOWS A WAY, DO POST IT AS COMMENT!

PS: I HAVEN'T CREATED A PANORAMA! LETS JUST SAY PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT MY PIECE OF CAKE! 


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Location: Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

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