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Shooting and Stitching Panoramas in Hugin - Step by step

I was asked to write something about my workflow in creating panoramas. Some of you maybe have seen my huge panoramas on my Google+ or 23 account or if you haven't then have a look at them ;-)

For demonstrating this step by step guide I will use my latest panorama, which was generated from 39 portrait photos. At the end the final processed panorama will look like this:

The shooting

As I mentioned in my G+ post you can see the Kinzig valley near Haslach (Black Forest in Germany). You have this view on the newly builded observation tower on top of Urenkopf, the tower is simply called Urenkopf-Tower. If you need more information about the tower, you will find all information on the website of Haslach.

I had no tripod with me, most of the time I don't use a tripod for my panoramas. If you really hold your camera in the same horizontal position during the shooting you will be able to shoot one shot after the other with a little overlaps of each shot. Sure it will be better and easier if you use a tripod, so decide on your own how you will do the shots. 

For the shots I used a focal length of 28mm on my Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 lens and an ISO setting of 100. Shutter speed was around 1/250s at f/8. With these setting I had shot 39 photos:
I know that less photos would also work, but if you shoot handheld then you have better more shots than missing important parts of the panorama and then the work were useless.

The processing

For my photo processing and my complete workflow I use open source software under Linux. May favourite distribution is Arch Linux, because I'm a member of the developer team, so it's normal that I use it. My photo management software is Digikam, photo processing and editing is done in GIMP and in RawTherapee. I know that Digikam has a panorama plugin, but I prefer the usage of Hugin.

All these programs are available for Mircosoft Windows, too. I don't know how well they work on Windows, so if you try these on Windows then good luck, but I can't give you any support on this. 

Since some versions Hugin has the "Simple" interface mode which hides most of the expert settings from the GUI. That's okay for the most of panoramas you will generate.

So I have imported all 39 images into hugin. If you start up Hugin and you have the simple interfaces activatd, then you have just to click on the "1. Load images" button, select the panorama images and press "Open".
Hugin starts automatically to analyze the images and tries to find control points for the stitching process.
After some seconds or minutes, depends on the number of shots, Hugin will present you a first preview of your panorama:
Hugin gives you some information about your images in the right corner, how good your shots fits and other maybe useful information.

Now you can change the projection of the panorama, move single images around, straighten the sky and crop the panorama to your needs. Also you can identify the control points or the overlapping images. Hugin gives a huge set of options here. Some options are displayed in the next screenshots:
Showing control points

Identify each single photo

Select the projection

Straighten the horizon

Play around with the setting of the projection, maybe you will find a better projection for your panorama. I used the cylindrical projection.
Most of the time all these settings are not necessary to change, so if everything looks good, then you just have to click the "Create panorama..." button. Hugin is now starting the complete process with stitching and with blending all the images, this takes some time depending on your images. Hugin will inform you about the process all the time with its status window:

After the complete process Hugin should output the final panorama. Normally it looks like the one in the preview. Mine looks like this:

After editing the final panorama in GIMP and RawTherapee the following panorama which you have seen in my posts was created:

Deconstructing Featured Photo

Camera: Canon EOS 7D
Lens: Tamron 28-75mm f/2.4
Focal Length: 28mm
ISO: 100
Aperture: F8
Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec
Tripod: none used for this shot, but my new travel tripod is a Sirui T-005X
Ballhead: C-10X and plate TY-C10

I hope you liked my small step by step tutorial about my workflow in creating panoramas. Leave a comment, a +1, a like or tweet about it.


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