Thursday, 14 May 2009


Before you get confused this posting isn't about the weather -- it's wet in Sheffield but it's not cold enough to be icy!

Since I started this blog I've posted quite a few large panorama photos (17 posts if I labelled them all correctly). I've mentioned before how I make the photos viewable on the blog but I've never talked about how I create the large images in the first place. Most of the panorama's were stitched together using a combination of AutoPano (to workout how the photos overlap) Panorama Tools (to actually overlap the photos) and finally SmartBlend (to blend overlapping photos to create a seamless image). All of these are command line tools and so to make life easy I've used PTAssembler to automate the whole process. This has worked well so far (hopefully you've enjoyed the photos) but is difficult to recommend to other people as PTAssembler, which makes the process fairly painless, isn't free.

The panoramas of Thornton Abbey were produced differently than usual and with a free tool called ICE, or to give it it's full name Microsoft Image Composite Editor. Here is a screenshot of it being used to stitch together the view from our hotel window at the Reeds Hotel. While it doesn't give you full control over every aspect of the stitching and blending process it gives you enough control to be able to produce most panoramas and the fact that it is easier to use and free means I can recommend it to everyone else. It's a research project from Microsoft which means it might not be available forever but the download doesn't seem to be time limited in anyway so once you have downloaded it I think you will be able to continue using it as long as you like.

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