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Panoramas with Microsoft ICE

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Filed under Panoramas, Photography

I’ve played with panoramic photography and photostitching in the past and always found the process interesting but the results pretty hit or miss. Depending on the subject matter, the stitches might be virtually invisible or blatantly obvious. Worse, slight changes in exposure can result in odd “banded sky” situations or worse.

I happened upon a link to a new Microsoft Research project called ICE (Image Composition Editor) a few days ago and finally got time to take it for a spin.

Color me impressed!

I ran a few old panoramic sets through it, and with virtually no adjustments at all, it did an absolutely amazing job at stitching the images together.

Check out this set of six, admittedly terrible, lousy-camera-phone photos of a building in Philadelphia I took while there on business.

image

Note that the images aren’t really in order and represent two rows of 3 columns. I took them standing on the street just panning the camera across the scene.

Here’s the composited shot (I’ve left the edges intact, but you can easily crop them from within ICE).

image

It’s not readily apparent from the scaled down image, but there’s virtually no visible seams. What’s more impressive is that I didn’t even tell ICE how the images are ordered. It figured out where to lay down each picture. Also notice that the color balance in the originals does not match (Camera phones tend to not have exposure locks<g>), but ICE compensated remarkably.

With a good camera and a tripod, I could really imagine doing some incredible panoramas with it.

Grab it while you can.