My recommendations to choose your stitching software
We now need to stitch our photos for them to become a beautiful panorama. For that, we'll use a stitching software. There are very good ones, free and easy to use unless you want to treat yourself to the Rolls Royce of software for 120 euros, still very easy to use and even more versatile. Let's see that...
To finish this tutorial, we'll choose a good stitching software and stitch our images. I selected two pieces of software I consider very good, available in multiple languages and compatible MAC and PC. One is free, the other not but it offers even more possibilities...
How to choose your panorama stitching software?
There are many and some are free when most are not. I thus appealed to my experience to select two pieces of stitching software very powerful and yet easy to use, both in English and of course compatible Mac OS and PC. One is free, the other not. I can assure you that easy to use doesn't mean of poor quality nor simplistic. There you have two excellent pieces of stitching software:
You open your photos in the stitching software, launch the stitching and get in any case a panorama that can be exploited right away. It's that simple, above all with Hugin! Autopano Pro offers more possibilities to edit your panorama before stitching but if you're a beginner you'll know that your software can do much more...
The two protagonists I selected...
This free, multilingual stitching software is very much liked by its users. Its interface allows a very simple use - three buttons - if you're a beginner and will follow you further if you want to better your level...
Its stitching quality is very good and never far from the best.
Fine, I'll jump: maybe the best stitching software on the market but this one is not free! You only have to read my full tutorial to see the range of its possibilities... which will certainly not be of any use if you're a beginner! But you can be sure to realize excellent panoramas very quickly and if you want to take it further, it won't restrain you.
(* By downloading Autopano from the links on this site, you contribute to its being free. Thanks!)
I describe each piece of software in a detailed way on several pages so I will, in this page, show you how to easily stitch your panoramas with Hugin and Autopano Pro.
1st example: stitch your panoramas with Hugin
Download and install Hugin. Nothing particular to say as the language is automatically detected. You'll now be able to create your panorama in only three extremely simple steps.
To start with, we'll set a preference of the software so that it stitches the panorama in JPEG format and not in TIFF by default. If you're a skilled user, you're likely to choose the PSD format.For that, open the Hugin menu/ Preferences / Stitching / Default files format and choose JPEG / 90. Then click "Agree" at the bottom right.
1-Select the images to stitch - Open Hugin then simply click the button "Load images" as below:
The software automatically detects the number of photos and the lens with which the photos have been taken. Perfect!
2 - Automatic alignment of the images - Then, click the button "Align..." below. It launches the automatic alignment of the images.
Piece of advice! If you want, you can change the preferences of the software to automatically launch the alignment of the photos after loading them. Menu Preferences / Assistant / Check the box "Automatically align images after loading".
It opens a new window with lots of weird things written but it doesn't have any importance: the software is working...
When the calculation is finished, it opens a new window "Quick preview of the panorama"
There's nothing to do in particular. It's all automatic and it works very well. The buttons here are for skilled users and connoisseurs...
Shut that window.
3 - Stitch the panorama once and for all - Click the button "Create the panorama..."
The software then requires you to save two things in that order and in two separate windows:
1 - The project - it'll remember where the images to stitch are on your hard drive and how they must be stitched. If you were to make the stitching again, you would save valuable time...
Piece of advice! Leave the name chosen by the software, as I myself do, if your images are in a separate file. The project will save automatically where the images to stitch are. If your images are in a file "Vacation in India", then you'll also have to choose a name to recognize THAT stitching project among all the projects in this file.
2 - Your panorama and its file - Automatically and by default, the panoramas are saved in TIFF format except if you've changed that preference as recommended before in this paragraph. I recommend you to choose JPEG if you're a beginner. If you're a beginner, it's very likely this format won't suit you and you'll prefer JPEG.
Here again, you have nothing to do but name your panorama and place it wherever you want!
You just stitched your first panorama!
You now just have to open it in your photo editing software to modify it, make it even more beautiful, correct it then... share it.
Download (from this link in order to contribute to the free development of this site) and install Autopano in its Pro version, more than enough. Nothing to say in particular since the language is automatically detected. You'll now be able to create your panorama in only one very simple step. If you set the parameters once and for all, Autopano Pro functions completely automatically.
Important remark! Autopano Pro is a real professional piece of software which has the taste to be customizable so that a beginner can benefit from its power of stitching without knowing so much about it and in a few clicks only. I strongly invite you to set a few preferences to configure it for this use:
Let's go to the Autopano Pro / Preferences menu (on a Mac) or File menu (on a PC) / Preferences / detection tab / automation block:
Check all the boxes! Everything will be done automatically: the reframing of your photo in order to eliminate the parts without photos, the harmonization of the colors or of the luminosities in case of slight differences during the shooting with a point-and-shoot camera, the final stitching, the saving of the project and even the shutting of the software at the end of the stitching(s).
1 - Select the images to stitch - You have two possibilities. The more classic, like Hugin and like any piece of software, is thus to select your images in the file where they are with the File menu / Select images (You can also click the icon "Select images"). But there's also another approach, very original, which is one of the strengths of Autopano Pro: you only have to select the file where your images to stitch are located - even if there are several panoramas in a same file - and Autopano takes care of everything automatically: it's going to gather all the photos of a same panorama in a first group to stitch and so on... Very convenient and efficient! To do that, open the File Menu / Select a file:
Go get the file where your images are or directly get your images by clicking the right icon:
A - 1st solution Analyze a file - This opens a new window where you can open the explorer of your computer before selecting the file where your photos are.
Piece of advice! Just remember to check the box "Automatic detection". Click the button OK and the pre-stitching automatically launches (and if you set the preferences before, it all works automatically from now on!). If not, click OK the click the green button "Detection".
B - 2nd solution Select images - It opens the explorer of your computer in order to go get your photos. Once selected, the software automatically detects the number of photos, the lens with which the photos have been shot, the time it took to take the photos. Perfect! The detection (else said the alignment of the images) is automatically done from now on if you've made that choice in the preferences of the software (see above).
2 - Detection of the images (automatic alignment of the photos) - If it's not already automatically been done (see above), launch the detection hence the pre-stitching of the photos by clicking the green button Detection below:
You are then in the left column, the groups column where can thus gather all the panoramas of your vacations if you opted for the analysis of your file "Vacations 2014"!
The launch of the detection or the automatic detection will pre-stitch your panoramas in the right column, the panoramas column (below):
- If you've set the preferences of the software in full AUTO, the final stitching will launch automatically at this step. You don't have to do anything!
Note! Your panorama(s) will be placed in the file of the project and in JPEG format (11/12 quality) so a very good quality; - for this format! (Unless you change the preferences of the software).
- If the final stitching doesn't launch automatically and you want to launch it WITHOUT editing the panorama, see below (3).
- If you want to make a few settings by yourself BEFORE the final stitching, click the button "Edit", at the top left of the panoramas column.
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