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Panorama image software: Autostitch

Download of the Week: Autostitch

A panorama image, for those of you who are unfamiliar, is made by piecing together multiple images that shows the viewer that is either wider or taller than your normal field of vision. For instance, if you wanted to take a picture of a clear horizon from atop some vantage point then you would take a series of pictures as close to the same horizontal/vertical line as the first. You can then take these pictures and combine them in a way as to reconstruct the enormous environment.

My digital camera has a panoramic feature. Initially I just ignored it, then I got addicted. Creating a panoramic shot once entailed changing to the camera’s Panoramic setting and shooting a series of images of some applicable subject matter. From asking around the office, the cameras with this feature still won’t build a panorama without using some external application (usually the camera’s software) to stitch the disjointed images into one image. Autostitch, today’s Download of the Week, should level the playing field, allowing anyone with a digital camera to create panoramic shots regardless of their camera’s feature set or skill with imaging software.

This week’s download is perfect for all of us who take panoramic shots or who would like to take them. Autostitch is the first program to be able to automatically stitch any photographer’s overlapping images (within reason) into one fabulous panoramic shot. It helps to take the shots in order and include just under a quarter-frame’s overlap on each side of the frame.

Autostitch requires hardly any user interaction. Simply drop the images into the interface and select Start, let Autostitch do the rest. Here’s some of the sample images form Autostitch’s website. There’s really not a lot to say; it is what it is, and that’s all that it is. It’s just cool. There are settings you can configure, but you don’t need to even touch them to get good results. There’s not a ton of help at the site (just a set of FAQ’s and no help file), but you don’t need it. Just go outside, take a bunch of shots of your house in a row, dump the images into Autostitch, push the magic button and- voila!- you’ll be patting yourself on the back, Ansel Adams. Enjoy.

NOTE: The linked file is compressed (or zipped). Use today’s Tip of the Day for unzipping the file so you can install this cool program!

~Chad Stelnicki