In the summer I shot some panorama pictures to be joined to form one big panorama. It was an experiment from my part if and how i could overcome the various perspective distortions and lens vignetting. As it turned out, i couldn’t. Individual pictures had to be distorted individually to match the adjacent photo. And the more far the point to be joined is from the center of the picture is, the more perspective distortion i had to compensate. These photos weren’t taken on tripod, and I wasn’t too cautious during the making. I just wanted to play with panorama creating, and i had to realize it is no fun! Or at least no fun if you don’t have the right tool.
Then i tried Hugin. The interface is quite complicated, it has seven tabs loaded with options. Anyway, i loaded 4 images, and much to my amazement, Hugin immediately began to stitch them. And much more to my amazement, about half a minute later, the panorama image was ready, and it was quite flawless!
As it turned out the first tab of the seven is a simplified interface, where the program does (almost) everything automatically.
But after experimenting with the manual modes, it seemed no more that complicated.
The second tab is for loading individual images. It makes sense arranging the photos to a left–>right or up–>down order, or else the program may not be able to create the panoramas automatically.
The third tab is for adjusting the settings related for the camera and lens, all done automatically if the image contains the related EXIF metadata.
The fourth tab is for cropping the individual images if you want to.
On the fifth tab you can select points on adjacent images to be aligned.
Well, the fifth tab is still an enigma for me (i haven’t read the manual), but it is about optimizing.
The last tab shows some options concerning the output panorama can be set, like final size and so.
But here is a really important feature of the program, namely the enblend module. Without it, on the stitched panorama, the individual picture edges could be seen due to lens vignetting. But enblend blends them to be invisible.
Before letting the program do its work its worth checking the preview and adjusting it a little, if needed. Usually the only problem is that the image is not properly centered, and/or the horizon is angular or curved.
Hugin is a really very powerful program. Although its UI is a bit complicated, it is very easy to use, because you only need to mess with the controls, if you want something extra, or in the rare occasion of the program being unable to do everything by itself.
For Ubuntu users, Hugin is in the Graphics section of the Universe repository.