Panorama – Hugin

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.

Loading display profiles

An article is being made on color management, I’m currently gathering the sources. But until it will be published, here is one thing to start with.

Calibration of a display, and creating a profile for it on linux is not as easy as on other operating systems. There are only a few software to calibrate a display with a colorimeter (ArgyllCMS, and LPROF as far as i know).

I borrowed a display calibrator device, but none of the above mentioned softs can deal with it. But a display profile created on an other os can be loaded on linux! As far as the display and the video card is the same, the profile will be useful.

For loading the profile, I use xcalib. The de-facto standard directory of color profiles is /usr/share/color/icc, so i copied my profile there, and after compiling xcalib, i wrote a script that loads my monitor profile. Then i added it to System/Preferences/Sessions. Every time i log in, the profile is loaded.

I know that this post is floating in the middle of an empty space yet, but soon the post on color management will make it more clear .

edit on 17.10.2007.

Somehow on my new hardware (AMD X2 64) and with gutsy, i was unable to compile xcalib. It is likely to be some 64 bit issue, but anyway, i use Dispwin now, what is part of  ArgyllCMS. I downloaded the argyll precompiled executables, copied the dispwin to /usr/local/bin (i don’t know much about the file system standards, maybe it is not the best place, but it works) changed the attributes of the file, and written a script that loads my profile.

64bit problems – Firefox

Again no photo related post, but I think it worth mentioning. As I recently upgraded my hardware to a AMD64 X2, had to reinstall Ubuntu (a 64 bit edition) (by the way, since then I have no splash screen during boot (my monitor just goes sleep). Does anybody know a solution?).

I wanted to visit some java web-sites, and realized that I have no java jre. No problem, I will install it! But that’s not that easy, as sun-java6-plugins does not come in a 64bit version (as far as i know Flash player does not come either). Googling for a solution I have found this article on the Ubuntu docs. The easiest way to solve the problem is to ignore it :-), and install a 32 bit Firefox, with all the plugins. Not a smart way to get rid of the problem, but works well.

NTFS write support

As my system is a dual-booting one, and the other operating system I use is WinXP I wanted to be able to write to my NTFS partitions under Ubuntu.

I found this detailed howto on howtoforge.com very helpful.

But after installing ntfs-3g I was still unable to write to one partition (my system has two SATA drives. Ubuntu lives on a part of the second one, and I was unable to write to the NTFS partition of the second hard drive). Although the File Browser listed the partition under “Computer”, when I mounted it, it was mounted read-only.

As it turned out, this partition was not mentioned in /etc/fstab, so I added it. It got the same options as my other NTFS-partition, except – naturally – the UUID . The UUID can be found on the volume label of the Properties panel of the partition in File Browser.

I’m almost ready to begin to focus on photo-related stuff 🙂

Installing video card driver on Ubuntu

I decided to use the proprietary driver for my video card. After googling a little for a howto, I tumbled upon the site of Alberto Milone. Alberto’s application called Envy automates the installation of both ATI and Nvidia’s proprietary driver on Ubuntu. It detects the model of the video card, downloads the right version driver, handles dependancies, installs the driver, sets up xorg configuration. Very nice.

Intro

Well, first was photography. Black&white, developed in the bathroom, stored in shoeboxes and albums.

Then came digital photography. Hundreds of jpegs, stored in cd-s. But at a point, the volumes of images archived on cd-s, and scattered on hard disks made me look after some cataloging solution.

Then came digital raw photography, and Color Management, and image metadata, IPTC, XMP, and DNG, and raw workflow, and Digital Asset Management, and original files and derivative files, and working archives and back-up archives, and image stacks, and so on.

Recently came Ubuntu, when I wanted to know more about linux. I’ve chosen this distrib, because somehow I was familiar with it right after the installation. And now I am about to leave Windows behind. The only thing that linux lacks (for me) is a versatile, robust, feaure rich photo management application.

Or at least this was the situation about a year ago. Since then – I hope – many things changed. Now I am to dig deeper into the topic, and find a solution.

So this blog will be about whats and hows on the filed of photo management under Ubuntu. My workflow (under Win) includes downloading, (backing up), metadata-editing, sorting, developing (raw images) (in a color managed environment), refining (noise filtering, color correcting, sharpening) finalizing (creating appropriate derivative images for the purpose (e.g:web gallery, paper print, archiving)) cataloging and backing up (or so). I am curious if I will be able to port my workflow or not.

I’m about to learn a lot. Learn the ways of linux, blogging, linux apps, and so on, and I will post what I’ve learned.

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