Panorama stitching software with lots of specialized functions that is also easy to use.
Stitcher has been around for quite some time and has been my preferred software for creating panoramas for a long time. To me it combines a good ease of use with high-end features that make it the perfect tool. Most of the time it can just do it automatically but when I need it the full manual controls are there. It is also cross-platform Mac and PC, which I consider to be important.
This is a stich from a series of handheld shots
Stitcher is a professional level product. They make a simpler version, Stitcher Express, for those who do not need the full capabilities. Key features of Stitcher are:
* Create spherical, cubic, cylindrical, and planar panoramas
* Unlimited resolution.
* High Distortion Management for perfect stitching regardless of lens type.
* Create interactive panoramas that link to Web pages or even other panoramas with the QuickTime® VR Hotspot feature.
* Use templates to stitch photos almost automatically for fast turn around of panoramas.
* Render multiple large projects overnight with batch rendering making your days/nights more productive (Windows® and Mac® OS X).
* Work with 16-bit / channel color support.
* Retouch your panoramas in your favorite image editor, then convert them in REALVIZ Stitcher and deliver an interactive format, giving you complete artistic control.
* Deliver to the Web, 3D, and print with multiple export formats including Cubical QuickTime® VR.
Stitcher can import the common image file formats, including Photoshop, Tiff and JPEG. Photoshop and Tiff, along with some others not commonly encountered, can be 16-bit files. Export formats include JPEG, Photoshop and Tiff, plus QuickTime, Shockwave and VRML files. For still image work you can stitch 16-bit files and render the panorama out as a 16-bit file, preserving all the image data for any later processing in Photoshop.
Basic user interface is very clean and functional. Here I am telling the software what focal length to use
You can use Stitcher for everything from stitching a single row of images together up to creating full 360 degree VR panoramas. You can output in formats suitable for photo-printing, use in a 3D program, web, multimedia and much more. Obvious users are photographers, architects, web site designers, people working in 3D for visualization or games, real estate agents, photomedia artists, etc.
After an autostitich you can see how it has matched the images
Unlike some panorama stitching programs, Stitcher handles handheld images quite well. What I have found is that if one is sensible, which means that you attempt to rotate around the camera rather than your body, handheld shots stitch fine. This is important as you never know when you may find a great scene to photograph and you don’t have a tripod handy. Sure, if you use a tripod and a VR head to swing the camera around its lenses nodal point then it all works beautifully. But it is nice to know you can get away with less than perfect photography and get the job done.
The Render dialog gives you a huge amount of control
What I have found is that most of the time Stitcher works quite well doing auto-stitching. This is always where I start to see how it goes. If that doesn’t get you a perfect result then the manual facilities let you readily finetune it. It also has great automation features for those who create a lot of panoramas. Templates allow you to set things up and batch rendering lets you queue the jobs up for running overnight.
Zoom and pan controls let you examine the image placement carefully
Version 5 adds the following new features:
* Use of external “Enblend” technology for blending
* Selection of temporary files folder
* Full automatic stitching engine
* New user interface
* Live Preview
* Manual control points
* 3D Stencils
* Import of PSD masks
* Intuitive Panorama Conversion
* Real Time Preview in the Render Area
* QTVR Scripts
* Render Set Management
* Shortcut Management
* On-line activation
Stitcher 4.0 introduced the following features which are still there:
* Adobe® Photoshop® Interoperability.
* Interactive QuickTime® VR Preview.
* Read Exif datas from your digital camera.
* New interpolation methods (bicubic, lanczos).
* Automatically render your panorama to the largest possible resolution, given the size of your original images.
* Automatically crop the panorama to the largest possible rectangle.
* User predefined Render parameters set.
Auto-stitch even places vertical panorama images correctly
Stitcher is a great piece of software and keeps getting better each version. The user interface is good. The only quibble I have is that I would like to see in-window buttons for pan and zoom. Stitching quality is great and speed is surprisingly good, given the size of the images I work with. Rendering out to Photoshop format is noticeably slower than to Tiff, for some reason I have not been able to fathom. But this is no real issue. A great piece of software, I can highly recommend it.