Sunday, January 10, 2010

Panoramic picture publishing and viewing

I have just discoverd 360cities while viewing google earth. I saw
these symbols on Google Earth a few years back but don't bother until
I start viewing Google street views of Singapore. I read in the news
about the controversies created by Google for taking these photos. I
didn't realise there are so many of them and pano viewers are good and
fast enough for low-end broadband.

Unfortunately Google Street only take panoramic pictures of streets,
not inside compounds and buildings. That is where amateurs and
professionals can contribute, until Google start providing pano
pictures tourist attractions all over the world, but I doubt it will
be able to meet the requirements of most people, just as photographs
of sites had not stopped tourists bringing in their own cameras of all
types.

360cities.net was launched in 2007 as shown by this post.
http://ivrpa.org/forum/public/1350

By 2010, its photographer has published on the net the largest
panoramic picture on Earth. Who says higher Megapixel cameras are not
required?
http://www.360cities.net/prague-18-gigapixels


High resolution cameras are not useful if you just want to print 3R
photos or watch on you PC or TV. Even Full HD TV and monitor can show
a 2Mpixel quality only. They are most useful for panoramic pictures.

There are many sites for published 360 degree panoramic pictures but
only 360cities.net are integrated with Google Earth. I though it was
Panoramio and actually published it there but it does not have a pano
viewer. In 2007 there are many more panoramio pictures in Google Earth
than 360cities pictures so I don't click 360cities that much, until I
started looking at Singapore streets for the intention of planning my
trip to Singapore, last week.

Without going to Singapore, I feel confident that I won't get lost in
Singapore. Mind you, I lived in Singapore for 3 years but that was
more than 20 years ago.

There are not many 360 degree panoramic pictures for Malaysia and
Singapore in 360 cites. For Malaysia I noticed that there are 2
prolific photographers but the number of pictures is only about 50. I
have uploaded more than 50 of my panoramic pictures in RC Flight Sim
resolution and full resolution but at the highest compression rate
because of problems uploading.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Publishing in 360cities

http://www.360cities.net/new_360cities_content_integrated_with_google_earth

I have just started but it could be the best way of publishing
panoramas.

I have successfully uploaded 8192x4096 pictures which I use for RC
Flight Simulators but highly compressed to 30% or less so that the
image size is less than 2Mbyte. Successfully uploaded but not yet
published. They have to view the picture to establish its copyright,
which is fair enough.

I tried to upload my pano stiched from 10Mpixel photos resulting in
more than 17,000 horizontal resolution but failed so far using my
512Kb/s connection.

360cities is capable of up to:
TIFF can be up to 65,536 x 32,768.

The maximum JPEG size is 30000 x 15000.

Uploading should be the problem. Viewing should not be much of a
problem because you view only portions at a time and streaming is also
done. That should explain why I was able to view many excellent
panoramas in 360cities.

Another way to view panoramas is through google "street view" but
these are just views from the street of famous cities. Unfortunately
my city, Kota Kinabalu, is not so famous so we must resort to
360cities to show it to the world.

Even in famous places such as Makansutra and Esplanade of Singapore
still do not have panoramic pictures widely available. I shall visit
Singapore this end of January and try to take panoramic pictures of
various places that do not have panoramic pictures in Singapore.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Panasonic Fx520 compact vs Niikon D40 DSLR


Compressed to 1920 using Gimp at 30% compression setting from 14894.

The picture at sabahheaven.blogspot.com has an original resolution of 16712 from its 10Mpixel pictures.

This picture has more healing because it has more gaps. Its equivalent lens is at 18mmx1.5 which is 27mm, compared to Fx520 26mm(stated 25mm).

Using panotools in Hugin, hfov for Fx520 is 67.43 degree.
Hfov for D40 is 67.88 degree.

Based on the data above it shows that D40 lens is wider than Fx520. It must have been due to my technique. It is surprising in that I actually uses the viewfinder instead of the LCD screen. It shows that the viewfinder is not good because it does not capture the true state of the digital image and parallax error should be more because I have to tilt the camera while viewing the viewfinder.

Both cameras at are set to fully automatic.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Smartblend vs Enblend


Warisan Square blended using enblend as output from Hugin normal blend.

Even without extra control points in order to correct the parallex errors, the posts appear to be straighter than that used in sabahheaven.blogspot.com which is blended with smartblend.

Enblend is not too bad in my current machine(athlon 64 X2 5200 with 4Gbyte RAM) but smartblend is still much faster.

The enblend is the one coming with my Hugin 0.7 rc2 for Windows.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Panoramic pictures from 18 shots of Fx520

I was able to reduce the number of shots in order to form a 360x180 degree panorama to 18, by using the 26mm equivalent focal length of the Fx520. I don't need a tripod, philipod or manual exposure. It is better to use automatic exposure.

8 pictures held vertically at zero degree pitch, i.e. horizontally. 4 pictures help horizontally, tilted up and 4, tilted downwards. One picture pointed up and another pointed down.

8 and 4 around you is easy to determine. Any other number is much more difficult. With Fx520, The overlap is only about 12%(67degree/4*3*8/360) but I was able to stich the panoramic picture using panotools in Hugin. The are areas that are not covered but this is a small price to pay for the convenience. Taking more pictures does not guarantee complete coverage because I tend to make mistakes since I don't use a proper tool.

I was able to take form a panormic picture of my living room which is only about 20 feet long. There is parallax error, but it is manageable. It should be severe for such a small space but the resulting picture is acceptable to me. I tried to stich using enfuse and smartblend. Because there is little cropping, the ghosting effect is sever in enfuse generated panorama, but its exposure is more consistent. Smartblend is very fast and has no ghosting but with more prominent exposure inconsistencies, because I use flash and automatic exposure for all the shots.

Initially smartblend failed to stich but when I switched off the "cropping", the panorama stiched properly.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

using smartblend

Smart blend is now my choice for blending software. It is much faster than enblend 3.1 and enfuse that comes with Hugin RC2 for windows. Less than 5 minutes instead of 30 minutes.

Better still, I no longer need to do any cropping in order to improve the resolution of the blended pictures. Enfuse tends to distort the pictures which are not overlapping perfectly, which is usually the case for me since I don't use a pano head.

Enfuse is better at exposure blending but smartblend is better than enblend and does not introduce distortion in overlapped regions. Smartblend probably has an autocrop function.

I just enblendGUI in order to make it easy for me to invoke smartblend but it means that I cannot use other options because smartblend is not compatible with enblend when it comes to specifying options. Have to be satisfied with the default which is good enough for me.

If you want to specify other options, you may need to edit cmd batch files. Enfuse has a good GUI which allows us to specify all options in a GUI environment.

Since I bought the Panasonic Fx520, I was able to compare fixed exposures versus programmed exposures which optimise exposures for each scene. Enfuse is able to merge exposures perfectly and allows us to have an HDR quality viewable panormaic pictures. smartblend is not as good but manageable.

Samples of both techniques are presented in my blog sabahheaven.blogspot.com

smartblend however failed to blend heavily overlapped pictures, such as the case with bracketed exposures. Since I don't use a tripod for my bracket exposures, there are bound to be slight misalignments between bracketed exposures. Enfuse will not be able to blend these pictures without any loss of resolution.

Hugin, though autopano or manual control point insertion, does not allow high precision stiching of pcitures to form a perfect panorama. It is even worse for me because I don't use a pano head. Using philipod, i.e. a piece of string to lock the position of my lens focus point, is not good enough.

In the end, I simply choose the best exposures and blend only one set of panoramic picture. I don't think hugin is well equipped for HDR panorama yet. 3 bracketed exposures also do not give sufficient dynamic range as shown by the HDR viewers.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

ptviewer in Tikiwiki

http://othman.000webhost.info/tikiwiki-2.0/tiki-index.php?page=History

This is a Tikiwiki v2.0 site.

Unregistered users can still send articles but will have to be
approved by me. Registered users can upload pictures of unlimited
sizes.

Don't use the image galleries for large pictures.

You should be able to use the ptviewer module by using the code:

{MODULE(module=ptviewer,pano_file=img/wiki_up/filename.jpg)}{/MODULE}

The code above to be inserted in articles and wiki, is not tested.

I'm busy showing the panoramic pictures that had already been
uploaded. In addition, I also show 6Mpixel pictures that are part of
the panoramic pictures before they are stiched.

You are encouraged to insert your own adsense adverts for any
contribution. The module is called newadsense.

For more information, please refer to tikiwiki documentations.

I should be preparing better documentations for tikiwiki as I go
along.

--
Sabah is heaven. Beautiful shark-free beaches and mountains next to
civilisation with no natural and man-made disasters except Malaysia.
My homepage:
http://othman.000webhost.info/
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