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Can anyone recommend some good tools for creating panoramas from multiple photos.

(Free and commercial)

Personally I use either Windows and Ubuntu, but I'm not fussy, suggestions for other platforms will help others.

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what environment/operating system do you use? (Mac, PC, iPhone, etc?) –  ahockley Jul 15 '10 at 21:12
    
@ahockley: See edit. –  Simon P Stevens Jul 15 '10 at 21:16
    
FWIW, you might want to correct the spelling of "stitching" in your title. :) –  Reid Jul 15 '10 at 21:59
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@Reid: Doh, I even googled "panorama" to check I was spelling that right. should have paid more attention to the rest of it. –  Simon P Stevens Jul 16 '10 at 7:50
    
The other doesn't mention cheap or free but it's covered. –  mattdm Oct 18 '11 at 0:54

16 Answers 16

up vote 38 down vote accepted

Hugin (based on Panorama Tools) is a good open-source option, and is multi-platform.

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Hugin can also do a bunch of crazy voodoo projections during the stitch. I find I get better results manually selecting common points, but that's obviously much more tedious. –  Reid Jul 15 '10 at 21:41
    
I've used Hugin for a number of panoramas that I've photographed freehand with decent results. flickr.com/photos/ahotw/4632293571/lightbox –  Andrew Jul 15 '10 at 23:57
    
Every answer here is good, but I'm going to accept this as "the answer" it's the most popular. –  Simon P Stevens Jul 19 '10 at 18:41
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Hugin is incredibly useful for aligning multiple shots taken by hand. I use this technique to take multiple exposures of a scene by hand then align them and then render the projected files into tiffs. From there I open the images in any photo program as layers and take the median value and all the people magically disappear. –  Pridkett Jul 23 '10 at 21:58
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I agree; I just started experimenting with Hugin and panoramas in general, and this is a great tool. –  pkaeding Aug 13 '10 at 21:45

The type of pano stitcher you want depends on a lot of different factors, such as the type of panoramas you're stitching and how much ease of use you want, and the hardware you're using.

If you just want to experiment with a handful of photos with free or already-owned software, and you want the most ease-of-use, the Windows-only application, Microsoft ICE, is probably the easiest to try. Similarly, if you purchased a Canon camera that came with a disk in the box, then Canon's Photostitch might be worth a go. There's also Autotstich, and Photoshop's PhotoMerge capability.

However, these "easy to use" stitchers typically don't give you a lot of control over how the images are stitched and combined, and while they'll work terrifically for most panos, for a few trickier types of panoramas, there may be stitching errors or ghost/clones that are more difficult to remove. And for gigapixel panos with a large array of shots, or mixing shots from different cameras/lenses, or sets with parallax error, or 360x180 sets taken with fisheye lenses, these stitchers may begin to struggle and might not accomplish the task you need them to do, and you might need to move to a more specialized stitcher.

Quite of a few of these are based upon Helmut Dersch's panorama tools. Hugin and PTGui are probably the most popular of these. There is also Max Lyon's PTAssembler (which he wrote to stitch the first gigapixel pano). These stitchers have a steeper learning curve, but more tools for correcting panos. And Hugin, in particular, has become a front-end gui for a number of different open source line command graphics manipulation tools, and can see a lot of "off-label" usage, such as focus stacking, lens correction, defishing, remapping, alignment, etc. that isn't strictly about stitching panos.

Autopano Pro is based upon Autostitch instead of Panorama Tools, but also has a great reputation as a pro-quality stitcher with great ease of use. And Gigapan offers their own Gigapan Stitch to go with their camera mounts to make super-high resolution gigapixel panos.

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Imaging Shop provides library called SharpStitch including command-line application for image stitching (including panoramas).

The company works on making GUI as well, so far one can use either the command-line or DLL.

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Microsoft ICE and Auto Pano have worked very well for me. I tried most other solutions proposed here and most of them take the fun out of making panoramas.

If you want to simply put in your images and let the software do the work and not even need to learn what control points are, then go for one of those automated tools. At this point I almost exclusively use MS ICE because it lets the center and projection to be adjusted interactively. It makes a huge difference in precisely making the pano look the way you want. Furthermore it is available for free.

Having to instead adjust the angle (tilt or other stepped parameter) by specifying degrees in a dialog box as with many other software is simply ridiculous.

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I use Autostitch (for iPhone too). Super easy and very good at stitching

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AutoStitch is an amazing program using very cool algorithms :) If you want more user friendliness try AutoPano Pro –  Davy Landman Jul 23 '10 at 7:02
    
Once nice thing that I've noticed about autopano is that it does a great job of correcting colors and exposures. This eliminates a lot of brightness issues you'd otherwise get. –  Pridkett Jul 23 '10 at 21:59

You can create one on an Android device very easily with the (little known) panoramic feature.

Camera > Settings > Shooting Mode > Panorama

Short video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=txwdD11sW1s

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You might not be aware of this, but this is a feature that the android dev team have made part of their Android 4.0 release! Whatever the reason for this move was, one feature of this move is that it is not available to smart-phone owners with an older version of Android. However, for these users there is this niche 360 panorama which is pretty much the same functionality (from what i can tell) but it runs on my android 2.3 device! –  Peter Sheldrick Nov 18 '13 at 19:09

Hugin is the standard answer here.
I've used it very successfully on Windows, but there is a Mac download available on the download page on the website.
As I understand it, Hugin's not as easy to use as some of the paid-for competition (none of which I've tried), but it's worth persevering with.

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Thanks! I'll be sure to check it out. –  timothymh Oct 17 '11 at 22:50

I use Arcsoft Panorama Maker 4. I got in a bundle it when I bought my point 'n' shoot Nikon, but it is a great and simple piece of software. Works on MS Windows and Macintosh.

What I most like is that it automatically stitches images, it doesn't require that you manually set the connecting points of images that are next to each other, and does it pretty well. Only condition is that you have a well contrast and "content filled" images (as opposed to monotone images with not much of subjects), but even then you can set the points in a matter of minutes and have a great panorama.

I even supports creating 360° panoramas that can be saved as interactive flash objects.

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On Mac, I had bad luck with Hugin; it kept crashing. YMMV. DoubleTake ($25 currently) seemed promising, and is almost a one-step solution, but didn't seem to have vignette removal.

My best results have been with Photoshop's Photomerge. On CS5 (don't know about <=CS4), it has vignette removal, and the stitching is very intelligent. I ended up with a slightly curvy horizon and some perspective issues, but they're very easy to fix with Puppet Warp.

Plus, you can fill in the sky and other non-important areas with Content-Aware Fill to make it rectangular.

NYC at sunset, from the Brooklyn Heights promenade.

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I've had problems with Hugin crashing on larger images. it appears anecdotally that Hugin is unstable with images over 100 megs on my 32bit win7. It's been stable for me when I'm stitching smaller panos though –  Kevin Won Jan 11 '11 at 23:17
    
Well I would post completely this, I just didn't know about Puppet Warp, normally the corrections I do are done with the crop in perspective mode. Any good tutorials that you would suggest on how to learn this Puppet Warp technique? –  nuno_cruz Dec 9 '11 at 17:26

I have played with various panoramic software tools over the years and without doubt, Autopano is the clear winner for me. It stitches images that I don't even expect it to be able to handle. I'm a wedding photographer and incorporate hand-held panoramic work at weddings which requires some great stitching technology when the images haven't been captured on a tripod.

I love capturing panoramas on my iPhone too and for this, I use Autostitch Panorama. I post examples to my iPhone Photography blog here:
http://www.iphonebroadcast.co.uk/?tag=autostitch-panorama

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Link - AutoPano –  Simon P Stevens Jul 24 '10 at 15:07

Personally i've only used photoshop's photomerge and the panorama creator built into windows live photo gallery. They seem to be about as good as each other to me - i.e both need to be 'cleaned up' if you want them to be flawless - but for just a quick panorama i now prefer photo gallery simply for its ease of use

(example done using WL Photo Gallery http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaips/4309314024/in/photostream/)

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I use AutoPano Pro (commercial, 99 € -- Mac, Windows, Linux) with great results. It merges photos together automatically and is able to blend together photos with several different focal-lengths and even exposures. I now usually just hand-hold a series of shots for a pano rather than bothering to set up a tripod. As long as I am zoomed out enough to crop off the uneven edges, the slight shifts in perspective don't cause merging problems.

Its kind of neat to look at the program's detailed merge view to see the key points it has chosen and how it will wildly warp images to merge them together seamlessly.

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I agree. I've tried Autoano Pro and Hugin and Hugin's not even close. Even when I match up the features by hand, Hugin doesn't stitch things together very well. With Autopano Pro, you just drag, drop and go. –  mmccoo Jul 16 '10 at 19:33
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+1 for AutoPano; it's completely idiot-proof, and I liked the results enough to pay for the Pro version. –  Matt Bishop Jul 16 '10 at 19:55
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The reason AutoPano Pro is that good is because it uses the algorithms behind AutoStitch, which has some very cool scientific publications about the stitching process. –  Davy Landman Jul 23 '10 at 6:56
    
Autopano has the best algorithms for stitching. –  decasteljau Aug 24 '10 at 18:35

PTGui (commercial) works fantastically well. It is available for Windows and Mac OX.

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+1 I'm also using this tool. It's quite easy to use and gives great results. –  Marc Jul 16 '10 at 15:11
    
PTGui pro is the best tool I ever tried, and I tried every tool :) –  AlberT Aug 24 '10 at 17:05

I used to use the combination of Hugin and Blend to join images. The results were so-so, though I suspect my inexperience at the time had something to do with it.

Nowadays, I use Photoshop's Photomerge feature, and it gets the job done, with good results.

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I've had great success with Microsoft ICE

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Yeah, most of the time the free ICE works great - it just lacks control for the cases where you need fine-tuning. –  Sam Jul 23 '10 at 6:10
    
The latest version of ICE simply gives up on me before attempting to open any photos stating that the photos may not be similar. It used to work well. –  Michael McCarty Jul 26 '10 at 0:47
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I've used this exactly once, but I have to say it worked well. Took 40 16-bit TIFF files and spat out a single, stitched 16-bit TIFF, with no hiccups along the way. –  Blair Holloway Jun 20 '11 at 13:51

I've had great results with Photoshop Elements. I personally found Hugin a bit over the top and fiddly for my needs.

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protected by mattdm Dec 29 '13 at 14:19

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