Here’s a post that is a bit different for this blog. I don’t typically post about photography, but in this case it’s more about image manipulation. Photography is one of my hobbies, and especially panoramic photography. Some of the image straightening techniques explored here can also be used to prepare textures for use in 3D, so it’s still relatively relevant to this blog.
I’ve been using a tool called Hugin (I believe it’s pronounced hyoo-gin) since 2007 when I shot one of my first panoramas; the USS Midway here in San Diego. Since capturing that shot, and being amazed at the power of Hugin’s toolchain (more on that later) I’ve used its basic features and the built in wizard to stitch the occasional set of photos. More recently I purchased a fisheye lens for my Micro Four Thirds camera and discovered a whole new set of features that Hugin has to offer.
Before moving on, it’s important to note that Hugin is free, open-source software built by a team of wonderful folks who have created quite possibly; the best panorama stitching and manipulation tool out there. In addition, almost everything I’ve learned about Hugin is documented in the built-in help or the tutorial page on Hugin’s site. Many of the demos and features I’m going to explore were inspired by the tutorials on the aforementioned page.
The Goal of These Videos
This post is a rather long one, and contains a lot of video. My goal is to get you to the point where you can download and install Hugin, stitch your first panorama (I’ve provided some images), and see a few of Hugin’s pixel-bending abilities when it’s used on fisheye photos. If after seeing how easy it can be to stitch photos in Hugin you don’t feel to go out and shoot a collection of photos and try it yourself, then I may have failed.
Overview and Stitching 3 Photos
This first video is an overview of the Hugin user interface, and an example of how to use the alignment and stitching wizard. We start off by stitching three photos of a city street corner, taken with my 20mm (40mm equivalent) lens and Hugin basically does everything for us. Once it’s done, I do my best to explain what Hugin actually did when it ran all of those command-line programs automatically for us.
Here are the source images for this three image stitch: East Village Panorama Images
De-Fishing an Image and Straightening a Pattern
The second video handles a less well known use of Hugin, and it involves loading a single image and distorting it. Hugin has an amazing model for handling lens distortions and can make a fisheye image straight again, or a series of images appear to have originated from a fisheye or ultra wide-angle lens. In addition, we will also look at straightening an image that appears to be straight, but is not.
De-Fishing an Image With Different Projections
Hugin can help you straighten and De-Fish images, but in doing so it also allows you to apply different projections to your images. While this feature is likely in existence for panorama mapping, it can create some very cool looking images if used correctly.
Here is the source image for this exercise (and a bonus image): Mural Fisheye
Here are some of the different projections from the last exercise, and the panorama of The Desert Bar in Arizona (created with Hugin).
I plan to create more Hugin tutorials, and I have some challenging ideas lined up. One of my ideas is based on this Hugin tutorial, and I’ve written a story about it on 500px. I’m looking forward to the response from this post, and if you have any feedback for me then please leave a comment and let me know.