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Partial panoramas with semi-automatic stitching, using a tripod

John Strait
January 2006

This multi-step procedure can be used for multi-row, partial panorama (less than full circle) stitching.  Please be aware that this function was not specifically designed into The Panorama Factory V4. It is a pleasant surprise that it can be done at all and that it works so well.

Please note that this procedure requires V4.2 or newer.

This is a fairly lengthy process. It isn't too difficult if you have used a panoramic tripod head (e.g. Panosaurus) and have it properly set up (nodal point, etc).  If you do not own a panoramic tripod head, it is still a good idea to use your tripod to keep the camera orientation constant for all photos.  Multi-row stitching from handheld photographs is much more difficult and is outside the scope of this procedure.

I have personally tested this procedure only for 2 and 3 row panoramas.  It should generalize to 4 or more rows, but I have not tried this yet.

Note that these instructions work only for multi-row stitching with a tripod. Multi-row stitching of hand held panoramas requires a somewhat different procedure.  Please return to Multi-row stitching with The Panorama Factory V4 for references to other multi-row stitching procedures.

For best results with this procedure I recommend:

  1. Use a good panoramic tripod head such as the Panosaurus from Gregwired Digital Images.  If you do not own a panoramic tripod head, you should use an ordinary tripod to keep the camera orientation constant for all photos in each row.
  2. Set it up the panoramic tripod head as perfectly as possible. Nodal point accuracy is important.
  3. For most natural perspective, be sure to carefully level the tripod before you start.
  4. Shoot all rows without moving the tripod (very important).  If you move the tripod, even if only bumping one of the legs, this procedure may fail, in which case you'll need to use the instructions for hand held panoramas.
  5. It's probably best to use your camera in manual exposure mode so that all photos have the same exposure settings.

If you shoot your first row with tilt angle zero, the next row above or below will require an equal number of photos for adequate coverage. For additional rows, you may be able to reduce the number of photos, but I have not personally this procedure yet with more than 3 rows.

The multi-row stitching procedure consists of these major steps.  Each step is detailed in its own web page.

  1. Stitch the first row
  2. Stitch the remaining rows
  3. Rotate the three cropped images 90 degrees clockwise
  4. Stitch the rotated rows together
  5. Rotate the fully stitched image 90 degrees counter-clockwise
  6. Assign panoramic properties to the rotated image
  7. Crop the image
  8. Sharpen the image if desired
  9. Save or print the finished image

After reading these web pages, you may wish to print the instructions to use as you work through the procedure.  The following web page has the complete set of instructions in a printer-friendly format, with the illustrations omitted.

Instructions in printer-friendly format

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Revised: January 31, 2006

 1999-2006 Smoky City Design, LLC and John Strait