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Partial hand held panoramas with the horizon line, using manual stitching

John Strait
January 2007

This multi-step procedure can be used for two-row, partial panorama (less than full circle) stitching of hand held photos when the horizon line is visible in both rows of the panorama.  Actually, you can use any horizontal line that is at eye level.  The horizon line is a convenient choice, especially for landscapes.  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.

Thanks to Stephen Wateridge for giving permission to use his photos in this tutorial.  His hand held panoramic photo of the central dome of the Reichstag lends itself well to this technique.  The hand held method with vertical lines cannot be used because there are few truly vertical lines in this scene. (The "vertical" lines between the panes of glass are curved inward.).  However, there is a horizontal line that is approximately at eye level that can be used as a substitute for the horizon line.  Therefore this stitching procedure is the one that should be used for photos like these.

This is a fairly lengthy process. As with all hand held stitching, it requires a certain amount of patience and attention to detail.

I have personally tested this procedure for 2 row panoramas.  Because the horizon line is used as the reference line, this procedure does not generalize to additional 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 row
  3. Rotate the 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 13, 2007

Text  2007 Smoky City Design, LLC and John Strait
Photos 2006 Stephen Wateridge, used with permission