Mural Walls at Bayon 1: Microsoft’s Image Composite Editor

On the second day at Angkor I started taking photographs of the walls at Bayon, it was actually quite hard work to shuffle along corridors holding the camera at a steady height, trying not to bump into anyone, and not to fall over either. The crowds were much less in June than they had been in March, when this sort of work would have been literally impossible, but still there were people about and waiting for them to pass on was tiring.

Then when I got back to the computer I tried my first stitching. It was a complete failure. Over the next couple of days I tried many different things, even trying to stitch them manually, but nothing worked. The sort of result I got with Hugin and PanoTools looked like this:

It is rather small and hard to see, so I have added in a red line which traces the bottom of the panel, which should be straight, but in fact is very wavy. Even after cropping there is hardly any way to use such a panorama as too much is distorted or lost.

I more or less gave up trying to fix the problem, thinking that I may be able to do something with it after I got back and could work on my desktop, which has a larger screen. But even then there was no improvement.

I had one more panorama software, a simple thing which hardly allows any tweaking of the photographs or anything, and in my experience had been very poor with landscapes. That was Microsoft’s Image Composite Editor, which is produced by Microsoft Research, and is a free download. I loaded the same photographs in ICE and here is the result:

As you can see the line is almost straight, even if it is not level. But I was able to fix that by rotating the photographs slightly until it was straight, and then cropping it. Here is a slide of what the panorama looks like now:

Now I’m sure you can see how much better that is. I managed to make the other panoramas also, and they can be seen on the Bayon Walls page of my photographic website, and the high-definition photographs can also be downloaded from there too.

As far as what I had set out to do, I had accomplished it, but nevertheless the presentation is not so good as it takes a lot of scrolling back and forth. I managed to do something about that too. Have a look at tomorrow’s post to find out what.

A third panorama software which I have just come across is Serif’s PanoramaPlus, which is also a free download (but after quite a bit of registration fuss). I haven’t had time to really try it out yet. I may write a post on it later if it proves to be useful. If you know of other tools please leave a comment below, so others can benefit from it.


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