Posted on Apr 16, 2008

Panorama made with Autostitch

Ever try to manually stitch together a series of photos into a gorgeous panorama? Ever try to use some software to assist you in the process? It turns out that creating panoramas from stitched together images is a more difficult problem than one may realize. Camera orientation, shutter settings, exposures, light levels — all of these factors can really change from shot to shot, making the process difficult and desired results elusive.

Autostitch can take away all of those concerns. It’s a fully automated process for stitching together photos into panoramas. It can take any series of photos; even photos that aren’t part of the panorama. It then automatically positions and blends the photos together without any human intervention. It’s really quite amazing.

Autostitch is based on two years of research by M. Browne and D.G. Lowe; both researchers at the University of British Columbia. Thankfully, they’ve published the results of their work for the world to review and learn from (pdf). Their hard work is marvelous.

I’m personally really excited about it. When a friend of mine showed it to me recently, I found myself awestruck and dead to the world as my brain rushed to figure out how it works. I’ve been really interested in graphics, visualization, and pattern recognition since I started my new job. Seeing the Autostitch program at work had really inspired me.

Thankfully, I’ve been given the go ahead at Digisphere to work on my own adaption of their recognition techniques. I had been challenged by a colleague to propose how I’d solve the problem myself without looking up any solutions. I went with my first rough estimate and after reading the Browne and Lowe paper, it turns out I was pretty close. There are still a few things I don’t understand that they only make reference to (geometry recognition in photos), but I figure I can try and wing it by heading down to my local library. I’m really stoked by the problem and now its an official side-project at work. Awesome!

[tags]autostitch, panorama, photography, image recognition, pattern