The Manager Module – use Create | Panorama to turn a group of photos into a panorama.
The source pictures must have been taken with a certain amount of overlap, so that they can be joined properly. In this function, you prepare your source pictures and configure settings using a wizard, and then the program handles the rest automatically. In the first step, you choose the pictures from which the panorama will be assembled. In the next steps, you configure (if needed) various settings to ensure that the panorama is assembled correctly.
Sorting the Pictures
After the pictures are loaded, they are analyzed, and the program tries to guess the panorama type and the order of the pictures. In this step, you can either accept the program’s guess or select a different panorama type or a different order for the source pictures. Use the buttons for these changes; to re-order pictures, you can also use drag-and-drop. When you are dragging a picture, its outline is displayed, and a vertical line shows where its new position will be if you drop it.
At the end of this step, the actual joining of the pictures into a panorama takes place. However, you must first enter the focal length of the lens that was used to take the pictures. The program also guesses this value automatically, but here again you can set it manually. This is recommended for experienced users only. Pictures from digital cameras generally have focal length information stored in their EXIF data. However, this is usually the relation between the true focal length and the size of the camera’s sensor. To compose a panorama, meanwhile, you need to know the focal length equivalent for 35 mm film. To get this equivalent focal length, you multiply the actual focal length by a certain factor, which is the ratio of the diagonal of a 35mm film field to the diagonal of the sensor. Click Determine to open the Determine Focal Length window. In this window, you enter either the multiplication factor or the sensor size of the camera with which the pictures were taken. (The sensor size should be mentioned in the camera’s manual.) Once you click OK, the equivalent focal length is determined automatically and meanwhile the multiplication factor is also saved, so that for all future pictures from the same camera, the equivalent focal length is determined automatically. If the picture’s EXIF data does not include focal length information, then the Determine button is grayed out and the focal length equivalent must be entered directly.
To start the actual assembling of the panorama, click Join. Once the panorama has been assembled, the Next button becomes active, enabling you to continue to the next step of the wizard.
In this step, you can manually correct the automatically-determined joining points between source pictures. During automatic joining, the program finds, for each pair of neighboring pictures, points contained in both of those pictures. Then it uses these pairs of points to calculate any eventual shifting and rotation of the pictures against each other. If any of the joins is less than ideal, then click the red framed area enclosing that join.
This displays a window showing the pair of photos that meet in the given join. Each of the shared points that define the join is shown for each of the two pictures. The points are color-coded by pair. You can use the mouse to reposition these points, or enter new points by clicking in the places where you want them. (The program tries to automatically find the position of the paired point in the other picture.)
You can erase a point by clicking the Erase Point button or pressing [Del]. Click Delete All Points to erase all shared points. For correct joining, you need at least two points; the maximum you can enter is 12 shared points. To make your joins as precise as possible, use as many points as you can, and distribute them evenly throughout the join area. Also, emphasize places with high contrast (objects’ corners, etc.). If the Optimize point position option is active, then it is enough to enter the position of a shared point only approximately; the program then seeks out an optimal position for it.
A horizon line is also shown on the panorama. This line sets the panorama’s virtual horizon. If your panorama is forming an unpleasant “arc,” move this line up or down to solve the problem. To rotate the horizon line, and thus the panorama as a whole, use the mark at the right edge.
Because the source pictures are usually variously shifted against each other, the final panorama generally needs cropping. In this step, you can enter the cropping borders, although the program tries to guess a suitable crop automatically. The program’s guess is the crop displayed when you enter this step.
After you click Next in the cropping step, the panorama is assembled at full size and then the last step in the wizard is displayed. In this step, you can Save… the panorama to a file, or use Open in Editorto open it in the Editor, where you can finalize it.