The View from Landmark

Trends and issues in personal computing from Bud Stolker, a long-time PC consultant. The View from Landmark features tips and techniques to make time spent with your computer more productive and rewarding, commentary on new personal computer policies and trends, plain-English explanations of new hardware, software, and network designs and their relevance to you, and answers to common questions. There may be personal material interspersed if Bud believes it is of general interest.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Free panorama software

I've been looking for years for a program that will take a series of linear photos and blend them into a panoramic image without warping the ends down into a horseshoe shape -- quite a trick.

I found Panowarp last year -- an interesting page. Panowarp does what I need it to do, but you have to be a rocket scientist to run it.

Then this week I found Panorama Factory the day the new version was released. (Check out the slide show.) Its older free version probably works all right, but the paid version is just what I need. Trouble is, I don't want to spend sixty bucks for it.

Today, while waiting for a haircut, I dug down through the pile of magazines -- Vogue, Stylist, Haircut, Fashion, Beauty, Brides, etc. and finally extracted a copy of Digital Photography (can't find its Web site). The feature article mentioned Autostitch in passing. The program is free with no strings attached, and it's awesome! Just feed it pictures and it sucks them up and spits out a perfect job with a flat horizon and no stitch marks in the sky or on the ground. Landmark panoramaSo I'm playing with it. Its default output is a little light on content, but I fiddled with the controls and came up with a 50 Mb. JPG that was beautiful -- much better than my wobbly, ghosted last effort. The settings are extensive and just need a little tweaking for the right output size.

So . . . that's all. Get yourself a copy of Autostitch and try it! This small panorama lacks detail, but has a perfect horizon. Once I get the hang of the settings, I'll have the Web site banner head generate randomly selected panoramas. (It will be similar to the banner head at