Panoramic Images free (-hand)

I really like taking panoramic images whenever I can. They convey a much better impression of the situation I’ve experienced then a single image. At least for me. And because of the way they are made – stitched together from multiple images – they are most of the time very big. A lot of pixels to zoom into.

The process to take such a panoramic image is very straight forward:

  1. Take overlapping pictures of the scenery in multiple layers if possible. If necessary freehand.
  2. Make sure the pictures overlap enough but there’s not a lof of questionable movement in them (like a the same person appearing in multiple pictures…)
  3. Copy them to a PC.
  4. Run the free Microsoft Image Composite Editor.
  5. Pre-/Post process for color.

The tools used are all free. So my recommendation is the Microsoft Image Composite Editor. Which in itself was a Microsoft Research project.

Image Composite Editor (ICE) is an advanced panoramic image stitcher created by the Microsoft Research Computational Photography Group. Given a set of overlapping photographs of a scene shot from a single camera location, the app creates high-resolution panoramas that seamlessly combine original images. ICE can also create panoramas from a panning video, including stop-motion action overlaid on the background. Finished panoramas can be saved in a wide variety of image formats,

Image Composite Editor

Here’s how the stitching process of the Musashi-kosugi Park City towers night image looked like:

select images
choose projection method
crop the projection – maybe use “autocomplete”
export the final panoramic image
zoom in :-)

staying in Tokyo off-center (武蔵小杉)

Ever since I’ve first visited Tokyo in 2012 I fell in love with country, culture and the city. On average I was there 4 times a year to do business.

After leaving Rakuten I went back to Tokyo for a vacation together with my wife in October 2017. The idea was to show her what I was enthusiastically mumbling about all the time when I came back from Japan.

When staying in Tokyo I’ve stayed in different areas across the city. From very center to not-so-much-center. Given the great public transportation and taxi system in Tokyo it always was a great experience.

So after a couple of times I developed a preference for an area that was in walking distance to the Rakuten office, was well connected to the public transport system and offered all sorts of starting-points for daily life on a longer term. It ticked a lot of boxes.

You can follow my foot-steps from a route I had recorded in 2015 in preparation for a presentation I’ve held at the Rakuten Technology Conference on my pet project Miataru.

this is in real-time – from Hotel to Office

The areas name is Musashi-Kosugi (武蔵小杉). And it actually is in the city of Kawasaki in Kanagawa prefecture. Effectively just across the Tama river from Ota-city in Tokyo prefecture.

Like any great neighborhood everything is conveniently close and the service everywhere is spotless. The hotel of preference is fairly priced and extremely close to the two train stations. So you can get anywhere quick by train.

You can see the hotel location and the train tracks pretty well on this next map. The red portion shows the viewing direction of the night-picture below.

And like any great neighborhood there’s loads of current information available and lots of community activities around the year. In the case of Musashi-Kosugi you can have the more official website and the more up-to-date blog.

If you plan to visit Tokyo I can only recommend you take a look at more off center options of accomodation. I’ve always enjoyed being able to leave the center of buzz like Shibuya, Ropongi and get back into my bubble of quietness without compromising on everything else than party-and-entertainment options. Actual longer-term daily-life is much more enjoyable off-center – as you can imagine.

And for the end of this post: Let us enjoy a sunset with parts of the Musashi-Kosugi skyline:

Stitch Panoramic Views like a pro

I am using this for more several years now. Even though all my workflow happens on Macintosh computers these days I’ve kept this tool in my toolbox: Microsoft Image Composite Editor.

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 19.00.47

 

Now after along while with the 1.0 version Microsoft Research decided to release a new version of the free tool with even more features and a new streamlined user interface. This is so much better than before.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zhdXLH2GYPA[/youtube]

“Image Composite Editor (ICE) is an advanced panoramic image stitcher created by the Microsoft Research Computational Photography Group. Given a set of overlapping photographs of a scene shot from a single camera location, the app creates a high-resolution panorama that seamlessly combines the original images. ICE can also create a panorama from a panning video, including stop-motion action overlaid on the background. Finished panoramas can be shared with friends and viewed in 3D by uploading them to the Photosynth web site. Panoramas can also be saved in a wide variety of image formats, including JPEG, TIFF, and Photoshop’s PSD/PSB format, as well as the multiresolution tiled format used by HD View and Deep Zoom.”

Source 1: http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/ice/

Photosynth now mobile…

It’s been some months years since the once Microsoft Research Project got public and Microsoft started offering it’s great Photosynth service to the public.

I’ve been using the Microsoft panoramic and Photosynth tools for years now and I tend to say that they are the best tools one can get to create fast, easy and high-quality panoramic images.

There is photosynth.net to store all those panoramic pictures like this one from 2008:

The photosynth technology itself contains several other interesting technologies like SeaDragon which allows high quality image zooming on current internet connection speeds.

This awesome technology is as of now available on the iPhone (3GS and upwards) and it’s better than all the other panoramic tools I’ve used on a phone.

the process of taking the images

after the pictures are taken additional stitching is needed

after the stitching completed a fairly impressive panoramic images is the result

Source 1: Photosynth articles from the past
Source 2: Photosynth in Wikipedia
Source 3: Photosynth on iPhone App Store

create panoramic images with a free tool

There was the Digital Image Suite and several other tools like Hugin and Cool360 which I used over the last years to create panoramic images. Now there’s a new tool available in 32 and 64 bit (for really really huge images!) from Microsoft Research. It’s free at this point and if you’re on Windows it’s definitely worth the try.

msice

“Microsoft Image Composite Editor is an advanced panoramic image stitcher. You shoot a set of overlapping photographs of a scene from a single location, and Image Composite Editor creates a high-resolution panorama incorporating all your images at full resolution. Then save your stitched panorama in a wide variety of formats, from common formats like JPEG and TIFF to multi-resolution tiled formats like HD View and Silverlight Deep Zoom.”

Source: http://research.microsoft.com/ivm/ice.html

Forza Motorsport 2 arrived…

… it seems that there people at the Nürburgring do have a problem with tree decimation… the over one year old Project Gotham Racing 3 Nürburgring had significantly more trees…

This is the Forza Motorsport 2 Nürburgring:


(Forza Motorsport 2)

… remember when I had the exact same location pictured before in Project Gotham Racing 3:


(Project Gotham Racing 3)

How to build a panoramic tripod for less than 10 EURO

Stitching software and digital cameras make panoramic photos far easier than ever before. However, to get the best results, you need a special tripod head. These can cost hundreds of dollars, but making your own isn’t that hard. Even better, it’s dirt cheap.

Source: http://www.worth1000.com/tutorial.asp?sid=161123&print=1

live sign… and visiting the zoo…

Yes I am alive… I took some days off so here we are back in business. There will be some articles about the things I did the last days…and of course as usual: many pictures.

I start the series with the visit to the Zoo of Erfurt:







Of course I made some panoramic views:



this and the next one show the enclosure where the turtles and the cows live :-)




the monkeys live here…(no island)

Here are the three movies I made:

the first XBOX 360 game that exports user generated content…


Gamers rejoice! Today there were some really great updates in the XBOX 360 queue. The most interesting one is the update for Project Gotham Racing 3 – one of the launch titles of the 360. You finally can export the pictures you took in “Photo Mode” to your computer. Just select the picture and send it to your “Your Photos”-Webpage and grab them from there.


I straight went onto the track with the Sagaris to take some test pictures:



yes, HDR…



yes, panoramic view…


I just can say: WOW! That’s what I was looking for when I used the “Photo Mode” over half a year ago for the first time…Oh…I forgot to mention that they are also doing a competition…if you want to take part…here’s the info you need.


Source 1: http://projectgothamracing3.com/photos/PhotoGallery
Source 2: http://www.bizarreonline.net/forum/viewtopic.php?p=216755

Promise VTrak training in Dortmund

Here are some impressions of the training in Dortmund. Quite many information and hopefully a brand new e-class test setup in the next months.

Impressingly enough: the 1.8l 4 cylinder engine of this Toyota made 100km with about 25l… the display even showed 90,9l/100km from time to time…quite frightening.

Oh and some words to the Toyota itself: bad gearbox, even worse the ride. The clutch: nightmare. To be fair: everything was brand new: the car only had 57km on the clock. Oh: It’s no SIXT rental car…I never got any japanese plastic-bombers from them… THANK GOD!

And small panoramic view of the training room:

trip to erfurt…

Since my girlfriend has two turtles we wanted to check out the reptiles exhibition in Erfurt. Which we didn’t because, well lets call it disappointment in the first place.

To small. To dubious. Well… you get the idea. And 12 Euro for 1700 qm is quite a price…

Then we decided to take a walk in the old town of Erfurt. Where we found a new product…(sorry, german only joke)

Microsoft at CeBIT 06

Man, I was exhausted after one day – as usual. But after all it was a great day with many great talks. Even Promise listened to what I had to say… and that’s astonishing…

But since I had the chance to sneak behind the scenes at the Microsoft booth I want to present you a little bit of the pictures I just made…:



The presentation theater as everyone can see it…


That’s the theater from behind… a huge projector and a really big mirror render the HD projection perfect…



that’s hall 2 – which I traditionally do a panoramic view of…