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LGM 2009: Group Photo

Finally! My first full spherical panorama in many months. Well, I shot one at the Hugin team dinner two nights earlier, but I have not touched the RAW files yet.

090509lgm01st468

There is more sweat in this image than it shows, and I had to start it again from scratch twice. I did not realize that my bracket was slightly uncalibrated, so a few details required care, attention and some retouching. Then I had the ambition to try doing it with Free software only. Not a good idea – after all the tools are a means, not a purpose. Really not a good idea if you are like me: impatient, perfectionist, stubborn.

The process in a nutshell: get the files from the memory card. Process the RAWs to TIFFs. Register their position on the sphere. Warp them. Edit a few masks. Retouch. Blend. Serve chilled.

For the RAW conversion, Anders just forwarded me the patch that introduces chromatic aberration to RAWstudio. But then color management is available in release 1.2 but disabled in trunk. The chances are good that I will use it next year. For now, Adobe did the job.

For registration and warping, Hugin is king, although I have lost touch. Using an automatic control point generator on picture full of people? bad idea. Especially when Hugin has such a good manual CP entry interface.

Because of the slightly unregistered input I had to do some serious tweaking and even more fiddling with copy&pasting. I tried using the GIMP but I could not get used to some behaviours that are in my opinion design mistakes: copy a small portion of the image. Paste it into another layer. It is automatically pasted at (0,0). Quite annoying if you are working on an 8000 pixels wide document and just copied a 50×50 pixels area at (6000,2000). Maybe there is a modifier key that I don’t know of. I reverted to Photoshop and in less than an hour fixed what had taken me more than a day and was still unfinished in GIMP.

Enblend did the blending trick, although I preferred to manually blend the two exposures in Photoshop.

Click on the image you will be beamed back in time, to that Saturday afternoon.

The high resolution picture could be printed 2’x3′ (60x90cm) in the same quality as seen at the ultra wide views exhibition during LGM. If there is enough demand, we’ll set something up, maybe as a fundraiser for LGM 2010?

The image is released under CC-BY-SA. If you want to make a coffe mug of it, or whatever else, feel free. Just give me credit. To embed it interactively on your website, the code is below:

<script>YL_key="acceptable";</script>
<script src="http://br.xenaura.com/xsspano/xss.js" 
type="text/javascript"></script>
<div style="width:600px;height:360px;float:left;overflow:hidden"
pano="RCMwOTA1MDlsZ20jMDkwNTA5bGdtMDEjMA==">
activate JavaScript to see a full screen interactive panorama
</div>