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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.


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 src="http://br.xenaura.com/xsspano/xss.js" 
<div style="width:600px;height:360px;float:left;overflow:hidden"
activate JavaScript to see a full screen interactive panorama

15 Responses

  1. there are at least five yuv’s in that picture. great stuff, as always!

  2. If you copy a part of a layer and paste it, if should become a floating sleection at the same position as the original. I’m not really sure what you were doing there.

    I’m pretty sure I’d be fed up with Photoshop in a minute of using it these days. It really boils down to being used to the workflows for ages.

  3. @habi: and one of them ducks :)

  4. @habi: six…

    @Jakub: I was doing exactly that: CTRL-C CTRL-V. GIMP-2.6.6. Windows XP (installer downloaded from here and Ubuntu 9.04 installed with apt-get.

    Have you actually tried using Photoshop? Copy & Pasting is basic behavior that has nothing to do with “being used to the workflows for ages” and if you don’t know the two tools you can’t compare.

    The GIMP has made a lot of progress in the past two years, but there is still plenty to go.

  5. Yuval, I respect what you do, but judging from the few paragraphs above, you have no idea what you’re talking about here.

    Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V has worked just fine for me in the past 9 years — http://dl.getdropbox.com/u/24178/test.ogv

    Maybe a bug in your Ubuntu XP.

  6. @yuv: ah yes, one was overshadowed by another beard right next to it.
    btw: have you ever given gimpshop a try? it is said to emulate photoshop as close as possible while being based on free software: http://www.gimpshop.com/

  7. @Jakub: I don’t feel much respect for any different opinion than yours in your comments.

    In contrast to you (who flatly refuse Photoshop), I am trying to make the GIMP work for me. It is side by side with Photoshop on my desktop. There are areas where I find GIMP’s functionality superior (e.g. the navigator that pops up when I move the mouse to the right bottom corner of the window; or the scaling dialog and functionality; or the MathMap plugin which is the killer app for me); and there are areas where I find Photoshop’s functionality superior (e.g. masking layers). I see potential for improvement in both of them, but I am more inclined to share my ideas with a Free project, in the selfish hope that it will improve and make my life easier.

    I find GIMP confusing when it puts a light gray surface and a dashed border around the picture when it is smaller than the window. In the case of the picture above, the sky and the gray surface looked the same; and the dashed border confused me because it looks too much like a selection. That’s usability 101. It can be improved. Has nothing to do with Photoshop vs. the GIMP. In many respect, the GIMP feels like Photoshop ten years ago, e.g. in selecting and manipulating the brushes that I use to mask between layers.

    @habi: I am not looking for a Photoshop clone – I have paid for the real thing. I am looking for something better. One of the key advantages of Free software is that the user has more influence. All I am trying to do is to get better functionality for my needs. As long as I get it from Photoshop, I’ll stick to Photoshop.

  8. ok, that makes it clear. and i agree with you that free and paid software have both their “right to exist” on the same desktop.

  9. @Yuv: Well, actually Jakub used to be hardcore Photoshop user :) And indeed I’ve never seen GIMP doing what you described. For past nine years as well. Ah, no — ten around July :) Blame Win build. Or, rather, post bug report to gimp-win :)

  10. And here you do it again, Yuv. The fact is you can customize the outside margin color in the prefs. And in your specific case for an image even by dragging a color onto the border if the contrast too low. And you generalize this into “basic usibality 101” crap. It’s all about being used to something for years.

    And I really do respect the work you do. I dig it. But I certainly don’t respect the way you shout to the world about what appears to be a bug in the windows build and instead of going with the right attitude of reporting it and getting it fixed, you go on generalizing about how GIMP needs to rethink blah blah, bad, blah blah Photoshop.

    Give a Canon person a Nikon camera and they will hardly say something like “Oh boy, Canon had it all wrong, things are really better when turned the other way”. And same thing for a Nikon person.

    And I don’t know where you got that I flat refuse to use Photoshop. If I needed something GIMP doesn’t provide that would justify the hefty pricetag I don’t have a problem of using a proprietary package.

  11. Scratch the DnD. It’s in view>padding color in 2.6

  12. @Jakob: I don’t know you and I frankly have no interest to deal with your preconceived notions about me. Maybe in the future I’ll find the time to put up screenshots of the issue I am experiencing in Ubuntu 9.04.

    I’ve been comfortable with Canons, Nikons, Minolta and Olympus for ages. They are like cars: you get into one, turn the key and go. No need to read the handbook. That’s “usability 101”. The differences between them are nuances that can be called preferences.

    Same for Photoshop. I never took a Photoshop class. Never bought or read a Photoshop book. It just worked intuitively for me. Can’t say the same for the GIMP (and I tried hard).

    I’ve asked a GIMP developer at LGM2009 if it is possible to have a preference to disable what I perceive as a time-wasting hit on the ENTER key to confirm operations such as renaming layers. The short answer was “no”. Oh, but there is a preference for the “outside margin color”. And I bet in your opinion the current default is meaningful?

    I’m currently traveling and have better things to do than argue with you. Let’s just agree to disagree and move on.

  13. Alright dudie, I’ll stop giving you tips on how to solve your problems. And we did meet in Montreal in 2007.

  14. Yuv, why you are struggling with GIMP@Win while having Ubuntu on both desktop and laptop and refusing to take advices is far beyond me.

  15. @prokoudine: having Ubuntu on both desktop and laptop does not mean that I only use Ubuntu. I don’t like to be locked in and I will use whatever operating system (and whatever tool) enables me to get things done effectively.

    I do not struggle with “GIMP @ Win” specifically. And even if you remove the “@ Win”, I do not struggle with GIMP. I obviously do struggle at articulating what I think could be improved.

    The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.George Bernard Shaw

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