Create photo panoramas in Linux

Panorama

Panoramic photographs provide fantastic views that show you what you would see if you stood at a spot and turned and looked in every direction. There are two problems though. One is that your camera or mobile phone may not have a panorama function built in, and the other is that even if it does, it may not be very high resolution. For these reasons it is sometimes preferable to create your own panoramas by stitching together several high resolution photos. But how do you do that in Linux? Here’s one way.

If your camera or phone has a built in panorama function, you should take one and then examine the photo dimensions afterwards. The horizontal resolution is irrelevant because the panorama is as wide as you want it, but what about the vertical resolution? Is this the maximum the camera can achieve? It probably isn’t.

Take a series of overlapping photos by snapping, swivelling at your hips a little, taking another shot and so on. It is easy to set up Google or Dropbox to automatically upload your photos and store them online. You can then download the images to your PC using a web browser and turn them into a panorama.

The software I used was Fotoxx running on Ubuntu. You can get this from the Software Center by searching for it and then clicking the Install button. The Fotoxx website is here if you want to get it directly. It might be a good idea because The Ubuntu Software Center version is 12.01.2 and the one on the website is 14.03.1. It still did a great job of stitching together a group of photos though.

Start Fotoxx, go to the Combine menu and select Panorama. You can then select several photos by Ctrl+clicking each one and then clicking Open. It is best to make the window as large as will fit on the screen to give you a better view.

Three images have been loaded here, but it can cope with more. They are in the wrong order and this needs to be sorted.

Fotoxx panoramas in Linux

Click and drag each photo and place it in the right order and overlap them where the image overlaps. Here you can see it is roughly right.

Fotoxx panoramas in Linux

Sometimes you take images on a slope without noticing, so if one isn’t straight, click and drag the bottom right corner to rotate it. You might need to move the image to the right temporarily to stop it accidentally being selected. After dragging them into roughly the right position and rotating them if necessary, click the Proceed button.

Here you can see that it has analysed the photos and joined them together.

Fotoxx panoramas in Linux

The little control panel is very useful for tweaking the final panorama. At the top is Image and three circles. This enables each of the three images to be selected. You can then use the colour and brightness controls to make all the images the same.

The Blend Width is very useful and if the join between two images is not quite perfect, you can blend one into the other. Try a value of something like 50 in the box and this will blend one image into the other over 50 pixels. It really smooths out bad joins. Click Done when you have finished and the panorama can be saved.


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