This is a gigapixel image of my garage. Or as Ali calls it, my "Man Cave". I love the garage. All to myself, no girls, no TV, no stress. Just lots of toys, tools and things to fix and tinker with.
This is my first gigapixel panoramic. I have been making panoramics since 2007, so I decided it was time to try making a gigapan.
I know that moving objects and changing light can cause big problems, so I deliberately chose a setting with constant light and no moving objects. Also the garage is very messy and detailed. I hoped this would result in good control points and few images that needed manual placement.
I took the images on a Canon EOS 7D, with a canon 50mm f1.8 lens, and a Nodal Ninja
. I did some planning, with some help from the calculator found here: http://photos.yves.over-blog.com/ (thanks to the author, this is a great tool). I ended up taking 4 images at 85°, 18 at 75°, 18 at 60°, 36 at 45°, 36 at 30°, 36 at 15° and 36 at 0°. Then the same in the - values. 332 images. I know I could have taken a few less, but keeping track of the numbers would have been a nightmare. The highest increment step plate on the Nodal Ninja
is 24, so I had to use the one without steps and do the angles manually. I blacked out all the intermediate angles with a black marker, so that it was easier to keep track.
I realised that getting the depth of field was going to be challenging in such a small space. I did some research on the lens and found that apertures smaller than f16 were not recommended. This would not have given me nearly enough depth. So I pushed it down to f20. With a medium focus this worked out well.
Exposure was also a challenge, with the large strip lights. On smaller panoramics, I would shoot 3 exposures, but that would have been too much. So exposure was a compromise. f20, 2 seconds, ISO 100. Also, I would normally shoot RAW. but 332 images would have blown my card space and probably made the stitching way too heavy.
I wrote a plan of the shot sequences down on paper and ticked it off as I went. I have managed to miss images on a 16 image panoramic, so I knew it would be easy to make that mistake with 332 images. The sequence took around 40 minutes to take. There is not much room in the garage, so I had to squeeze past the tripod and the table on each rotation, being really careful not to move anything.
Once all the shots were done, I lifted the tripod back towards the door so that I could shoot the nadir. I used 8 shots to do this, ensuring there was loads of overlap between each one.
I stitched the panoramic with PT GUI 9.1.6. I used the new "align to grid" tool. This worked amazingly well. Aligning the images resulted in good control points in nearly all the images. There were problems around the lights, and in the out of focus areas. Particularly the roof box. I spent an hour or so, adding and cleaning up control points. The result was "very good" when "optimizing". Adding the nadir images was problematic. But ended up working well once I followed the troubleshooting section at the bottom of this page: http://www.ptgui.com/examples/vptutorial.html Everything lined up perfectly after this.
I rendered out a low resolution panoramic to make sure there were no problems. Amazingly I couldn't find any!
So I went for a full render at 77728 x 38864. After 10 hours it was only 10% done, and my swap drive (spinning) sounded like it was going to explode. So I cancelled that and took it to work, were we have SSD's for swapping. PT GUI pulled 22 GB ram in 20 seconds! then it chunked away for 3 hours. It used around 75 GB of swap space, and finally came up with the 3.02 gigapixel image. I downsized in PS to 2.14 so that it would upload to 360cities.
Overall, I'm really happy with the results. The new version of PT GUI made life so much easier. I'm sure I have spent 3 times longer on a 16 image pano with older versions.
I guess the next step is to try this outside, in a more picturesque setting, but with all the challenges that come with it. Or maybe I just need to put a motorised panohead on my birthday list.....