How big do you make it?
This is a discussion on How big do you make it? within the Panoramas and 3D forums, part of the PHOTO GALLERIES category; Generally I make a quick test panorama using images that have been downsized to around 640 pixels on the longest side. This doesn't take up ...
Generally I make a quick test panorama using images that have been downsized to around 640 pixels on the longest side. This doesn't take up massive quantities of storage space, exports quickly from LightRoom, and stitches in no time. If I like the quality of the stitch and the finished image, I go ahead and do a full (maximum) size panorama. I use PGUI and in PTGUI one of the parameters is "set optimum size" with the choices being: for web (.5 mp), for print (4mp), and maximum.
Maximum is dependent on the size of your source images and the focal length of the images; the wider the lens the fewer the images. The fewer images needed to make the panorama, the smaller the finished pixel count. My current lens / camera combo for panoramas is my Canon 5D MarkII with a Canon 20mm f/2.8 lens. With my set-up it takes about 35 to 40 images to create a 360° panorama depending on the overlap.
My most recent panorama, of the Collegiale, took about 36 hours to stitch and is around 22'000 pixels x 11'000 pixels and 500 mb. Sometimes these mega-images will go over 1 GB, plus I usually have several working copies. A full-sized panorama, the copies and the source files can easily take from 5 to 10 GB of storage for a single image. his especially true if I'm doing an HDR panorama.
Here's what I'm thinking: the finished collegiale pano is not quite a spherical panorama, it's more like 360° x 160°. The size is 20'000 x 7500. This will print at 1.78 meters x .63 meters. Most images can be printed at 3x their size so this could easily print at 5 meters long. That is, the thing could be a billboard and probably not suffer much loss in image quality. For most stock photo agencies, they don't want anything bigger than about 8'000 pixels (most likely less). When I print a pano I size it to fit in a standard 100cm x 50cm frame, that is, about 76 cm x 36 cm plus boarder. In other words, when I generate a panorama at maximum size I have an image that is approximately 3 times as big as my (most likely) maximum size need.
So here's my question, why do we panoramists want to generate such big files and we do we take pride in saying this one was Y x Y. In the end, a 12'000, 18'000, or 24'000 pixel wide image still gets resized to 1024 for the web and 9'000 for a one meter print? I'm asking myself why make it bigger than my most likely maximum print when I can do it over if I really, really had a need for something even bigger ?
Fellow panoramists and interested photographers what are your thoughts on this ?
05-12-2010 04:35 AM
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To answer your last question, I think the first time I stitched a 20,000 pixel wide pano I said "woah!" Then I laughed at how big the file was. There was sense of success followed by frustration when it looked so tiny on the internet, knowing no one would know how much detail was actually in the shot. Saying the size of the original image helps to compensate for the loss of pixels. I suppose it's more therapeutic than a big fish contest for me.
Tamron 17-50mm VC
SB-600 + Gary Fong Lightsphere
Phottix Plato Wireless Remote
I dunno, for future generations maybe?
I was looking at 35 megagapixel aerial shot of 1935 SanFrancisco and apretiated that someone back then bothered to take this huge clunky large format box to the airplane .
I have recently been through the same thought processes, having just posted a 180 degree two row panorama. The full-size image was something like 24000 pixels wide and was a massive file.
So much so, that when I tried to make a print out of Lightroom, I ran out of memory and ended up with a wasted sheet of A2 paper for my efforts!
Since the largest print I can make at home is on A2+ paper, I think that sizing a panorama for say 10" on the short side at 300DPI is probably enough. This gives great image quality and a manageable file and print size. Moreover, it can be printed larger if I want.
Like Charles, I'm using a wide angle lens - in my case an 18mm lens on Leica M8, giving an effective FOV of a 24mm on full-frame. I have tried my 12mm lens,but I can't set it up properly on my Panosaurus as the lens is too short to position the nodal point over the pivot
I'm a relative newcomer to panoramic photography and I'm already finding out how addictive it is. I can recommend Hugin's Panorama tools software, which is open source and hence free to download and use. Being free doesn't mean that it lacks functionality or capability though.
Charles: I am very new to panoramas as you know from helping me with my newbie questions, but I know all about disk space questions. The good thing is, memory and big hard drives are getting cheaper all the time, so I don't worry about file sizes as much as I used to. Recently I've upgraded my Mac's disk to a 2TB Western Digital Caviar Black (mostly getting ready for Lightroom) and run 5 TB (3 WD Caviar Green 1TB + 1 - 2TB) in a Drobo for backup and storage. I picked up the Caviar Greens for less than $120 each which is less than half the price they were a year ago.
It is a bummer that panos look so tiny on the web. At least my photo hosting service (Flickr) has no limits to upload sizes for Pro accounts so I can always include links to the full size if someone really wants to see them. As far as finished print sizes, there's always custom framing One of the service bureaus I use offers a size of 30x40 which I'm dying to try, and after that I suppose it's bus wraps.
By the way, thanks for the tip on the Panosaurus, it just came last week. I haven't had a chance to really test it out, but I can tell Ptgui has an easier time of stitching and I can salvage more of the image with it.
CC Always welcome and appreciated.
The key to the panosaurus is to actually take the time to calibrate your lenses at the focal lengths that you will use them at. I've had my panosaurus for a long time but only calibrated my lenses recently. It makes a big difference if you use the actual nodal point.
I'm not running a server farm but I do have around 6TB of storage on my system and 2 2TB drives that I plug in to make backups. The big panos with PhotoShop layers can take more than 1GB each. Sometimes I have 3 or 4 versions saved, plus the source tiffs. I have some panos that take 20 or 30GB of drive space. I had to move from 1TB drives to 2 TB drives in order to keep a single year on a single drive !
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