I’ve enjoyed making some sort of panorama things from my photos for years now. I’ve never quite liked making them with seamless stitching, as is most commonly done. I prefer them to look a bit rough, to be obvious that they are what they are – a bunch of different photos of the scene, stuck together to make something more. The term Panography seems good to me.
There’s plenty of good software for making ‘real’ panoramas, that will try to hide the joins perfectly. Most of it works to a limited extent, and usually needs the source images to be taken pretty carefully to make them join. The first ones I made were built in The GIMP, which was slow and hard work.
On the Mac, I’ve been using DoubleTake until now. It did a decent job. It often got the joins wrong, but the images can be dragged to where you want them, and you can turn off its attempts at merging the images, giving a rougher look, with the edges of each photo visible. Recently, though, DoubleTake seems to be having trouble with some of the larger panographs I’m trying to do. With around 25 images, it can take a while to move them all to the right places, and it’s much harder when the app seems to be struggling.
So I went looking for alternatives, and happened on PanoEdit. It isn’t expensive, though it looks so in the Mac App Store, sitting next to 69p apps. There’s a demo version on their site you can try out first, to make sure it does what you want before you spend money on it. What it does seem to do, though, for the things I’ve thrown at it so far, is work. It’s quite surprisingly lacking in features, with no option for telling it where an image goes if it doesn’t work it out for itself, but it seems to do a great job of working everything out for itself.
This panograph, for example, involved dragging the source images into PanoEdit from Aperture, clicking a button, and waiting a few seconds:
Everything else was handled automatically. There was one image it didn’t place, and I’d like to be able to tell it where to put that image, but the result is very good, and amazingly easy. It’s a bit more neatly stitched than I usually like, but I’m happy with it, and the result from PanoEdit could always become a new starting point for doing more in another app – overlaying some more zoomed in detail shots, perhaps.
More impressive, though, is the result of using PanoEdit with shots from Hipstamatic. I’ve tried this before and never had good results. PanoEdit, however, didn’t seem to have any trouble at all joining this lot up: