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Author Topic: Looking for image stitching software without processing image content  (Read 2880 times)
Carol Haynes
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« on: March 20, 2012, 11:38:05 AM »

Anyone got any ideas for free image stitching software?

Specifically I need something that takes a series of overlapping screen captures from a website and stitches them into one image.

I know panorama software can do this but generally that sort of software blends colours and distorts images to make photo panoramas look correct.

What I need is something that takes raw images and works out the overlaps but doesn't process the images in any way other than line them up correctly.

Microsoft do a suitable program from their labs wehsite but it requires .Net 4 and I would prefer something light (ideally portable).

TIA.
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kunkel321
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« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2012, 12:04:07 PM »

Coincidentally, there is a stitcher at GAOTD today.
http://www.giveawayoftheday.com/
It might have the same color-blending problem you're describing above though...

Is there a way you can using the new 'Scrolling Capture' mode in ScreenShot Captor to achieve when you want in one capture?
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2012, 01:49:21 PM »

Is there a way you can using the new 'Scrolling Capture' mode in ScreenShot Captor to achieve when you want in one capture?

Unfortunately no because it isn't a scrolling window it a mouse drag map
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kunkel321
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« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2012, 01:56:07 PM »

No doubt you've tried Right-Clicking the map and choosing "Save Image As..."
You might actually be able to take the overlapping shots (if there aren't too many), crop away any window boarders, Make the canvas in SSC really big, then drag the different images around next to each other (manually) until the edges line up.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2012, 01:57:57 PM »

Its not actually for me - its for a friend who is doing geological research - there are lots of maps and that is precisely what she has been doing. I am just trying to find her a quicker way of doing and also less prone to error.
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vlastimil
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« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2012, 02:07:40 PM »

OK, this may not be a useful post, but...

If I understand the classic stitching applications correctly, they perform blending and distortion because they cannot map the pixels 1:1 (different perspective projections, different brightness and contrast on different photos). If you actually feed them "ideal" pictures where 1:1 mapping is possible, would they still distort the result? My naive guess would be that they won't.
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kunkel321
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2012, 02:57:26 PM »

..., they perform blending and distortion because they cannot map the pixels 1:1 (different perspective projections, different brightness and contrast on different photos). If you actually feed them "ideal" pictures where 1:1 mapping is possible, would they still distort the result? My naive guess would be that they won't.
  This is also what I was thinking...  Especially the Microsoft ICE one.  It lets you choose how flat the image should be.  I would imagine there could be problems though, if different sub-components don't have enough visual info (such as a near empty space in the ocean). 
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kunkel321
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2012, 03:20:53 PM »

Actually I was just playing around with some disjointed screenshots of my computer.  The fancypants one that I referenced above from GAOTD (which supposedly retails for $99!!!) doesn't even handle PNG files.  It just causes an error.  However ICE stitched everything together quite nicely.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2012, 03:27:54 PM »

Microsoft ICE is really very good for this job and and doesn't distort or blend images that don't need it.

Just a pity it also requires .Net 4 (which for some reason won't install on her computer - I suspect it is because it is a locked down enterprise edition of Windows 7 which now says it is not legal - it is but she has been working at home and Windows has not been able to validate its license with the university server for some months. I don't know if this is the reason it won't install but the machine is so locked down that short of wiping it and installing another version of Windows there isn't much we can do. In a few months she will be back 'in the office' and their tech support can sort it but for now she needs to work with the system 'as is'.)
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4wd
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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2012, 04:00:44 PM »

The only small and light program that comes to mind is AutoStitch, the forerunner of AutoPano and a couple of others.

But I just tried it and it distorts stitched screengrabs, I think this because the amount of overlap and the size of the individual grabs varied and the software also assumes that the individual images were made by a camera and therefore tries to compensate for lens distortion.

Otherwise, try hugin, it's not small and light, (can be run portable, IIRC, just download the 7zip version and extract), but you can edit the 'camera lens' attributes so as to remove most, (if not all), distortion plus it has a lot of other settings to change perspective.  (I'll have a play when I'm fully awake.)

Also, is this a specific map site ?

There are programs/scripts written for some map sites that automatically download the individual map 'tiles' and then create the bigger picture.

EDIT: I don't think hugin is going to fit your needs, far too fiddly to combine just a few grabs.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2012, 04:47:01 PM by 4wd » Logged

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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2012, 08:04:35 AM »

The map site is a fairly specialised Irish Geological mapping site.

The main thing is that scales, proportions and projections need to be maintained from source images to output.

I can't see in Hugin how to set up flat, non-warping images. Lots of projections to choose from but they all distort.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 08:30:38 AM by Carol Haynes » Logged

kfitting
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« Reply #11 on: March 21, 2012, 01:21:35 PM »

Have you looked through the hugin tutorials?  Not sure if this is what you need or not, but this is one I used for stitching flat images.

http://hugin.sourceforge.net/tutorials/scans/en.shtml
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2012, 02:30:29 PM »

Thanks - but that looks almost as complicated, and probably more error prone, as what she is doing now - using photoshop to line up all the map tiles.

I will have a play tomorrow and see how it works.
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4wd
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« Reply #13 on: March 21, 2012, 07:59:46 PM »

Have you looked through the hugin tutorials?  Not sure if this is what you need or not, but this is one I used for stitching flat images.

http://hugin.sourceforge.net/tutorials/scans/en.shtml

I saw that also, that's why I mentioned the far too fiddly bit in my last post......but it has given me an idea.

What if exiftool is used, (in a batch command), to add some bogus camera data to the screengrabs such as the reduced Focal Length, (start with the 10mm they mention in the hugin tutorial), and then pass those pictures to AutoStitch, (or even hugin) ?

That would make the first mind-numbing step of the hugin tutorial void if all the pictures already contain the necessary data.
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Carol Haynes
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« Reply #14 on: March 21, 2012, 08:02:05 PM »

Trouble is I am trying to find something that is easy for a technophobe to use - I think the hugin approach would be too much for her to cope with (and planting fake exif data would just make it one stage worse!).

Nice try though!
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4wd
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« Reply #15 on: March 21, 2012, 08:09:03 PM »

Trouble is I am trying to find something that is easy for a technophobe to use - I think the hugin approach would be too much for her to cope with (and planting fake exif data would just make it one stage worse!).

I might have a play with reduced focal lengths using AutoStitch and see what happens.

After all, one batch command and one program, (AutoStitch is very easy to use), to run should be easy enough.
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