Yesterday, Simon; our Manager for New Operations Development inform me that there is a new panorama maker for Mac available for free! Thanks Simon!
Back home, at 8 pm; the late evening sun is setting over the Karori Valley. I noticed the nice cloud formation from our wide French door, a perfect "spread" to test out the free beta software!
I spent a pleasant 30 minutes on the deck with my Nikon D300 DSLR with a 20 years old Nikkor 35-70/3.5 zoom lens. The sunset was shot at ISO 200 at 35mm, f5.6 and 1/80 second, four shots; handheld and moving the camera from left to right.
According to Stoik Imaging, the free beta version of their PanoramaMaker for Mac is:
"a automatic panorama software that turns any group of overlapping photos into high quality panoramic image. The program combines very simple user interface, step by step work flow and powerful modern mathematical approach to image matching.
You can create panorama either automatically with just few clicks, or assemble and stitch pictures manually if automatic procedure fails to perfectly match images in complicated cases"
Impressive claim indeed! Lets see how it fare with the Photostitch feature in Adobe Photoshop CS4!
The four images are of RAW format from the D300 and after processing in Adobe Camera Raw they end up as a 16bit 70MB Tiff files.
With a total file size of 280MB it is understandable that it took Photoshop CS4 a lengthy 17 minutes to get the job done.
Then I try the same images in the newly install Stoik Panorama Maker and WAS I TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY!!!
It only took this free Beta software 20 SECONDS to stitch the four images together! And the stitch is perfect too!
It was so unbelievable that I try it again and sure enough, it is true!
Click on the image for an expanded view!
The PanoramaMaker software is quite straightforward, I took three screen grab of it's work flow windows below:
The first step of the PanoramaMaker work flow is "Add Images", for me; I hit "Open" and import the four images. The four thumbnails appeared in the "Picture Tray" almost instantly.
I especially like the "Lens Compensation" option Stoik provided in the second window! After you are satisfy with your options, just hit "Start Stitching!"; PRESTO! Your panorama will appear below the "Picture Tray" in less than a minute!
You might notice that the pano is curved, that was due to handholding the camera and the lens not rotating on it's axis, the software even do a crop for you!
The third and last screen is the "Export" screen, from here you can either print your pano or save it as a file. To do that you hit the "Export to graphic file" button. I feel that this button should be name as "Save". You have a choice to save your pano in different format.
So all you Mac fans out there, do give this free software a go; you will be pleasantly surprise!
Famous Last Words:
Stoik also made this claim:
"STOIK Panorama Maker can also assemble tiled panorama from several rows of photos even if they were taken with different focal length."
This I have to test out!
The Mac I used for this test was a 15.4" MacBook Pro with a 2.4GHz Intel Core 2 Duo and 4GB of RAM.