Sunday, July 18, 2010

Interior Panoramas

Recently I’ve been shooting some tight interior architectural images, and I’ve decided to test the limits of my equipment by pushing them to the extreme. What follows are some shots of a small bathroom prior to its renovation. The floor's dimensions from doorway to tub are approximately 5.5 feet deep by 5.0 feet wide. I've seen a lot of closets bigger than this bathroom.

The first image is the result of stitching in Photoshop CS3 three overlapping images shot on a full frame Canon 5D with a Canon 17mm tilt/shift lens, at f/11 in a portrait orientation. The camera was leveled on a tripod and one image was shot in the dead center position of the shift. The other two were shot at the extreme shift positions to the right and left, without moving the camera on the tripod head. I imported them into Lightroom 3, then batch-exported the three together into Photoshop CS3 for stitching. I then reimported the stitched image back into Lightroom 3 for final tonal correction and sharpening. Here’s the image.

It shows the best interior coverage I can achieve in such a small space with this lens, using this three image technique. All lines are straight and perfectly connected. The geometric convergence is the result of tilting the camera downward to get more floor into the image. The picture documents most of the bathroom, and is an acceptable record for a homeowner or contractor.

I then changed the lens on my 5D, replacing the 17mm tilt/shift with a Sigma 15mm diagonal fisheye. I mounted the camera on a Nodal Ninja panorama head and shot 6 overlapping shots, also at a portrait orientation and at f/11. Because the lens is a diagonal fisheye, I was able to capture almost 180 degrees from top to bottom in each frame. And the 6 overlapping images covered more than 180 degrees from right to left.

I stitched the 6 images in software by PTGui, which has the capability to bring together multiple images distorted by typical fisheye optics into a coherent single stitched image.

This is what one of the frames looks like that was shot with the 15mm diagonal fisheye.

Here’s the image stitched by PTGui before I cropped its edges.

And here’s the final image. I personally don’t mind the curved lines, since the geometric distortion is inevitable with such a wide panoramic sweep. As long as all the stitched frames smoothly connect, I find panoramas like this quite acceptable.

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