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Photograph stitching is a new method of digital editing that allows artists to combine several different photographs to create one seamless picture. Since images with different or overlapping fields of view can be connected together, image stitching can produce high resolution panoramas of beautiful sceneries and can even be used to recreate a three hundred sixty degree environment for dome exhibits. Creating panoramas with picture stitching typically occurs in the three separate stages of image registration, image calibration and then picture blending.

Image Registration

The art of image stitching is a lot like fitting a jigsaw puzzle of images together because the goal is to make the end product look seamless, it is necessary to perform image registration. Image registration is focused on matching the features in the different photographs or directly aligning a set of images. Performing this first step reduces the number of irregularities between the image pixels being overlapped. There are different ways to make image registration easier such as using a base panorama, also called a mock model, or geometric registration.

Image Calibration

In many cases, the pictures that are being stitched together have slight differences because of the lens model used to capture the image. The minute differences in all the pictures can still have a noticeable effect once all of the pictures have been stitched together and thus, image calibration becomes a necessary step in the process. Picture calibration corrects any optical blemishes in the photograph so that each separate Picture meshes with each other perfectly.

Image Blending

The last stage of the picture stitching process is picture blending. This step allows the artist to make any necessary adjustments that were brought up in the calibration stage of the process as well as even out the exposure for the entire panorama. Some steps are also taken to minimize any visibility of the cuts and seams at which the different photographs were joined together.

Projections of Image Stitching

Stitched pictures can be arranged one of three different kinds of map projections depending on the preference of the artist or the request of a client. The three projections are known as the Rectilinear Projection, simply explained as viewing the image on a 2D plane, the Cylindrical projection, where in the image is on a plane with a three hundred sixty degree horizontal view but a limited vertical view, and the Spherical Projection, where the picture is meant to be viewed from within a sphere.

Although there is a lot of effort that goes into picture stitching and there are often challenges that are posed to the artist due to errors in the initial photo capturing, photograph stitching has still produced some of the most beautiful and sought after panoramas.

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