Hugin – an excellent free program for creating panoramas

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Today I will tell you about a wonderful program – Hugin. With its help, you can easily build even the coolest and most complex panoramas.
Hugin – is the most popular program for building panoramas and in addition has a completely free license and its use is absolutely free.

The program finds EXIF ​​of your photos and automatically aligns them with respect to the focal length and angle of view of your lens, places them in the right order and seamlessly glues shadows, wires, fences, people and other objects of your panorama.

Finally, all the construction of a panorama, instead of a complex and dreary work, reduces to a game of finding 5 differences, and even just to the pressing of only three buttons.

Panorama collected from 56 pictures

I’m sure many of you have already tried to learn this software and abandoned it, because Hugin interface is not very intuitive. Today we will correct this situation.

How to shoot panoramas?

A few words about how to get good pictures for your future panorama. Here everything is simple:

  • Block exposure change – is the basic requirement.
    Switch your camera to manual mode and set the static parameters of the aperture, shutter speed and ISO. It is necessary that these parameters are the same on each photo from the panorama. The requirement is not mandatory, but highly desirable. Thus, you will save yourself from possible problems in the assembly and lighting in the final result.
  • Shoot one by one – from left to right and from top to bottom. It is not important for small panoramas, but when there are more than 10 pictures… You will find it easier to disassemble them later.
The result of an incorrectly taken panorama

Interface

So we downloaded and installed Hugin, let’s run it:

At once we will look into value and functions of each separate tab:

  • Assistant – This is the default view, there are three main buttons and a preview window of your panorama.
  • Preview – Here you can enable and disable the display of certain photos, as well as go to the photo menu for applying masks.
  • Layout – Here we can see all the links between the photos and quickly go to their creation and editing.
  • Projection – Here you can change the projection parameters of your panorama.
  • Move / Drag – This tab allows you to move photos and place them in the desired order.
  • Crop – Here we can select the end area that will be added to your panorama.

Alternative interface

In addition, Hugin also has an alternative interface, “Panorama editor“, which is called via the “View” menu bar, or if you switch to the advanced interface, but more on this later.

Alternative interface

Fast start

So, if you already have a properly captured panorama and if you are lucky, all your actions will be reduced to pressing just three buttons:

1. Upload pictures …

Click on “1. Load images…” Select our photos for the panorama, they will be loaded into the project.

Uploaded photos to the project

2. Align …

Click on “2. Align…” After a certain amount of time, Hugin will calculate the connections and connect your photos to each other. If you’re lucky…

Automatically arranged panorama

If this did not happen, and instead of the supposed panorama you see something incomprehensible, you better cancel and move to creation of panorama in semi-automatic mode.

If desired, you can go to the “Move / Drag” tab to align the horizon and “Crop” to select the end area of the panorama.

3. Create a panorama …

Click on “3. Create panorama…” and save our finished panorama.

Options for saving a panorama

Usually these three simple steps are enough, but what if we have a large enough and complicated panorama that does not want to assemble in fully automatic mode? – Let’s see!

The resulting panorama

Theory

First we need to understand how Hugin works.

Among your photos uploaded to the project, when you click “2. Align …“, Hugin uses a certain algorithm to look for certain control points between your photos and shift them according to them. Control points are nothing more than the same places in two photographs.

Two photos with control points between the two are considered to be related.
It turns out that each photo must have a link to one or more other photos in the project. Control points can also be set manually.

Linked by control points, the photos form a group, and behave as a separate photograph. Initially, the number of groups is equal to the number of unconnected photos, your task is to reduce the number of such groups to one.

Next step Hugin begins to build the panorama and the more control points will be on your photos – the better.

Building of panorama

So, let’s try to assemble the panorama in semi-automatic mode.

Projection

First of all, upload photos to the project and go to the Projection tab and adjust the field of view.

The field of view is a black window in which you see all your photos. It represents nothing more than the viewing angle of your panorama. It is measured in degrees and, as a rule it can’t be more than 360 ° in width and 180 ° in height..

That’s why the photos that approach the poles are so smoothly flattened.

You can change the field of view at any time from any mode by using the semicolons on the right and at the bottom of the Hugin interface.

Organization of photos

Go to the tab “Move / Drag“, and start moving the photos in the desired order.

The process of arranging images in the desired order

It’s worth noting that you do not need to try to get a pixel into a pixel when connecting photos. Your task is to combine the photos so that Hugin “understands” which photo with which has a link, for this it is enough that they simply touch each other.

You can check the links by switching to the “Layout” tab.

There are two modes of displacement:

  • Normal – you can move groups of photos by simply dragging it.
  • Normal, individual – in this mode, you can select individual photos and work directly with them.

If you need to rotate a photo, you can do it in the second mode by selecting the desired photo and pulling by the empty space away from it.

Assembly

After you have arranged your photos in the desired order, you can again try the automatic mode:

Switch to the “Preview” tab and click “2. Align…“, thereby initializing the automatic checkpoint search process.

Result

Thus, you can form one or more groups of related images.
The photos linked by control points in the first mode can only be moved by an all-encompassing array, where, as in the second, you can still move them separately.

  • If you have formed more than one group of images, the program will warn you about this:

Align them relative to each other and move on to the next item.

  • If the photos were connected incorrectly and formed an incomprehensible thing, cancel the automatic alignment and proceed to the insertion of control points manually.
  • In case if everything went ok, just go to the stage of creating a panorama

Creating Control Points Manually

So, after the last steps, we got several groups of images that were not connected. Now we will learn how to connect them.

Connections

Relationships between photos

Go to the Layout tab and here we see all the links between your photos.

The gray lines indicate the supposed connections – these are the same links that should exist, based on the location of photos on the Move / Drag tab, but do not yet have their own control points.

We need to solve them: we choose one such connection, after which you will have a window with two photos.

Now we need to find several identical places in the photos and put control points on them. 2-3 points will be enough for each pair of photos. Sometimes only one is enough.

Creating Points

The algorithm is simple:

Select the point on the left picture, select the point on the right picture. Click Add. You can use the Fine-tune function.
Add 2-3 points, close, go to the next connection.

The process of creating control points

After all the photos are linked by control points, go to the Assistant tab and press “2. Align …“.

As practice shows, it is not always necessary to handle absolutely all communications, sometimes it is enough to connect only some, the rest Hugin will complete itself.

Result

  • If everything went well, go to the stage of creating a panorama
  • If not, add additional control points and try to repeat the alignment.

Additional features and conveniences

On this list of Hugin functions doesn’t end, there are some other useful and convenient additions. I will tell you about some of them.

Ctrl key

Highlighting with the Ctrl key

When you press Ctrl, you can hover over the photo and instantly see its number and its contents. If you click on it, you will enter the editing mode of a particular photo.

Masks

Masking

You can use masks if you want to exclude or necessarily include some areas from your photos, for this go to the alternative interface, the “Masks” tab. Select the desired photo, click on “Add new mask“, then select the desired area, and select the mask type:

  • Exclude region
  • Include Region
  • Exclude region from stack
  • Include region from stack 
  • Exclude region from all images of this lens

Cropping photos

You can customize the cropping of your photos by going to the alternate interface, the “Masks” tab and selecting “Crop” in the lower window, you can apply these settings to several photos at once if you select them in advance in the top window.

Different types of panorama projections

On the “Projection” tab, you can select different types of panorama projections, for example you can choose something exotic that will make it look rather unusual.

Panorama Output Modes

  • Exposure corrected, low dynamic range
  • Exposure fused from stacks
  • Exposure fused from any arrangement

As practice shows, the first mode works better than the other two. Unfortunately it is not always accessible from the “Assistant” tab, but it can still be called through the alternative interface, on the “Stitcher” tab

Output Formats

  • TIFF
  • JPEG
  • PNG

The default is always TIFF, but it’s pretty “heavy”, so you can change it to JPEG.

Conclusion

We have just reviewed a professional tool for building panoramas and looked into its functions. Thus, with the help of this sequence of actions, you will have even the largest and most difficult panorama. Now you know how to do it right and you will not be afraid to shoot panoramas anymore. Thank you for your attention and share the results 🙂

The result of the last panorama from the screenshots

 

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