How I create panorama images

Hello commanders, today I was cleaning out my pm box and saw a pm I sent a while back to a user who asked how I go about making panorama images in Elite. I figured I'll share the information with everyone here as some may be interested. So here's the copy pasta of the pm

To stitch images together you'll need software that creates panoramas.

Here's the ones I know of:
Hugin (it's free and powerful so you can't go wrong there)
Autopano Giga (This one has lot's of fancy rendering techinques)
PT Gui (I use this, it has a similar interface to Hugin)
Adobe Photoshop (it has a panorama feature but it's not reliable and offers little control over the process)

Here's a tutorial on how to get images for a panorama, it's photography focused but the same technique is applied in video games. Guy in the video doesn't use a tripod which is fine for photography but for video games you really need to stay in one place and only rotate the camera.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xji5MKk-S4c

4k is actually enough to make a really good a quality pano, I play at 3840x1620 and you've seen the quality of them. If you want to go higher there are 2 ways about it. One, if you have a new-ish nvidia card you could enable DSR in the control panel which would allow you to scale your monitor's resolution. You mention 4k so I assume you have a 4k monitor and thus you could enable 8k with DSR. Option two is to use ED's own hi-res screenshot function which is Alt+F10. By default the multiplier is set to 4 of whatever resolution that you use in-game, though you can alter it here [C:\Users\(your user name)\AppData\Local\Frontier Developments\Elite Dangerous\Options\Graphics\Settings.xml]
Open Settings.xml with notepad (I recommend getting Notepad++ for editing any config files, it's a handy tool). Find the line "<HighResScreenCapScale>4</HighResScreenCapScale>" and change the number to whatever you like. Again I must stress the fact that 4k is already enough and multiplied by 4 you're looking at 16k images which will be about ~500mb in size each. Btw these hi-res images will be saved in your My Pictures folder under Frontier Developments. Another thing to consider with stitching 8k and above images is that you will need at least 8gigs of ram and preferably have these images on a SSD. Forget about stitching 8-16k+ on a HDD. Also, Alt+F10 only works in solo mode and you can't take a hi-res screenshot one right after the other or else you will get disconnected from the server (it takes a couple of seconds for the game to capture it and the time it takes increases with a higher multiplier number) So if you're thinking of taking this route, prepare to wait a while between each screenshot. Something else to consider is that if you're running any injectors such as SweetFX, ReShade or GemFX on your game, their alterations will be ignored by the hires-screenshot function. Hi-res screenshots really shine for individual, well framed, shots because the "crispness" and clarity of the image once they are down-sized for web.

My recommendation is to stick with 4k. I have done a couple of panoramas stitched from screenshots that were 20k each and it just isn't worth the hassle. This for example http://abload.de/img/cobracockpithcork.png, the original size of this panorama is 47996x20424 and trust me when I say that had I used 4k instead, there would practically be no difference. Like I said before it's only really useful for single shots.

If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask I'll help in any way that I can.

 
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This hasn't received any love so let me bump it for you.

Your shots in the Selfie Thread are absolutely amazing. I can't wait to have a go at this once I have a few hours to sit down and fiddle around in-game again this weekend!

I've got a basic 1080p monitor, though. Think that will affect much?
 
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This hasn't received any love so let me bump it for you.

Your shots in the Selfie Thread are absolutely amazing. I can't wait to have a go at this once I have a few hours to sit down and fiddle around in-game again this weekend!

I've got a basic 1080p monitor, though. Think that will affect much?

Screenshots in 1920x1080 should be fine.
 
Interesting. Thanks for sharing, I use GIMP, and there are a couple of plugins available for this; pandora, and stitch panorama to name two.

I'll have to find some time to give this a go.
 
I can't seem to figure Hugin out. It just horribly mangles my image.
Photoshop's photomerge does the same. Best I can manage it to stitch the two bottom images together almost flawlessly.
Am I blind? What am I doing wrong? Do these images even work?




p1.pngp2.png
p3.pngp4.png
 
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Make sure that you have at least 20% overlap between each image. The more overlap the better, I personally go with 30 for both horizontal and vertical. Attemting to create a pano inside a ring is tricky also because the asteroids aren't static so a lot of clonestamping will be involded. You can use the baground stars as control points but the asteroids won't stay the same from shot to shot.

- - - Updated - - -

Also are you using automatic stitching or creating your own control points? Because automatic stitching isn't without flaws from time to time

I would also capture one more shot with the planet centered per level.
 
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Yummy, something new to learn! Did a few standard screenshots near the WW I'm currently at and played around with Hugin. I cannot claim to have understood everything that was clicked/set/configured, but I kinda like what I ended up with, considering its my first go at it.
...I figured I'll share the information with everyone here as some may be interested...
Thanks ThirdNostril for explaining!
 
Many thanks! Will be downloading and firing it up. I actually ran across a nice nebula a week ago, and took about five shots, staying on the same plane, with the intent to do a panoramic. All I needed was some info on the tools. And then your post appears! REP!
 
Also are you using automatic stitching or creating your own control points? Because automatic stitching isn't without flaws from time to time
Hugin adds hundreds of (automatic) control points and finding/removing the incorrect ones seems to be a never ending job after a few images.

Can you please give me a few hints for manually setting the control points?
  • What amount of (manual) cp do you recommend per adjacent pair of images?
  • Is the assumption correct that more/clearer structures within the image means the less cp needed?
  • Do cp *at the edge* of one image help as much as cp well away from the border?
Thanks!
 
Hugin adds hundreds of (automatic) control points and finding/removing the incorrect ones seems to be a never ending job after a few images.

Can you please give me a few hints for manually setting the control points?
  • What amount of (manual) cp do you recommend per adjacent pair of images?
  • Is the assumption correct that more/clearer structures within the image means the less cp needed?
  • Do cp *at the edge* of one image help as much as cp well away from the border?
Thanks!
- a minimum of 4 control points between 2 images
- not really, so long as everything overlaps and remains static. Even the perceptually slow orbit of a planet can screw up your panorama.
- from experience both areas are important, at the edges your image is distorted through perspective so it's important to nail down those areas with control points.

if Hugin allows for manipulation of focal length before compiling the images into a panorama, then try different values. In PTGui the default for a wide angle lens is 24mm. If there are such settings in Hugin try wider values like 17mm. That can help with automatic stitching.
 
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