Fun With Panoramic Exposure Fusion

February 25, 2012 by Terry

This week I nerded out pretty hard on making panoramas from exposure fused images. Exposure fusion is something you might want to try if you have a scene with great variation in brightness. By taking pictures at different exposures you can get images that show detail in the bright areas and others that show detail in the dark areas and then blend them together. Exposure fusion is a cousin of high dynamic range (HDR) imaging. However, instead of creating an HDR image and tone mapping it down to an LDR image, you get a relatively realistic looking LDR image with less hassle.

The city lights scene above makes a nice panorama but doesn’t show off exposure fusion particularly well. The image of Hangar One at dawn has a good variety of light and dark areas and is a much better subject for exposure fusion.

To make these images I used Hugin, which is an amazing panorama stitcher that also does a great job of exposure fusion. In Linux, just install hugin and autopano-sift-C, which is the default program for creating control points in Hugin. Sometimes it blows my mind how much awesomeness you can get from free software.

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