Hugin + Enfuse: panoramas for everyone2 min read

First, the disclaimers:

  1. I am not a pro photographer
  2. I am not a panographer
  3. I can’t figure out complex software

So, I gave Hugin a try multiple times over the years, but never quite “got” it. The user interface never seemed intuitive to me. It has a steep learning curve for people like me, and I’m assuming it serves very well its target audience (panoramic photographers), which are a technical lot, as far as I know. It still doesn’t feel intuitive to this day; however, what changed is that, in Ubuntu 9.04, either Hugin’s 0.7 release improved tremendously since the last time I tried, or Ubuntu got their packaging right and it was all wrong before. Either way, now, it does wonders of automation.
So I took 15 pictures yesterday and decided to stitch them in Hugin, expecting to place control points manually and whatnot… but Hugin just loaded my images and started processing them automatically. Crunching numbers for maybe 5-10 minutes, and then giving me a fully stitched, working output. Wow!
That’s why we have computers: so I don’t have to stitch this mess manually. On a 63-image photo, the computer analyzed no less than 95162 keypoints. The results are not always “flawless”, but they are good enough for me, especially considering I just had to sit back and watch my CPU do the work.

Some things I learned by playing with the (slow) preview window:

  • Left-click = set the center
  • Right-click = set the horizon
  • Most likely you will end up with a weirdly rotated image.

The solution is to go in the “Images” tab, choose the center image and set it as the “reference image” (anchor?) for the position, and perhaps exposure. It will look like this:
After that, you can go back in the Preview window and hit the “Straighten” button (and perhaps “Update”).
Now, just go in the “Stitcher” tab (the last one), recalculate the “optimal size”, and you’re almost ready to render. Personally, I just set the blending to use enfuse (and enfuse only): it seems to give better results (High Dynamic Range!), process faster and not choke on some weird enblend errors. But then, I have no idea what I’m doing anyway (except that I like enfuse because I’ve been using it for doing HDR for a while).
Some results can be seen on my modest panorama gallery.