GR5: The Pictures

It’s been a while – but heck, developing this lot took me until some time in November. And then I was waiting until I’d had time to play with AutoPano… then I was busy writing up the diary – but that’s a whole other story. Today – at last – the pictures!

We came back with fewer than we expected. Since we were rather concerned that we’d have to spend days and days just deleting the duds, we deleted many of them in the camera, as we went. Which really paid off. I only came back with 1600 images and LB 900. They’ve been pruned down considerably and then pruned further for different audiences (with different levels of interest) using Picasa’s excellent “Albums” feature that lets you create virtual folders of the images and then upload them, so you don’t end up with multiple copies of each image on your machine. (Note that Picasa is an application – it runs on your machine where you can edit and organise your images – it’s not a web site. But, somewhat confusingly, there is a Picasa web site that it can upload your images to).

One hot tip if on a trip with others – get everyone to synch the clocks on their cameras so that if you want to put the images into one album, they all sit in the right order.

On that note, I’d avoid using any “Time Zone Offset” feature of a digital camera in future and instead just set it directly to local time. Having that feature set on LB’s camera effectively meant all her images were out of kilter with mine since they were time stamped in GMT with a local offset that seems to be ignored by image library software. Edit 25/02/2010: Apparently the timezone is not a standard EXIF field – no wonder it doesn’t work properly!

I further compounded the problem by somehow knocking the date in my camera back by a whole day a few days into the trip!

Luckily both Lightroom and Picasa can change the dates in image files using one image as a base-line and setting every other image relative to it.

Without Lightroom and Picasa it wouldn’t just have been a harder job to polish up the images – it wouldn’t have been possible to create a collection of images that invoke the memories quite as well as they do. They’re both excellent pieces of software.

Picasa is all most people need for photo editing and library. It’s also free. Whereas Lightroom isn’t free and does take some practice to get the full power from it (and what power!), but I discovered something that I simply wouldn’t be without if using Lightroom: The Missing FAQ by Victoria Bampton. So many questions, so well answered.

Once the images were developed…it was time to work on the panoramas…

In the past I’ve used the Autostitch (free) for making panoramas but both Duncan MacArthur and Antoine, who we met along the way, mentioned AutoPano Pro (not free!).

It’s incomparable. It makes creating panoramas incredibly easy. Though I would say that I disagree with the instructions and personally prefer the results I get from developing in Lightroom first before using AutoPano. As does Duncan – who am I to argue!

Of course I got more and more interested and ended up buying the Giga version to get AutoPano Tour and then the KRPano Viewer on top of that (of which – more below).

You’ll notice the images are geotagged; you can see where each one is taken as you view them. As we walked we used a Spot tracker to record our progress. We logged in once during the trip to download the tracks (since they are only saved on the Spot web site for 30 days). Luckily we downloaded them in all the formats available because the following recipe requires a gpx file, though I’m sure you can find converters for the other formats online.

So, here’s my recipe for geotagging a set of images with very little effort:

  • Get GeoSetter (it’s donation-ware, and well worth a donation in my opinion).
  • Navigate to the images in the main view.
  • Select them all (Ctrl+A).
  • Hit Ctrl+G to bring up the “Synchronise with GPS Data Files” dialog.
  • Select “Synchronise with a Directory containing Data Files” and navigate to the directory where you have the GPS track logs.
  • Select “Interpolate regarding Shoot Time with Last or Next Position” to have it take a good guess at where you were.
  • I also set the “Maximum Time Difference Between Take Dates and Track Points” to 10 hours: 36000 to get the best chance of a guessed position even when the image was taken well after I turned off the tracker. I could then edit it later (see below).
  • For “TimeZone” I left it at “Local Windows Settings” and that worked fine. But try it on a copy of some of the images and check to see if the timestamps are okay afterwards (Picasa shows them under the image).
  • Hit “OK” and then save all the changed files (they appear in red until saved, when they turn blue). Note that the JPEG images are not re-compressed – so there’s no loss of quality. Only the EXIF data is updated (I checked this myself with a binary file comparison tool – what can I say – I’m an IT consultant…).
  • I then selected a couple of days’ worth at a time in Picasa and went to “Tools” -> “GeoTag” -> “GeoTag With Google Earth” and scrolled through them all looking for any anomalies to edit.

The whole task took less than two hours, even though I was working it all out from scratch, for nearly a thousand images.

So, enough about how they were created, here are the images from the GR5 Honeymoon:

GR5 Honeymoon Super Fast Forward

And, the panoramas generated from AutoPano Tour (currently packaged as part of AutoPano Giga) and then turned into Flash presentations using KRPano Viewer:

GR5 Honeymoon Panorama Flash Presentations

Currently there are no instructions for AutoPano Tour (they’re writing them!) so in case it helps anyone – here are mine:

  • Make sure it’s Registered (My version keeps un-registering itself – which is annoying)
    • “Register” menu (top-right) will be visible if it’s not registered!
    • Browse to the license file and open it
  • Drag in each panorama and arrange in some sort of logical pattern
  • For each panorama, using the Panorama tab:
    • Set the JPEG quality to 9 (makes a reasonable difference in file size but seems to affect quality very little)
    • If you want better quality output, up the Partial Panorama Width, 5000 seems good
    • Pressing the “Calculate Optimal Size” button makes it the best resolution possible (at the expense of increasing the size of course!)
  • If you want, create hotspots in each image, using the Hotspot Editor (I think this works best if you have doors in the images to move between)
    • Select the image
    • Full screen button (in the Hotspot Editor)
    • Use the right and left arrow icon (far left) to move the editable area and place your hotspot
    • (Right click them and select Delete if you make a mistake)
    • Back on the main window, drag each hotspot to the image you wish to link to
    • Press Ctrl+A to select all so that you can see all the links and check it all flows properly
  • Adjust each image’s Field Of View with the 3D Editor
    • Full screen button (in the 3D Editor)
    • Get the FOV as you want it by clicking and dragging with the mouse and using the mouse-wheel to zoom
    • Right-click -> set as start position
  • Project Properties tab
    • You probably don’t embed all files (it makes a monolithic file to download instead of loading sections on demand)
    • Tick Embed XML
    • Select simpleWithFullScreen.html
    • Select the starting panorama
    • Set the rest of the settings as you like!
  • Export…
  • Upload somewhere!

The friendly dialog box on my site that appears before the panoramas load I wrote myself – the code is easily whipped from my site if you want it! (Though you may have a fun time of it if you’re not fairly familiar with JavaScript/JQuery…).

5 Replies to “GR5: The Pictures”

  1. Hugs back Peewiglet!

    We’ve been back quite some time in a sense – but in another sense I still don’t quite feel plugged back into “normal life”.

    Which can only be a good thing…

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