COOL: Max Lyons and the 1 gigapixel panorama|
(Friday, February 13, 2004 - 16:20 EST)
Dave meets Max Lyons, creator of the 1 Gigapixel digicam image.
We reported on this a while back, but today I got to meet Max Lyons, the guy who stitched the 1 gigapixel image of Bryce Canyon from almost 200 separate D60 digicam photos.
Max proved to be an interesting guy, who used his love of photography as an excuse to teach himself programming. He wanted to do things with images that commercial programs couldn't, so simply wrote the necessary code himself.
I've long used his simple "Thumber" program to generate little tables of thumbnail images on the site for my lowlight and flash-range tests, but Max's programming prowess extends far beyond that elementary level.
Pertinent to this article, Max wrote a slick front end for Helmut Dersch's PanoTools, called PTAssembler. PTAssembler takes a lot of the pain out of PanoTools' legendarily abstruse user interface, actually turning it into a reasonably tractable tool for creating large panoramas. Some months of playing with PTAssembler and ever-larger panoramas led Max into an addictive spiral that finally resulted in his 1-Gigapixel image.
At this year's PMA, Oce Graphics used Max's remarkable photo as a vehicle to demonstrate the extraordinary combination of output size and resolution that their LightJet printers are capable of. The result was the wall-filling poster shown above, with Max posing next to it. What was really amazing about this print was that you could get *right* up on it, squint hard, and *still* see detail. Tons of fun for anal-retentive resolution freaks like myself. (You'd have to be one yourself to understand.) If you are one of us though, you owe it to yourself to check out Max's little program, along with PanoTools. Fair warning though, this stuff is highly addictive!