Go to:
Previous Item
Current News
Next Item

PhD student's creation makes a breeze of panoramas
(Monday, October 13, 2003 - 11:01 EDT)

We spotted news of some rather interesting research from the University of British Columbia this morning which promises to make the process of creating panoramas a whole lot simpler.

Anybody who's spent much time making panoramas knows that it can be a tricky process requiring you to carefully frame and overlap photos correctly for the best results, then spend time ordering the photos in your panorama software manually. Matthew Brown, a British PhD student at UBC, certainly noticed - and set to work on fixing the problem. As you'll see on his website, the results are rather impressive.

Brown built on research by UBC's Professor David Lowe to create Autostitch Panorama - software that can analyse a group of images, identify similarities between them, and then automatically order, arrange and stitch the images within several minutes. The software can handle 360-degree panoramas, and if we're understanding Matthew's website correctly, can even understand when a group of images contains image sets from several separate panoramas. If that's the case, you're presented with separate stitched panoramas, with unrelated images having been ignored altogether - a rather useful feature that would (for example) let a photographer return from a vacation and with a few mouse-clicks, process all their photos to let the software find and create multiple panoramas at once.

Brown is set to present a paper on the research behind AutoStitch Panorama in the next couple of days at the 10th International Conference on Computer Vision in Nice, France, October 13-16. As for the software itself, it isn't currently available - but we understand that it could be commercialised within the next couple of years...

Original Source Press Release:

UBC computer science student's research leads to new software that can build digital panoramas automatically

UBC computer science PhD candidate Matthew Brown, 25, has developed panorama software with a new object recognition feature that surpasses the capability of panorama-building software currently on the market.

Brown's AutoStitch Panorama software can automatically recognize and match images that are similar. The software then "stitches" the images together to create a seamless panoramic view of up to 360 degrees. All the user has to do is download their digital photos from their camera.

The software's ability to automatically recognize unordered image sets represents a major step forward in object recognition and computer vision, says Brown's supervisor Professor David Lowe, a leading researcher in the field.

With currently available Panorama software, photos have to be carefully taken in a fixed sequence, downloaded and then manually identified and aligned by the computer user. It's a process that takes time and some technical expertise.

With Autostitch Panorama, the matching process is fully automated - and quick. A standard PC takes about three minutes to match and register all images and then render the panorama. Brown, a native of Manchester, England, is hoping to improve on that time in the future.

Brown and Lowe built on Lowe's previous research to create the Autostitch software, which uses a probabilistic model to detect and verify similarities to match the images and then automatically stitch them into the panoramic view.

Brown is set to present a paper on the research, entitled Recognizing Panoramas, for the first time at the 10th International Conference on Computer Vision in Nice, France, October 13-16.

Sample images produced by AutoStitch Panorama software can be viewed at www.cs.ubc.ca/~mbrown/panorama/panorama.html.

As with the Panorama software currently on the market, the final composite image is a computer graphic that allows the user to explore the panorama by simply dragging the mouse around the image. Images can also be mapped to the surface of a sphere or cylinder to provide a 360-degree photograph. While no special camera is required, one restriction the researchers hope to overcome in the near future is to enable the software to match images of one scene taken from a multitude of locations.

Currently a photographer can't move around snapping photos from multiple locations and use this software. If the pair master that problem, they will have achieved something that 20 years of research in this area has yet to conquer.

For now, they're hoping an outside company will licence the software and develop it further for commercial use. Virtual tourism websites and online walkthroughs of interiors to sell real estate are just two practical applications where Panorama software is already in use.

After Brown returns from the Nice conference, he will be heading to Microsoft and a four-month internship with Rick Szeliski, a pioneer in this area of computer science research.

The UBC Department of Computer Science is a dynamic, youthful, and growing community renowned internationally for its excellence and depth of research. Recognized for teaching innovation, the Department places a conscious focus on interdisciplinary programs. There are approximately 900 undergraduates, 185 graduate students and 41 full time faculty.

Go to:
Previous Item
Current News
Next Item

Powered by Coranto