Panoramic photos


Joining digital pictures can be done quite nicely in an application like MS Word. If two or more pictures represent side-by-side images taken from the same spot over a short interval and with the same camera settings, there is a good chance that you will be able to join them in a seamless fashion if the photos overlap each other slightly. You don’t have to ensure that the camera remains perfectly horizontal, but it is helpful if you can come close to achieving that. Digital cameras work quite well for this purpose because you can see quality results of each frame shortly after the pictures are taken, and you avoid the steps required to get a set of images scanned from photographic prints.

Some corrections may be needed to ensure that the color balance, brightness, and contrast match well at the joining lines. Some cropping may be needed to trim away portions of some of the frames that extend above or below the extremities of the other frames. If you don’t position the camera on a fixed, flat, horizontal surface, you may need to do a “free rotate” of a few degrees to make the picture content match in the joining lines. Most image applications by Adobe provide a free rotate feature.

It may take some reasoned judgment on the part of the user to determine how big the finished panoramic picture will be and how many pixels should be retained in the individual frames that will be joined. You should have more dots per inch in the individual frames than in the final product in order to preserve picture quality.

MS Word is suggested as a good program to use for joining the frames. You can position each frame accurately and the program retains most of the picture quality. It has a feature that allows you to choose which overlapped frame is in the foreground at each joint. There is a 22-inch limit on page width in the landscape mode. For other reasons, you would probably want to limit the width to about 13 inches – the height can be whatever is convenient, perhaps around 4 inches. Four inches is suggested as a reasonable height for viewing on a screen since you only have to scroll the picture sideways. If 4 inches is a nominal height, then a width of 10 to 13 inches may serve your purposes well.

Let’s jump ahead, for the moment, to the point where you have made seamless joints of the frames in a DOC file set up for more than 13 inches wide. The first thing you need to do is to make a digital image file of the unrefined panoramic picture showing in MS Word. For most users, the best option available to them may be to use the “zoom” feature inherent in the “Desktop|Settings|Screen area” setting. Depending on your computer, you should be able to get to a screen area of at least 1280 X 1024 pixels. The maximum width of an image that can be displayed on the screen will be 13.3 inches.

By temporarily re-setting your screen area to this value you can perform a screen capture and obtain a digital file on the clipboard, which will provide up a 13-inch finished photo size. A screen capture “Copies” the entire screen image on a virtual “clipboard” by striking “Alt” and “Print Screen” at the same time. With the screen-captured image on the clipboard, “Paste” it into MS Word. At this point, the image in MS Paint will be 96 dots per inch, presumably the same size and resolution you will choose for the finished picture, but it will have extraneous picture elements that can be cropped away. The extraneous elements come from the fact that the picture doesn’t completely fill the screen, and there will be some toolbar showing, particularly at top and bottom. Don’t worry about the toolbar present in the MS Paint application, as they are not part of the image.

You can do all or part of the cropping in MS Paint, which presents a temporary image in BMP format. To move the image to another application for conversion to JPG format, you must save the image in some format, and that may as well be BMP. The image conversion program will then be used to make any further quality adjustments to the picture and to convert it to the JPG image format that uses a compressed file format and make the file smaller with little loss of picture quality if a good program and a high enough quality-factor choice is used when converting to JPG.

Now to address the issues involved in making the images join and to ensure that they will blend well with the adjoining frame. First, the user should examine each of the frame images they intend to join end-to-end. Verify that there is some overlap between each picture to be joined. Note if there are dissimilarities between brightness, contrast and color balance of each frame. Choose a frame image size and dots per inch resolution that fits the requirements for the finished product. It is recommended that the dots per inch be somewhat above 100, perhaps 150. It is recommended that the frames not be cropped, and that the frame height be set just slightly greater than the height of the finished product. It is recommended that these frame images by in JPG format. These are issues that should be worked over carefully to make the next steps go smoothly.

Open MS Word. Go to File|Page setup|Paper size. There you will select paper size and orientation. Since you are dealing with a wide page layout, choose “Landscape” for paper orientation. Note that in paper size you have a few standard size selections and a custom selection. Pick a size that will give you at least a 14-inch width. Then go to the tab that says “Margins.” Here it isn’t very critical what you pick for top and bottom margins, and an inch should be fine. Next, select the left and right margins to give at a clear width space of at least a half-inch more than the planned finished size of the panoramic picture.

Close out the Page Setup dialog box. Note that there is a blinking cursor at the “home” position, which has been determined by the choice of top and left margins. This home position may as well be the point used as an “anchor” point from which each of the images will be positioned. Decide on the method of importing the images into Word. You can “Paste” the image or you can “Insert” it. If you paste it, don’t introduce a frame that will prescribe the size or position of the imported image. If you insert it, click on “Insert” in the menu bar, and select Picture|From File in the “Insert Picture” dialog box. Then use the browse feature to locate a frame image, highlight it and click on the “Insert” button.

In either case, you should have imported a frame image at 100% size, and positioned with its upper-left corner at the home position. The frame you import first shoud be the one at the far right side of the panoramic picture. The reason is that each time you mport a new image it will go to the home position, and frames may completely overlay other frames, making things difficult. Next, position the imported far right frame as follows: click on “Format” in

he menu bar, then click on “Picture” on the drop-down menu (note that unless you have imported a picture, Word will not provide “Picture” as an option in the menu).

This will present a “Format Picture” dialog box which is defaulted to sow the “Layout” tab. Select “In front of text” as a “Wrapping style.” Click on the “Advanced” button to open the “Advanced Layout” dialog box which defaults to the “Picture position” tab, which is the right place to be for the next set of manipulations. On the picture position screen, note that there are the “Horizontal” and “Vertical“ panels. In the Horizontal panel, “Absolute position” will have a dot in the “radio” button to its left, and two data slots to its right. The first slot will show the value of the left margin in inches, and “Columnn” will show in the right slot which is preceded by the words “to the left of.” In the “Vertical” panel, “Absolute position” will have a dot in the “Radio” button to its left, and two data slots to its right. The first slot will show the value of the top margin in inches, and “Paragraph” will show in the right slot which is preceded by the word “below.”

Note that the home position (for text) can be thought of in terms of setting the left boundary for paragraphs, and setting the top boundary for the first line of text. Vertical positions below the home position are determined by the number of line feeds that took you to this lower position.

This may have relevance when you are inserting images into Word where you want to introduce photo captions. Note that the paragraph symbol ¶, in digital word compilation represents a line feed and a carriage return (one line lower, and begin at the left edge of the same column). This digression may be helpful in recognizing why Word uses “Column” to refer to the horizontal reference line, and why they use “Paragraph” to refer to the vertical reference line in relation to positioning pictures.

The last paragraph is an introduction to a concept of positioning which has been established for MS Word. Positioning of the frames in Word, by using methods described here, is based on setting horizontal and vertical distances from a reference point. Initially, the reference point is the upper-left corner of the page, not the home position. Next we discuss how to change the reference position from the upper-left corner of the page to the home position, which is a good practice for placing pictures in text layouts, which you want to do as part of another project. The steps required to change this reference point are relative simple.

To reset the reference point, clear all dialog boxes and view the image frame in the WORD program file. Highlight the picture by left-clicking on it. This will make eight little black squares appear, four in the corners and four at the mid-point of each edge. Do a Format|Picture to open the Format Picture dialog ox, click on the Advanced button to get the Advanced Layout dialog box, which opens to the defaulted tab Picture position. In the first slot of the Horizontal panel, change the value to zero. In the first slot of the Vertical panel change the value to zero. Click on the OK button. Now note that the image has jumped up to the upper left corner of the page.

Then close out the Advanced Layout dialog box and re-open it. Now you will note that there are values in the left slots of the Horizontal and Vertical panels that are negative. Change these values to zero. That sets the home position as your new reference point. Click on OK, and you will note that the image returns to the home position. Now you are at liberty to set the Horizontal and Vertical values so the frame is positioned approximately where you want it. The only requirements for positioning these frames is that they need to be precisely located with relation to each other so they will make a seamlees joint, and that all frames must be within the boundaries set by the page margins.

Then go through the same steps of importing and positioning the remaining frame images.

Note that the determination of which frame “moves back” so the overlapped portion will hide behind the adjoining frame can be made by selecting “behind text” in the “Text wrapping style” page for one of the adjoining frames. Note also that you will have to run through the sequence involved in selecting “behind text” a second time for that setting to become saved. Note also that of the five selections of text wrapping style, “None” will not enable the positioning settings to become available in the Picture Position dialog box.

This description has been a challenge to identify the critical steps involved in the planning and the execution of the necessary steps. Although the sequence of topics may seem convoluted, I thought it would be best to build upon these planning and execution steps in a way that would serve the reader while they are reading it the first time and for them to use as a reference when performing the steps. The process may seem prohibitively complex. If you choose to try these things on your own computer without personal guidance, it is manageable for a user who is committed to challenging projects. There are many steps, and none of them are particularly complex, although the word descriptions may seem complex.

Putting a caption below a landscape image using MS Word

This material is included here for a few reasons. One to show the user that the landscape image can be used as any other image, and can be re-inserted into a new Word file which is capable of introducing text anywhere on the page. Another is to give the user some appreciation for the use of text positioning when images are present.

Remember from the above discussion of positioning the inserted images in relation to a reference point that the reference point used (above) is the home position. If you want to have text on a page, you want to establish at least one line for text which is below the position of the reference point. If you don’t, you won’t have success at entering text below this reference point, as there are no new lines available for text below the line which is used as a reference for picture positioning. This means that if you only have

one available line and the picture(s) is (are) anchored to it, striking the “Enter” key, which produces a carriage return and a line feed, will move the picture(s) down, and will not provide any new lines below the reference point, which now moves down with each line feed.

Showing formatting characters

A user will find that it is handy to be able to see the formatting characters associated with the page layout. These are the representations of things like paragraph symbols, character spaces, indicators of tab commands, punctuation, etc. The formatting tool is in the Formatting toolbar and is represented by the paragraph (¶) symbol. It is a click-ON and click-Off button.

If you plan to place a caption below an inserted image, you should start with at least one paragraph symbol below the paragraph symbol at the home position. When you insert an image, you should highlight the home position so the image will be anchored to that location. Later, you will have a paragraph symbol below that picture reference point for doing all the required text processing. Note that you may want to place the image at least 0.1 inches to the right of the home position or choose the “behind text” option for text wrapping of the image so you will be able to see the insertion point for adding text. The insetion point is identified by a highlighted paragraph symbol or by the blinking cursor which appears when the formatting symbols aren’t showing.


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1 Comment

  1. Taylor says:

    I really liked the way they came off


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