Two Digital Camera Magic Tricks - InformationWeek
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7/24/2006
04:44 PM
Mike Elgan
Mike Elgan
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Two Digital Camera Magic Tricks

Software developers have figured out how to "stitch" together or combine images to do "magic tricks" with your digital photos.

Software developers have figured out how to "stitch" together or combine images to do "magic tricks" with your digital photos.The first trick is to gather together a bunch of photos and "stitch" them into a panorama -- a 360-degree panorama if you like. You don't need a special camera, a special lens or even a tripod.

Basically, you simply take pictures using your existing camera in such a way that you capture everything you can see in 360 degrees. That means taking dozens of photos. Then, you simply drop all these in a folder and point software called Autostitch at them. Autostitch will find the points of overlap in your pictures to figure out the "puzzle" you have presented it with. Then, it will create a single photo with all your photos as a panorama. Magic!

The second trick is to create a composite photo out of several pictures that eliminates anything that's moving. Let's say, for example, that you want to take a photo of Mayan pyramids, and you really want to capture that ancient feel. Unfortunately, a bunch of overweight tourists with Bermuda shorts and baseball caps are milling around, spoiling the effect. Yelling "fire" won't clear the area, so you're going to have to rely on a hilariously named service called Tourist Remover.

Simply take several shots -- four or five should do it -- and feed them into Tourist Remover. The service will spit out a single photo, minus all the tourists. Tourist Remover performs this awesome trick by looking for objects -- or people -- who are in a specific place in only one of your pictures, and wipes them out, using image data from the other pictures. The result is that you capture a scene that didn't exist at the time you took the shots.

Tourist Remover is part of the online photo service, Snapmania.

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