Panorama picture

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Panorama images (" Panorama ", ancient Greek, for example: "Allschau". In the plural: "Panoramas") are characterized by the fact that they cover a large viewing angle. A panorama image that covers 360 degrees is also known as a round image . Panoramas are often used to depict architecture and landscapes. In the course of time, various processes have emerged for the creation of panorama images, for example circular paintings , panorama photography and digital photography with subsequent merging of several images on the computer (“ stitching ”) and virtually created images .

Riverside panorama of Regensburg

Circular painting

The technique of the round picture, a special form of three-dimensional trompe-l'oeil painting, was invented by the Irishman Robert Barker (1739–1806) and patented in 1787. In the 19th century, circular images were popular and developed into an early mass medium. The round pictures were mostly up to 15 m high and the circumference often exceeded the 100-meter mark. Around 1830 the pictures were given a three-dimensional foreground, figures and props. This intensified the illusion for the viewer of being part of the scene (see also illusion painting ). The pictures were often housed in specially created museums and passed on from city to city. Panoramas were traveling media used commercially by an organized entertainment industry. In some cases, they were housed in purpose-built permanent buildings. Among the surviving panoramas of this type include, for example, the Peasant War Panorama in Bad Frankenhausen , the Bourbaki Panorama in Lucerne and the Jerusalem-Panorama Crucifixion of Christ in Altötting .

The art and media form panorama has experienced a new boom since the 1970s. Worldwide, new panoramas are created in quick succession. Sometimes the classic technique of painting on canvas is used, sometimes new methods are used in which pictures are stitched together on the computer and printed on large lengths of fabric. Such circular paintings by Yadegar Asisi are presented in the Panometer Leipzig and the Panometer Dresden .

Conventional photography

The circular paintings lost their importance during technical and social progress; Competitors were, for example, stereographic images . In conventional photography, panorama technology was made possible by special panorama cameras and panorama robots. Special equipment for the production of moving panoramic images has also been developed. While panoramic photography was often used in spite of the expensive equipment, the moving panorama film led a niche existence. Almost exclusively museums used this technology. For example, the Verkehrshaus in Lucerne showed moving images of Switzerland on a large, 360-degree screen.

Digital photography

The technically complex and expensive panorama cameras have been increasingly displaced by digital photography since 2000. The production of single images and the subsequent assembly in a panorama is inexpensive and can now be easily done with the appropriate image processing software . This means, for example, that several individual images of a spacious landscape can be quickly converted into a panorama image.

Panoramic image of the Vatican Museums , St. Peter's Square and the Vatican Audience Hall (seen from the dome of St. Peter's Basilica), put together with stitch software from eight individual images.

In order to create panoramas with high resolution (gigapixel photography), so-called panorama robots are used, which automatically position and trigger a camera with a normal camera lens in polarity.

Panoramic images can also be recorded with special lenses ( fisheye lens ) or typically spherical mirrors and then rectified using a software algorithm . These methods bypass the merging of individual images.

In 2009, the Japanese camera manufacturer Sony presented another option for creating panorama images with conventional camera lenses : "Sweep Panorama". Cameras with this feature are panned hands-free while the release button is held down, and individual images are automatically recorded at suitable angular intervals. The camera is then put together to form a panorama image. If the recording format is the same as landscape format, panoramas are created that cover an angle of a maximum (typically) 224 degrees. With portrait orientation of the camera and also horizontal pan, panos are achieved with a larger vertical angle and a smaller horizontal angle.


Panorama shot of Berlin. You can see the Red City Hall , the television tower (on the "Alex") , Berlin Cathedral , the Tiergarten and the Reichstag
Image composed of 15 individual images (upright 11 mm) with a viewing angle of approx. 270 °

A variant that is also practicable in the hobby area is to create several individual images and to move the camera a little further between them. These partial images can then be put together to form a large panorama using a technique known as stitching . For this purpose, so-called panorama robots (also called VR heads) are offered, which facilitate the subsequent stitching by adhering to fixed angular steps (horizontal and vertical) and the exact camera guidance. These pan-tilt heads are available for the hobby photographer in a manually operated version, for higher productivity and precision also automatically and motor-driven.

Modern software no longer needs such heads and can correct the corresponding offsets itself. Lenses that shoot without barrel-shaped distortion make it much easier to create panoramas.

Merge the images and generate the spherical image

After the images have been processed with stitching software and any image editing has been carried out, you have a complete, but distorted-looking image. In order to display an image section, it must later be rectified using suitable software.


Medical panoramic image

" Panoramic X-rays" are also referred to as panoramic images or orthopantomograms in dental practice. A complete x-ray of the entire upper and lower jaw area including the temporomandibular joints and the sinuses is created.

watch TV

With widescreen televisions there is a "panorama function" with which television pictures are distorted non-linearly from 4: 3 format to 16: 9 format. In the center, the proportions are retained, while stronger distortion takes place on the left and right edges of the image. The panorama function removes the black stripes on the left and right edges of the image and does not affect the image quality as much as a simple stretching of the image compared to the original image.


A stereoscopic panorama projection

Panoramic images can be impressively projected onto panorama screens or panorama pane systems provided for this purpose. An optimal representation of the panorama effect is created by a curved projection surface and several projectors equipped with "edge blending".

Within a website, a section of the panorama image is displayed with Java applets such as the PT-Viewer, Panorado and ImmerVision or plug-ins such as the QuickTime Player in such a way that a 3D effect is created and you can pan or pan in all directions with the mouse cursor can zoom.

Programs such as the Panorado Viewer or the QuickTime Player offer a similar interaction for panorama images as on websites, but are faster and have a larger range of functions. The FSPViewer displays a 360 ° panorama image as an endless image that can be rotated to the left or right as required.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. Digital all-round photography - Neue Sicht , , accessed online on October 1, 2012.
  2. Konrad Lischka: Ifa photo trends. Less megapixels, more picture quality. In: SPIEGEL ONLINE. September 5, 2009. Retrieved September 11, 2009 .
  3. David Pogue: Pogue's Posts. The Glory of Sweep Panorama. The New York Times, September 29, 2011, accessed October 26, 2015. (English).
  4. PT viewer
  5. a b Panorado
  6. ImmerVision
  7. a b QuickTime VR
  8. FSPViewer

Web links

Commons : Panoramic images  - collection of images
Commons : Rundbilder  - Collection of images
Commons : Featured pictures / Places / Panoramas - excellent pictures  - album with pictures, videos and audio files