Best Practices for Microsoft ICE RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • I have been exploring and experimenting with this system for a while now, and found out, that when creating full size (360 x 180) panoramas for Photosynth and the kind of equirectangular (flat) images that usually are being used for this, a lot of things can in practise go wrong (no need dwelve further into this). However the following specific method seems to be relatively foolproof and atv the same time efficient (assuming photographic optimization in the light room or elsewhere concerning all ordinary photographical aspects as properly specified and recommended elsewhere).

    If anybody can come up with better suggestions or develope further on this suggested method, by all means please do so!

    1. When taking the pictures use a quality camera with a 35 mm lens (either fixed or zoomed to that focal length) on a tripod with exact horizontal and vertical pivoting options around the nodal point such as a provided using a specialized Pano Head (robotic with remote control or hand operated). 

    2. Make sure the cameras horizontal moment is exactly levelled! (i.e. the theoretical horizon ls absolutely horizontal). 

    3. Shoot a series of 42 pictures (covering the whole range of focal directions including zenith and nadir). Forget about taking more pictures than this, but repeat if necessary with the same or slightly different settings, just to be able to discard some of the shots and select the very best ones for the final stitching proces!

    4. The total series of finished shots should include the following, all assuming the camera held in a normal "landscape" position (contrary to many recommandations, that recommend "portrait" instead!)

    a. 8 horizontal shots with an angular interval of 45 degrees and no tilting.

    b. 8 shots wth an angular horizon interval of  45 degrees and 30 degrees upwards tilting (aligned with the above mentioned series of shots),

    c. 8 shots wth an angular horizon interval of  45 degrees and 60 degrees upwards tilting (aligned as above).

    d. 8 shots wth an angular horizon interval of  45 degrees and 30 degrees downwards tilting (aligned as above).

    e. 8 shots wth an angular horizon interval of  45 degrees and 60 degrees downwards tilting (aligned as above).

    f. 1 shot in zenith direction.

    g. 1 shot in nadir direction (usually hand held with the tripod out of the way).

    4. Make sure, that all pictures have exatly the same size and only contain image information (i.e. do not contain any borders, frames etc.)

    5. Use the "Automatic" or "Rotation" (the latter will presumably be automatically selected for you by ICE)

    6. For your own convenience primarily: give each of your shots used for the final stitching) a systematic name (e.g. photo1.jpg ... photo42.jpg)

    7. Never use .png format for the input images! I have just by chance discovered, that this is definitely a no go! I have only had good experiences when using the .jpg-format (with very low cpmpression) though. Which other uimage formats might be suitable/unsuitable, I presently don´t know for sure. 

    Thanks a lot to the folks, who have created, maintained and made this magnificent FREE system avalable to the public! 


    If you are planning to specialize in creating 360 x 180 panoramas while travelling, trekking etc. you might also (alternatively) wish to follow the advice given here:


    Here for obvious reasons the emphasis is on minimizing the total weight of necessary equipment when shooting the panramas while producing a flawless result anyhow. Thus a non SLR camerahouse with a fisheye lens is recommended (thereby reducing the number of necessary shots to 7!). The possibility of using Microsoft ICE for stitching is not discussed. The solution is not exactly cheap ,considering that you cannot use the general purpose camera, you might own already, but in some cases it might very well be good value for the money.

    The examples are quite impressive!

    • Edited by harlekin96 Saturday, December 20, 2014 1:20 PM
    Sunday, December 14, 2014 10:37 AM