PhotoSec: Panoramic Photos Made Easy with Microsoft ICE

If you’re like me, you like to capture a series of photographs that you can later put together into one big wide picture because sometimes, you just can’t get the whole scene into a single frame. I usually do my processing in LightRoom and use the “edit in” option and choose “Merge to Panorama in Photoshop”. However, for a free option that works incredibly well and fast, check out “Microsoft ICE”.

ICE stands for Image Composite Editor and has tons of great features. Best of all, you can simply drag and drop your images from Windows Explorer straight into the ICE application:

I just drug 6 files into ICE. Each of those files are 5184 x 3456 pixels and over 5.0 MB in size. ICE literally read them and produced the composite below in about 4 seconds. Your results may be different depending on your computer but even so, this same operation took several minutes to complete in Photoshop.

As you can see from the screen shot, the image I have now is 16,308 pixels wide. Now, I want to set this as the background across my four monitor setup. These are 24” monitors and each is 1920 pixels wide. That’s a total of 7680. I actually had to downsize this image by almost half! Further, the final image it produces is extremely small in size after I bumped the image quality down to 80% I’ve placed the full image below and it is only 3.62 MB. For comparison, I’m including a panorama I did in Photoshop. It is 5196 x 1860 and is a whopping 7.31 MB.

Microsoft ICE Panoramic. Final cropped size: 16292 x 3879 @ 3.62 MB:

Photoshop Panoramic. Final cropped size: 5196 x 1860 @ 7.31MB:

Finally, here’s what the image looks like spread across four 24″ monitors. By the way, I use a program called “UltraMon” to be able to spread a single image across multiple screens. Highly recommend it.

Microsoft ICE is a very cool application from Microsoft Research. Best of all, it’s FREE!



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