prague 18 gigapixels

A lot of people are curious about how exactly an image like this can be made at all. So, we’ve compiled the most basic questions and written some answers. If you have another question, be sure to leave a comment below.

The Prague 18 Gigagpixel image was shot from the top floor of this tower.

The Prague 18 Gigagpixel image was shot from the top floor of this tower.

How did you create this panorama?

I used a Canon 5d mark 2 and a 70-200mm lens, set to 200mm. The camera was mounted on a robotic device which turned the camera in tiny, precise increments, in every direction. All together, 40 gigabytes of images were shot. These images were then stitched together using PTGui. The resulting panorama was adjusted for color, contrast, sharpness, etc. in Photoshop. Afterwards, the image was cut into lots of “tiles” and uploaded to our server. When you view the image online, you only load a few of these “tiles” at one time.

How long did you spend stitching this panorama?

Between loading the initial raw files into the computer, and having the panorama stitched, it took about a week. It took 3 additional weeks to fine-tune the image.

What kind of computer did you use?

I used a four year-old windows PC with two single-core 3ghz xeon processors and 8GB of RAM. After a week of frustration, I also bought an SSD, which helped to speed up some tasks a bit. If I will make this image again, I will buy a new computer.

What are the dimensions of this panorama, and the size it takes on disk?

The final image exists as a 120 gigabyte photoshop large (PSB) file. It cannot exist as a TIFF or JPEG file because of their size constraints. The panorama online exists as a few hundred thousand small tiles (in JPEG format), and they take up about 1 gigabyte of disk space.

If you have more questions about how this image was made, please leave a comment!

Link to the panorama

65 Comments

  1. Rami Saarikorpi says:

    What kind of robotic device dit you use?
    I have Gigapan, but I can not get my Mark II + 300mm to it :(

  2. Waph says:

    What motorized head did you use? Did you try other stitching software like the Gigapan and gigapixel plug-in of Autopano Giga? How long did the stitching period last? Thanks

  3. Vincent Ogloblinsky says:

    Is there a link to this gigapixel?

    Regards

  4. Jan Vrsinsky says:

    link added to the article, it’s http://www.360cities.net/prague-18-gigapixels

  5. The Largest Panorama in the World? «360 Cities Official Blog says:

    [...] If you want to learn the technical details, read more here. [...]

  6. Maksim says:

    Did they remove the windows for you in the observation deck? Or which observation deck did you use?

  7. Tom says:

    A few questions. First, where in that observation tower was there a location with an unobstructed 360 degree view? And if there was none, what method(s) did you use to get around various obstructions?

    Also, how long did it take to shoot the entire sequence? Was there a problem with shadows moving from one shot to the next?

  8. 18-Gigapixel Panoramic Photo Offers a Breathtaking View of Prague « computer hardware prices says:

    [...] final image exists as a 120 Gigabyte Photoshop large (PSB) file,” says Martin on his blog. It cannot exist as a TIFF or JPEG file because of their size [...]

  9. Clint says:

    Really Cool Stuff!

    Amazon EC2 might be a good way to render the Panorama. Amazon has Windows versions, but a command line linux panorama tool might be required for best results.

  10. conrick says:

    Did you atacched the camera to a computer or to an external drive?

  11. 18-Gigapixel Panorama Offers Breathtaking View of Prague | Slush says:

    [...] final image exists as a 120 Gigabyte Photoshop large (PSB) file,” says Martin on his blog. It cannot exist as a TIFF or JPEG file because of their size [...]

  12. Emixt – Wholesale products » 18-Gigapixel Panorama Offers Breathtaking View of Prague says:

    [...] final image exists as a 120 Gigabyte Photoshop large (PSB) file,” says Martin on his blog. It cannot exist as a TIFF or JPEG file because of their size [...]

  13. heynews.com » 18-Gigapixel Panorama Offers Breathtaking View of Prague says:

    [...] final image exists as a 120 Gigabyte Photoshop large (PSB) file,” says Martin on his blog. It cannot exist as a TIFF or JPEG file because of their size [...]

  14. eCristian » Cea mai mare fotografie panoramică says:

    [...] Potrivit Tech Crunch, fotografia finală este compusă din 600 de cadre, are 120 GB şi măsoară 192.000 x 96.000 de pixeli. Jeffrey Martin a petrecut peste o lună pentru a realiza o imagine panoramică de 18 gigapixeli a capitalei Cehiei. More technical details are available here. [...]

  15. 18-Gigapixel Panorama Offers Breathtaking View of Prague « computer hardware prices says:

    [...] final image exists as a 120 Gigabyte Photoshop large (PSB) file,” says Martin on his blog. It cannot exist as a TIFF or JPEG file because of their size [...]

  16. Darreld Ellis says:

    Amazing! Better than being there!

    I visited Praque and the tower as a tourist in 2005. The glass in the public observation areas is so thick it distorts the view.

    The panorama has the clarity I wish I could have seen from the tower in person.

    Darreld Ellis – Topeka, KS USA

  17. David says:

    Great pano…!

    Gorgeous tower, too!

  18. yoshi says:

    Great pano. What VR head did you use? And also, how do you take so many precise shots, is it connected to some sort of remote device, and if so, what’s the device?
    Thanks

  19. Rico Neitzel says:

    How did you fix the camera at this point?! how did it last to automatically take all pictures? are there any making-of photographs?

    it’s simply amazing!! :)

    thanks for this REALLY great work and greets from germany
    rico

  20. HErnestM says:

    A minor point compared to some of the others, but the first thing that came to mind was why was it shot with a zoom instead of a fixed focus 200mm 1.8 or 2.8? On top of that the zoom was extended out to the maximum 200mm. Typically a lens has the most optical aberrations at the extremes (70mm and 200mm in this case). Granted the lens was of decent quality I’m sure, but unless I have to, I try and back off a little from a maximum zoom to get a clearer image. Just curious about the decision to use the zoom.
    Does the tiling process crop out the edges to help with the image quality?
    I’m sure I speak for everyone, when I say how disappointed I was in not being able to read the names on the tombstones in the cemetery on the north side of the tower ;>)
    Just kidding….great work.

  21. Das größte 360-Grad-Panorama der Welt | EGM Weblog says:

    [...] und 8GB Hauptspeicher. Dieser war eindeutig an der Grenze seiner Leistungsfähigkeit. Zitat am Blog von 360cities: "After a week of frustration, I also bought an SSD, which helped to speed up some tasks a bit. If [...]

  22. Franco says:

    FANTASTICO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  23. Anthony says:

    I would have lost my cookies doing this up on that tower – what a beautiful job, Jeffrey! Can’t wait to see your next mega-gigapixel pano!

  24. Dave says:

    What am I missing? A link or something? There are a ton of questions here (What VR head? What robotic device? Was window removed? How long to shoot? Attached to computer or external device? Does tiling crop out edges? and so forth), but no answers. Can somebody help me out? Where are the answers? Inquiring minds want to know. Thanks.

  25. Vincent Ogloblinsky says:

    Jeffrey, what robotic head did you use?
    Did you shoot the skies in one shot with a simple 10mm fisheye lens?
    Thanks

    Regards

  26. Johane19 says:

    Great photo, but same problem as Dave. Where are the answers for all the questions? I would realy like to know more – specialy about the robotic device. Thanks

  27. Mike Swift says:

    Hi, Still looking for the answers to all the above.
    Are they posted elsewhere?

  28. Emma Mburu says:

    So amazing! Still trying to understand the technology behind it.This is the greatest picture I`ve ever viewed. I look foward to visit Prague.

    Emma, Nairobi, Kenya.

  29. 18 Gigapixel 360° Panorama von Prag says:

    [...] Making-Of befindet sich im Blog des Machers. Moin Moin auf Neunzehn72, dem Blog über Fotografie, Gadgets und [...]

  30. Pint says:

    Thanks for ignoring all the questions.

  31. Vincent Ogloblinsky says:

    Pint, may be you will need to join the 360 Cities network?

  32. jeffrey says:

    Hi Pint,

    Sorry, 360 Photographers have christmas holidays too :-)

    I’ll answer most of the questions very soon.

    best,
    Jeffrey

  33. Andrea says:

    Jeffrey you’re a Master!

  34. frank noon says:

    Spent hours looking for the hotel I stayed in last year Eventually found it – great fun and great pic. You must have a lot more patience than me to create this. Look forward to seeing others!

  35. John says:

    Great work no doubt … But what I can’t get my head around is the resolution !! There is no way for the best 35mm DSLR + the best 200mm lens to resolve such details !! it’s mind boggling for me and .. am I missing something here !!!

  36. jeffrey says:

    Yes. you’re missing the important point that *hundreds* of shots from said camera were made, and then joined together precisely. Hopefully it makes more sense considering that fact.

    Jeffrey

  37. Damixa says:

    Hey Jeff….
    Hope all the beer has been drank and the haze has cleared…any chance of detailing a “how I did it” page ….c’mon spit it out…..please!

  38. Vest i Havet says:

    It just fantastic. And it must have been a very clear day and possibly a Sunday to reduce the problem with haze from the exhaust fumes.
    But a detail: It is probably impossible for this enormous picture, but a tad of adjustments of highlight and saturation would improve on the image. To me it seems too light and with not enough contrast.

  39. Nick Spirov says:

    See the Merlin/Orion Teletracker alternative. It handles even the biggest cameras, because it is made to handle a telescope.

    Unfortunately this solution is not available just as-is, you need to buy additional electronics (a bluetooth adapter and a hendheld or laptop to run the software that drives the device).

  40. 美麗的布拉格3D城市 | GEmVG Blog says:

    [...] Jeffrey 是一位住在布拉格對於全景攝影非常痴迷的全景攝影師,這張全景圖是從位在布拉格一個小山丘上,塔高200公尺的Zizkov電視塔頂所拍,他利用一支200mm的鏡頭,架設在一台專拍環景的機器上,自動控制每張照片的角度,花個幾個小時,拍了數百張照片,然後後製的拼接又花了一兩個禮拜。你可點選這裡去瞭解他怎麼製作這張圖。 [...]

  41. Breathtaking View of Prague 18 Gigapixel Panorama says:

    [...] This is a super high resolutionphoto. Use your mouse to zoom in and see a startling level of detail. This image is currently (as of 12/2009) the largest spherical panoramic photo in the world. It is 192,000 pixels wide and 96,000 pixels tall. That’s 18.4 billion pixels, or 18.4 gigapixels! When it’s printed, it will be 16 meters (53 feet) long at regular photographic quality (300dpi). It was shot in early October 2009 from the top of the Zizkov TV Tower in Prague, Czech Republic in collaboration with Prague 3 town hall. A digital SLR camera and a 200mm lens were used. Hundreds of shots were shot over a few hours; these shots were then stitched together on a computer over the following few weeks. How did you create this panorama? I used a Canon 5d mark 2 and a 70-200mm lens, set to 200mm. The camera was mounted on a robotic device which turned the camera in tiny, precise increments, in every direction. All together, 40 gigabytes of images were shot. These images were then stitched together using PTGui. The resulting panorama was adjusted for color, contrast, sharpness, etc. in Photoshop. Afterwards, the image was cut into lots of “tiles” and uploaded to our server. When you view the image online, you only load a few of these “tiles” at one time. How long did you spend stitching this panorama? Between loading the initial raw files into the computer, and having the panorama stitched, it took about a week. It took 3 additional weeks to fine-tune the image. What kind of computer did you use? I used a four year-old windows PC with two single-core 3ghz xeon processors and 8GB of RAM. After a week of frustration, I also bought an SSD, which helped to speed up some tasks a bit. If I will make this image again, I will buy a new computer. What are the dimensions of this panorama, and the size it takes on disk? The final image exists as a 120 gigabyte photoshop large (PSB) file. It cannot exist as a TIFF or JPEG file because of their size constraints. The panorama online exists as a few hundred thousand small tiles (in JPEG format), and they take up about 1 gigabyte of disk space. Source: http://blog.360cities.net/prague-18-gigapixels-how-it-was-made/ [...]

  42. softone says:

    Hi. Why some portions of the panorama seems censored out, or is it just a PTGui bug?

  43. AHMAD HUSHIEA says:

    WoW gr8 Work ………….

  44. mafia says:

    Excellent work. Hats off to u Jeffrey. Still waiting for the answers.

  45. JEFF says:

    Great pano, Great ,Great!!!

  46. Marc says:

    Very interesting topic! I made a gigapixel too from an Austrian city. Furthermore I created a virtual 360° tour through the whole city. Perhaps you want to have a look at it: http://www.feldkirch360.at

  47. Chob says:

    What Software did you use to make the “tiles broadcast” or basically, how did you convert all this to flash?

    Cheers and keep up the good work

  48. Victor says:

    Fantastic work! How the hell have you sttiched the parts of blue sky betwen them?

  49. sabine.nicolas2@wanadoo.fr says:

    Tom :A few questions. First, where in that observation tower was there a location with an unobstructed 360 degree view? And if there was none, what method(s) did you use to get around various obstructions?
    Also, how long did it take to shoot the entire sequence? Was there a problem with shadows moving from one shot to the next?

  50. Quick Guide to finding Interactive Panoramic Photographs on the Web says:

    [...] Prague in 18 Gigapixels: How it was made [...]

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP (75.119.200.56) doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP (69.163.132.106) and so is spam.

  51. Gavin D Farrell says:

    I noticed you’re using the KRpano to display this image but doesn’t it exceed KRPanos maximum cubic face dimensions? How’d you get it to actually output correctly for KRpano?

  52. Man Garnier says:

    Hi Dave – I’m a little late viewing this but did you ever find out where all the answers to the various questions are located? I see that Jeffrey said he had Christmas Hoildays and that he would answer questions – but cannot find them. Can you reply and let us all know – if you have found this elusive spot? Thanks.

  53. Neil Parris says:

    Very very very impressive! Before I read about the robotic telescope mount I assumed you must have had a huge amount of patience to do this manually.

    One technical question – did you need to find control points in PTGui or were the photo angle so precise you just placed them setting the parameters in PTGui advanced mode?

    I’m really impressed how you’ve enhance the levels for different zoom amounts, in other words when you zoom in not only do you get more detail but you also get more constrast for that area of the image. Clever!

  54. HaLo2FrEeEk says:

    I have to say, I’m really impressed by this, but I’m a bit disappointed that none of the questions got answered. I make 360° panoramas myself, but I do them in video games where you can pause the action and still move the camera around, makes it a lot easier. I’ve been wanting to do a super-resolution version, zooming the camera in and taking a lot more pictures, but I don’t know how I’d get the tiles to load properly in the panorama viewer. What viewer are you using? I use Pano2VR.

  55. Fakhre says:

    Great Work!

  56. marke slipp says:

    So, I take a lot of regular panoramic photos and have been happy with them. But this 360 world is totally blowing me away. Indeed, I sort of get how you do them over a long period, but the ones with say, helicopters or motorcycles in them, or even the waves near the ocean, or crowds…how do you do these? I have difficulty with my ocean panoramics as I need to blend the waves together…which can be quite laborious. Yours seem so …well, seamless! And as though all shot at once. Curious…

  57. jeffrey says:

    Hi Marke,

    Thanks for the compliment.

    It’s just patience and hard work. Same old story ;-)

    I am influenced by masters of panoramic photography, without whom I could never have learned half of what I’ve learned over the years.

    Try Jook Leung (http://www.360cities.net/profile/jook-leung ) or Willy Kaemena ( http://www.360cities.net/profile/willy-kaemena ) for two examples of really perfect, seamless, candy-coated panoramas. Slurp! :-)

    Jeffrey

  58. Frasier says:

    Nice photo, but what gives? Most of a year later and you still haven’t answered any of the questions you said you would. It would take but a few minutes of your time.

  59. jeffrey says:

    hi frasier,

    i answered them here, many moons ago – http://blog.360cities.net/prague-gigapixel-how/

  60. bahareh says:

    hi, that is great job ,
    I am doing my final project for master degree and my subject is investigate about the perception of tourist for using the 360 degree photo for e-tourism , I want know , do have any research or reference for 360 degree photography because I need the good reference and I can’t find .
    thanks a lot

  61. vu trong tung says:

    can you help me ? i need file images

  62. Igor Gaspar says:

    Fantastic picture. I didn’t tried to work with so big pictures (not even near), but I thought that Photoshop and PTGui has some limitations with max resolution you can use. What versions of software you used?

  63. jeffrey says:

    Igor, the largest dimension allowed in photoshop is i believe 300,000 pixels. so this image is far below that limit at 192,000 pixels wide.