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February 13, 2015

Panorama perfection: Image Composite Editor gets new update

Turn your panoramic photos from your Lumia into ultra-wide-angle works of art with the recently updated Image Composite Editor (ICE) software.

If you’ve ever tried to photograph the splendor of places such as the Grand Canyon, Mont Blanc, or Beijing’s massive Forbidden Palace, you know how difficult that is.

Their enormous scale often means that you take lots of photos to capture their grandeur and detail and then piece the photos together to create one huge image.

Well, new updates to the powerful, professional-grade Image Composite Editor software has made doing so much easier.

Created by Microsoft Research’s Computational Photography Group, ICE is now more intuitive and includes new features such as Automatic Image Completion, which uses pattern-recognition technology to fill in voids in your panorama.

Another cool feature is video-to-panorama: Let’s say you used your Lumia to video-record a friend skateboarding down the street doing tricks such kick flips or big spins.

After uploading the smartphone video onto your computer and booting up ICE, you can choose still frames from the video and stitch them together to create a stroboscopic-motion photo. That means it will look as if your friend is skating, jumping and spinning all the way through the photo.

But what if you make a mistake mid-way through building the panorama? Don’t worry–with this new version of ICE, you don’t have to start over. Just hit the “back” button and continue where you left off.

And if you’re feeling especially creative, apply one of ICE’s lenses to create effects such as fish-eye, spherical or stereographic.

Ready to start? Download the free software onto your PC.

Then it takes just four steps—import, stitch, crop and export–to create your panoramic masterpieces. After you’re done, save them in a variety of image formats or view them in 3D and share them on the Photosynth website (yes, the same folks who created the beautiful Photosynth app for Windows Phone).

If you download the new Image Composite Editor, please share your views—and images!—in the comments below.