Microsoft Image Composite Editor Fills in the Gaps
Missed a spot? Now panoramas processed by Microsoft's software can automatically fill in areas that photographers missed.Adobe may be the go-to maker of image editing and processing software, but Microsoft has some pixelsmiths of its own. The company has released an update to its Image Composite Editor (ICE), which hails from its Microsoft Research division. While not as well-known as Microsoft's Windows, Office and Skype offerings, the free software has found some success, albeit largely under the radar. "ICE was first released in 2008, and every day it's downloaded around 1200 times, mostly by people who spend a fair share of free time behind a viewfinder," revealed David Chen, a Microsoft spokesperson, in a statement. Photographers aren't the only ones who rely on ICE. Microsoft enlists the technology for some of its own projects and end-user offerings. "The Interactive Visual Media group has done some amazingly cool stuff with ICE, such as the Gigapixel ArtZoom experiment, which stitched together nearly 2400 22-megapixel images (taken with a Canon 1Ds Mk III and 400 mm lens)," said Chen. "The result is a 360-degree view of the Seattle cityscape captured in stunning detail." Microsoft also calls on ICE to compose the aerial and Streetside (akin to Google Maps' Street View) images used in Bing Maps.
ICE 2.0 has a few new additions to its toolset, including Automatic Image Completion, which can compensate for missed areas when stitching together a panorama. "Say, for example, you poorly frame one of your pictures and are left with a void in one area of your panorama," said Chen. "Automatic Image Completion will use pattern recognition technology to fill it in."