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China Landscape > Shanghai Skyline - Stitched From 12,000 Pictures - 上海风景线 - 由12000张图片拼成 by Alfred Zhao

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About This Gigapan

Taken by
Alfred Zhao Alfred  Zhao
Explore score
272.31 Gigapixels
Date added
Dec 17, 2010
Date taken
May 25, 2010

EPIC Pro + Canon 7D + Canon 2X...


Shanghai, one of the most populous cities in the world, has never been pictured in such enormous detail. Let the world experience this fast growing city and understand China is always my dream. Through my telephoto lens, I wish you, the viewer, can blend into the daily life in Shanghai and enjoy your virtual visit.

Before being introduced to Gigapan, I used manual panorama head (Manfrotto 303SPH) and fisheye lens to take spherical panorama and build virtual tours for my clients. In late 2009, I learned about the Dresden 26 Gigapixel image (www.dresden-26-gigapixels.com/dresden26GP Will open in a new tab or window) created by the world renowned German photographer, Holger Schulze. It was then the world largest image. This compelling image absolutely fascinated me. Until today, I still think the Dresden image is one of the most important milestones in man’s pursuing of the world largest photograph. A few months later, a new world record was released; it further intrigued me, I decided to give it a try myself.

In March 2010, the first batch of Gigapan EPIC Pro was still on pre-order. Without any hesitation, I boldly placed a pre-order and received this precisely engineered yet inexpensive device in early April. Other necessary equipments were also ordered, by mid-April, all the hardware was ready.

To build the world largest image is not a trivial project; there are many challenges and barriers. To name a few, the density of the camera’s image sensor must be high; the optics must have long focal length yet still light enough to be maneuvered by a robotic panorama head; large amount of images must be transferred directly onto a laptop; the devices must be powered for extended hours; the photo location must have large amount of details to avoid empty pixels such as sky, water surface; the weather must be calm so that the camera is less likely to vibrate due to wind; the light condition must be consistent throughout shooting… I know this is an extremely difficult undertaking, but it is worth the effort.

My first attempt was on April 22nd, 2010, the day was partly sunny. I planned to take an image set of 9,000 pictures, but had to stop because of the change of weather condition. I ended up with a set of only 1,500 images. Spring in Shanghai is often cloudy or rainy; I have to wait for the perfect weather. The second time window appeared on April 29th, 2010. That day, I was able to complete a set of 9,000 images; however, I spent too much time to setup the equipment and didn’t start shooting until 10:30am. When I was done with the image set, it was almost dark. The image set suffered significant lighting change and only the first 6,000+ images could be used. Back in April 2010, once stitched, even 6,000 images should set a world record; however, I saw the possibility of acquiring even larger image set. Finally, the third time window appeared on May 25th, 2010. Learned from the previous experience, I started very early and got everything ready by 8:00am. The shooting started at 8:30am, with an average of 2.4 seconds per image, I took 12,000 images and finished shooting before dusk. Bingo, now I have the raw data.

Acquiring the images was just the first step towards the goal, to stitch it, post-process it and display it were a long way to go. Since this was a side project, I didn’t have much time to work on it. As months went by, I watched people setting new world records almost every month throughout 2010. This year is gigapixel image year. I never imagined such fierce competition. Finally, my image was completely stitched on Sept 20th, 2010. The raw stitch was a 1.24 TB image file. I wrote several tools for post-processing and finally generated the result image of 1,089,248,410,452 bytes (1.09 TB). The 1/1000 thumbnail of the un-cropped raw stitch is also on Gigapan at www.gigapan.org/gigapans/61595/ .

Post-processing and uploading took me another three months, now it is finally open to public. This is not the end of my panorama journey, it is a new start, challenging the limit is an infinite process. New records will appear in the future, it is only a matter of time.


Image dimension: 887276 (w) x 306908 (h)
Date taken: May 25, 2010
Shooting time: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm
Date stitched: Sept 20, 2010
Date open to public: Dec 20, 2010
Raw image size: 1.24 TB
Raw cropped image size: 1.09 TB
Total pixels: 272.31 G
Horizontal viewing angle: 175 degree
Vertical viewing angle: 65 degree (+5 degree to -60 degree)
Total shots: 12,000 (150 columns and 80 rows)
Lens: Canon 400mm F5.6 and 2X tele-converter
Camera: Canon 7D (18M pixels per image)
Estimated overlap: 28% (set to 25%)
Average time per image: 2.4s
Estimated optical pixels: 112G pixels
Projection: spherical
Related images
This is the man cave (office) where I stitched this image. www.gigapan.org/gigapans/68015/
My other Gigapan images ordered by size

www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66287/ (Artist Point – Yellow Stone National Park – 110G pixels)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/59267/ (Park Avenue – Arches National Park – 77G pixels)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/57941/ (My Backyard – Round Lake, IL – 43G pixels)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/58980/ (Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint – Arches National Park – 15G pixels)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/59095/ (Balanced Rock – Arches National Park – 9G pixels)
My favorite images taken in China

www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66837/ (Guilin)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66909/ (Guilin)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/67296/ (Lujiazui’s night – Shanghai)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66841/ (Liu Garden – Suzhou)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66834/ (Zhuo Zheng Garden – Suzhou)

Due to the enormous size of this panorama image, uploading onto Gigapan is also a non-trivial task. I received great help from the Gigapan team, especially Paul Heckbert, Vanessa Constanti, and Randy Sargent.

Gigapixel photography is expensive and time consuming, without the un-conditioned support from my family, this wouldn’t be possible.
More Information

For more details about the creation of this image as well as my panorama related research, please visit www.shanghai-272-gigapixels.com Will open in a new tab or window/ . In addition, I will post the updates on twitter twitter.com/alf168 Will open in a new tab or window , for those who are interested in my panorama journey; you are welcome to follow me.

The creation of this panorama is intended to explore the limit of photo equipment, computer hardware, network resource and various other contributing factors that limit the size of a panorama image. This is by no means a perfect image; there are many aspects to be improved.



上海是全世界人口最多的城市之一,之前没有任何一张照片以如此多的细节来描绘这个城市。这是一张关于上海的“清明上河图”。我拍摄此图的目的是让世界来感受这个快速发展的城市,让世界来更多地了解中国。通过我的超长焦镜头,我希望您作为一个访客,能够融入到上海的都市生活中,来体验一个普通上海人的一天。 我作为一名久居海外的华人,仅以此图献给我的故乡-上海。

在接触Gigapan之前,我使用Manfrotto 303SPH手动云台和鱼眼镜头来拍摄球形全景并且为我的客户制作虚拟旅游图。2009年末,一个偶然的机会,当我在浏览网站时,我看到了由德国著名摄影师Holger Schulze拍摄的26G像素的德莱斯顿(Dresden)全景 (www.dresden-26-gigapixels.com/dresden26GP)。 Will open in a new tab or window 当时这是世界上最大的图片。这幅震撼人心的图片让我很久不能平静下来。直到现在,尽管很多摄影师已经突破了26G像素的图片,我仍然认为这是具有里程碑意义的重要图片之一。 几个月后,又有新的世界纪录问世。 自此,我决定,我要为中国也做一幅这样的图片,希望能为中国人争一口气,在国际竞争中占一席之地。

2010年3月, Gigapan EPIC Pro云台还没有正式上市,在没有看到和试用过这个设备的时候,我毫不犹豫地预定了一台。四月上旬,第一批EPIC Pro上市了,我得到了其中的一台。这是一部非常精密的摄影设备,我爱不释手。在四月中旬我回上海出差之前,全部设备都准备就绪了。

想要创造新的世界纪录并不是一件容易的事情,有很多的限制因素。这包括,相机必须有最高的像素密度;所使用的镜头必须是在云台承载范围内焦距最长的;图片必须直接存储到计算机上;拍摄现场必须有办法为设备长时间供电;拍摄场景必须有丰富的画面,要避免大量天空或水面的空白像素;天气必须平静,这样才不会有风带来的震动;光线条件必须在整个拍摄过程中保持稳定… 尽管有很多的困难,我觉得这是值得去挑战的事情。


可以说,拍摄还只是万里长征的第一步,拼接、后期处理、和显示还有很多困难。由于是一个附属项目,我的时间投入很有限,所以进展很慢。而与此同时,2010年,超大图 的世界纪录在不断地被打破,几乎每个月都有新的记录诞生,我只好望洋兴叹。好在我的图片还足够多,但是时不待我。我完全没有想象到竞争会如此激烈。9月20日,图片终于拼完了。未经后处理的图片是一个1.24 TB的文件。我写了一些工具软件进行后期处理,最终图片为1.09 TB。未经后处理的图片的 1/1000缩略图的网址是http://www.gigapan.org/gigapans/61595/ 。



图片尺寸: 887276 (w) x 306908 (h)
拍摄日期: 2010年5月25日
拍摄时间: 上午8:30 – 下午4:30
拼接完成日期: 2010年9月20日
正式发布日期: 2010年12月20日
未经后处理的图片文件尺寸: 1.24 TB
剪裁后的图片文件尺寸: 1.09 TB
总像素量: 272.31 G
水平拍摄角度: 175度
垂直拍摄角度: 65度 (+5 度到 -60度)
全部图片数: 12000张 (150 列, 80行)
镜头: 佳能400mm F5.6超长焦镜头和 2X长焦增倍镜
相机: 佳能 7D (18M 像素)
重叠量: 28% (设置为25%)
每幅图片平均拍摄时间: 2.4秒
光学像素量: 112G像素
投影方式: 球形
这是我拼图时所使用的办公室的图片: www.gigapan.org/gigapans/68015/

www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66287/ (美国黄石国家公园 – 110G 像素)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/59267/ (Park Avenue – Arches National Park – 77G像素)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/57941/ (我的后院 – Round Lake, IL – 43G 像素)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/58980/ (Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint – Arches National Park – 15G 像素)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/59095/ (Balanced Rock – Arches National Park – 9G 像素)

www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66837/ (中国桂林- 两江四湖)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66909/ (中国桂林-世外桃源)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/67296/ (上海外滩远眺陆家嘴)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66841/ (苏州留园)
www.gigapan.org/gigapans/66834/ (苏州拙政园)

由于图片尺寸极大,上传至Gigapan网站并非易事,感谢 Gigapan团队给予的巨大帮助,尤其是Paul Heckbert, Vanessa Constanti, 和 Randy Sargent。


更多关于制作这幅图片的信息和我在全景摄影方面的研究成果,我会逐渐在我的网站上发布 ( www.shanghai-272-gigapixels.com Will open in a new tab or window/ ) 。 我会把更新信息发布在twitter上( twitter.com/alf168 Will open in a new tab or window ) , 欢迎加入我的twitter群。


Gigapan Comments (84)

Toggle Minimize gigapan_comment
  1. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (October 24, 2011, 02:07PM )

    Just post a few more images, you may find them at www.gigapan.org/profiles/27638/ . A sister image to the Shanghai Skyline is www.gigapan.org/gigapans/90577/ (Beijing Residential Area). I also put a great wall image at www.gigapan.org/gigapans/90650/ .

  2. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (July 02, 2011, 07:31PM )

    I recently post 14 new panoramas taken in Hawaii. www.gigapan.org/profiles/27638/

  3. Thomas Hayden

    Thomas Hayden (July 02, 2011, 11:07AM )

    Alfred, I just want you to know that I show this image to people everyday on my iPhone, and I get gasps everytime I zoom in on the car's license plates and read the brand of AC units in the apartments. People love it! That's the bottom line. Congrats and thank you for the great work and great sales tool for my own imagery. Cheers!

  4. PatagoniaPano

    PatagoniaPano (April 09, 2011, 03:09PM )


  5. BH7 NLJ

    BH7 NLJ (April 02, 2011, 09:44PM )

    很想知道您在处理这张照片时的电脑配置 谢谢

  6. Thomas Teske

    Thomas Teske (March 31, 2011, 10:53AM )

    Hi, this is an enormous achievement as such. my question is: what's the ambition to go further and further in the number of images, since we obvious hit limits due to the available time to consider it being ONE session on location. My understanding is: this will lead to either much faster image capture requirements OR to a new idea: instead of doing everything to get the light conditions homogenous during a session - why not allowing it to change radically and thus show in ONE stitched image the lapse of time and changes in light conditions. This could be also done using individual images stitched later on like in time-lapse. The new firmware if EpicPro supports this and I'm looking forward finding first examples. Briefly: discovering the opportunities provided by EpicPro and the tools is still in progress - we can all still discover something new here. Kind regards Thomas

  7. Loren Peterson

    Loren Peterson (March 27, 2011, 06:33AM )

    Great accomplishment. One thing I have been struggling with is getting good image quality when using either a 400mm with 2x extender or a 200 mm with a 2x extender. Because many panoramas need an extended DOF I've had to stop down to f32 or even f45 to get all the foreground and background sharp. Because of this I've had to use a slower shutter speed and high ISO resulting in poor image quality. I shoot with the 7D BTW. What settings did you use for these shots? Also I have considered shooting left to right and pausing to adjust focus as the rows move down. Have you tried this at all? Once again great work!

  8. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (February 16, 2011, 04:00AM )

    chtseng, You really need to brush up your geometry. The overlap region is still in the picture, they are not simply gone. Therefore, the way you calculate the image size is completely wrong. People will be laughing at your post.

  9. Tseng Cheng Hsun

    Tseng Cheng Hsun (February 14, 2011, 08:02PM )

    hi Alfred sorry, I think the correct arithmetic should be: 12000 * 18M * 0.25 = 54G pixels because there are 4 regions (top, bottom, left & right areas) need to be overlapped. Which means, 1 photo only contribute 1/4 area for the panorama if overlap ratio is 0.25.

  10. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (February 14, 2011, 07:49PM )

    chtseng, Don't take it as an offense, you will need to catch up some basic geometry. Based on your model, the number should be 12000 * 18M * (1 - 0.25) * (1 - 0.25) = 121.5 G pixels. A more accurate estimation is 112G pixels. The discussion in this thread is about should people alter experiment data or not. Different model may yield different estimation, therefore, estimation should not be used to manipulate output. Anyway, I had enough discussion with a lot of people already. BTW, gigapan uploader does not have problem reporting the uploaded pixels. This is a known fact.

  11. Tseng Cheng Hsun

    Tseng Cheng Hsun (February 14, 2011, 05:27PM )

    hi I think that GigaPan uploader has error on calculating the pixels for images stitched by autoPano Giga software. if photo's overlap ratio is 25%, then actually only 1/4 center area is used ( deduct top, bottom, left & right , each has 25% overlap). 12000 photos x 18000000 pixels x 25% is 54000000000 pixels, about only 54 Gigapixels.

  12. Vanessa Constanti

    Vanessa Constanti (February 03, 2011, 11:05AM )

    So engrossing! I wouldn't want to visit a city again without first exploring a Gigapan.

  13. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (January 20, 2011, 06:52PM )

    The un-cropped version is also uploaded and can be found at gigapan.org/gigapans/e2d7089560f22b decf8a3715ea65f762/ . The upload is intended to help testing the new gigapan uploader.

  14. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (January 09, 2011, 01:38PM )

    关于PTGUI,在做大图的情况下,基本上是不可行,Gigapan的自带拼图软件可以拼接2000张或以 下的图片,更大的需要用Autopano。无细节的图片,由于拍摄顺序,可以直接放到它相对应的位置上,我 提到的这两款软件都能做到。至于购买Gigapan,你可以直接在Gigapan的网站上定,他们可以发货 到中国,不过你可能需要能直接付款到海外的信用卡。或者你可以请海外的可以信赖的朋友帮你定,然后寄给你。

  15. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (January 09, 2011, 01:28PM )

    For English viewers, the question was about the shooting sequence. To avoid problem due to shade, I used column-first shooting order. Even though row-first order may be more stable, the resulting un-even shade will be very difficult to process.

  16. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (January 09, 2011, 12:56PM )

    Gigafoto, 为了避免阴影,我采用的方法是向北背南,自西向东,自上而下,以列优先拍摄的。这样,就有效的避免了阴影的 问题。当面向正南正北时,自西向东的列优先比较合适。当面正西时,自上而下的行优先比较好。当面向正东时, 也是行优先,不过,开拍时间要上午稍晚一些。其他方向,需要更具体的分析了。

  17. Sui xuming

    Sui xuming (January 09, 2011, 04:42AM )

    How to buy the GigaPan system in China? Help me please,Thanks! Alfred ,你是怎么订到 GigaPan system 的,在国内有技术支持吗?我的英语很差。如何购买?帮助我,谢谢! Alfred ,"上午8:30分开拍,平均2.4秒一张图片,我拍摄了12000张,并且在下午4:30分结束。" 请问:你是否面向南背北、至西向东、由上至下拍摄的,还是面北朝南、由西向东、由上往下拍摄的?因为这么长 的拍摄时间,阴影变化问题是很难处理的。谢谢!

  18. Sui xuming

    Sui xuming (January 09, 2011, 04:15AM )

    我也曾使用Manfrotto 303SPH手动云台+长焦镜头来拍摄全景,但是后期制作很困难,我使用PTGui pro软件来合成,但是在没有反差的图片中,如大面积的蓝天、水、雾等完全没有参照点的情况下,拼接就非常 困难,希望像你和Giagpan user学习!也希望能有您(Alfred Zhao) 的联系方式。 My email:sxmtv@126.com My TeL:13941613144

  19. Sui xuming

    Sui xuming (January 09, 2011, 04:04AM )


  20. Alfred  Zhao

    Alfred Zhao (January 07, 2011, 08:33PM )

    Hi, Taaplari, You raised a very interesting question, I think the resolution of a gigapan is a multivariate problem. It is determined by the original image quality, image dimension, distance from the camera to the object, Often, it is not very comparable or even very subjective.

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