Panoramic images can be created from a number of separate photographs taken with conventional cameras fitted with wide-angle or fish-eye lenses. The digital files are combined using specialized panoramic software tools to create a single panoramic image. Photoshop includes facilities for merging multiple images, but other dedicated packages have greater capabilities. Some software packages can also create true spherical panoramas. Images may have to be remapped into the co-ordinate system to be used for the final panoramic image, and correctly orientated relative to each other.
The range of panoramic software available is large and incorporates varying degrees of sophistication. Some of the programs are free, but others must be purchased. It is therefore worthwhile comparing capabilities of each before making a selection. For instance, some programs assume that the horizon is close to the centre of the image, which is obviously not always the case. Other software may be limited to handling input images created using rectilinear lenses, and cannot deal with those captured using fish-eye optics. PTGui, which has a free trial version, and PTGui Pro, which is quite expensive, are very capable and popular programs. Hugin, another free stitching program, is also widely used. PanoWeaver Standard offers professional facilities at a higher price but a free trial version is available.