Panorama Formation using Image Stitching using OpenCV

Source: Deep Learning on Medium

Panorama Formation using Image Stitching using OpenCV


Hola Amigos,

As some of you may know, I am writing a series of articles explaining various common functionalities of today’s mobile cameras like panorama, HDR, Slow-mo, Ghosting etc.

Similarly, this article is the first portion of my two-part article series on Panorama / Image stitching. This article will focus on the basics of Panorama formation using two images, which will be used in the next article where we will be seeing how to stitch together multiple images.

Let’s Get Started

To construct our image panorama, we’ll utilize computer vision and image processing techniques such as: keypoint detection and local invariant descriptors; keypoint matching; RANSAC; and perspective warping.

Since there are major differences in how OpenCV 2.4.X and OpenCV 3.X handle keypoint detection and local invariant descriptors (such as SIFT and SURF), I’ve taken special care to provide code that is compatible with both versions (provided that you compiled OpenCV 3 with opencv_contrib support, of course).

OpenCV Panorama Stitching

Example of Keypoints and Local invariant extraction

Our panorama stitching algorithm consists of four steps:

  • Step #1: Detect keypoints (DoG, Harris, etc.) and extract local invariant descriptors (SIFT, SURF, etc.) from the two input images.
  • Step #2: Match the descriptors between the two images.
  • Step #3: Use the RANSAC algorithm to estimate a homography matrix using our matched feature vectors.
  • Step #4: Apply a warping transformation using the homography matrix obtained from Step #3.

We’ll encapsulate all four of these steps inside , where we’ll define a Stitcher class used to construct our panoramas.

The Stitcher class will rely on the imutils Python package, so if you don’t already have it installed on your system, you’ll want to go ahead and do that now:

# import the necessary packages
import numpy as np
import imutils
import cv2
class Stitcher:
def __init__(self):
# determine if we are using OpenCV v3.X
self.isv3 = imutils.is_cv3(or_better=True)
def stitch(self, images, ratio=0.75, reprojThresh=4.0,showMatches=False):
# unpack the images, then detect keypoints and extract
# local invariant descriptors from them
(imageB, imageA) = images
(kpsA, featuresA) = self.detectAndDescribe(imageA)
(kpsB, featuresB) = self.detectAndDescribe(imageB)
# match features between the two images
M = self.matchKeypoints(kpsA, kpsB, featuresA, featuresB, ratio, reprojThresh)
# if the match is None, then there aren’t enough matched
# keypoints to create a panorama
if M is None:
return None

The stitch method requires only a single parameter, images , which is the list of (two) images that we are going to stitch together to form the panorama.

We can also optionally supply ratio , used for David Lowe’s ratio test when matching features (more on this ratio test later in the tutorial), reprojThresh which is the maximum pixel “wiggle room” allowed by the RANSAC algorithm, and finally showMatches , a boolean used to indicate if the keypoint matches should be visualized or not.

Line 4 unpacks the images list (which again, we presume to contain only two images). The ordering to the images list is important: we expect images to be supplied in left-to-right order. If images are not supplied in this order, then our code will still run — but our output panorama will only contain one image, not both.

Once we have unpacked the images list, we make a call to the detectAndDescribe method on Lines 5 and 6. This method simply detects keypoints and extracts local invariant descriptors (i.e., SIFT) from the two images.

Given the keypoints and features, we use matchKeypoints (Lines 9 and 10) to match the features in the two images. We’ll define this method later in the lesson.

If the returned matches M are None , then not enough keypoints were matched to create a panorama, so we simply return to the calling function .

Otherwise, we are now ready to apply the perspective transform:

# otherwise, apply a perspective warp to stitch the images
# together
(matches, H, status) = M
result = cv2.warpPerspective(imageA, H,
(imageA.shape[1] + imageB.shape[1], imageA.shape[0]))
result[0:imageB.shape[0], 0:imageB.shape[1]] = imageB
# check to see if the keypoint matches should be visualized
if showMatches:
vis = self.drawMatches(imageA, imageB, kpsA, kpsB, matches,status)
# return a tuple of the stitched image and the
# visualization
return (result, vis)
# return the stitched image
return result

Provided that M is not None , we unpack the tuple on Line 30, giving us a list of keypoint matches , the homography matrix H derived from the RANSAC algorithm, and finally status , a list of indexes to indicate which keypoints in matches were successfully spatially verified using RANSAC.

Given our homography matrix H , we are now ready to stitch the two images together. First, we make a call to cv2.warpPerspective which requires three arguments: the image we want to warp (in this case, the right image), the 3 x 3 transformation matrix ( H ), and finally the shape out of the output image. We derive the shape out of the output image by taking the sum of the widths of both images and then using the height of the second image.

Line 2 makes a check to see if we should visualize the keypoint matches, and if so, we make a call to drawMatches and return a tuple of both the panorama and visualization to the calling method (Lines 9–14).

Otherwise, we simply returned the stitched image (Line 17).

Now that the stitch method has been defined, let’s look into some of the helper methods that it calls. We’ll start with detectAndDescribe :

def detectAndDescribe(self, image):# convert the image to grayscale
gray = cv2.cvtColor(image, cv2.COLOR_BGR2GRAY)
# check to see if we are using OpenCV 3.X
if self.isv3:
# detect and extract features from the image
descriptor = cv2.xfeatures2d.SIFT_create()
(kps, features) = descriptor.detectAndCompute(image, None)
# otherwise, we are using OpenCV 2.4.X
# detect keypoints in the image
detector = cv2.FeatureDetector_create(“SIFT”)
kps = detector.detect(gray)
# extract features from the image
extractor = cv2.DescriptorExtractor_create(“SIFT”)
(kps, features) = extractor.compute(gray, kps)
# convert the keypoints from KeyPoint objects to NumPy
# arrays
kps = np.float32([ for kp in kps])
# return a tuple of keypoints and features
return (kps, features)

As the name suggests, the detectAndDescribe method accepts an image, then detects keypoints and extracts local invariant descriptors. In our implementation we use the Difference of Gaussian (DoG) keypoint detector and the SIFT feature extractor.

On Line 5 we check to see if we are using OpenCV 3.X. If we are, then we use the cv2.xfeatures2d.SIFT_create function to instantiate both our DoG keypoint detector and SIFT feature extractor. A call to detectAndCompute handles extracting the keypoints and features (Lines 54 and 55).

It’s important to note that you must have compiled OpenCV 3.X with opencv_contrib support enabled. If you did not, you’ll get an error such as AttributeError: ‘module’ object has no attribute ‘xfeatures2d’ . If that’s the case, head over to my OpenCV 3 tutorials page where I detail how to install OpenCV 3 with opencv_contrib support enabled for a variety of operating systems and Python versions.

Lines 11–18 handle if we are using OpenCV 2.4. The cv2.FeatureDetector_create function instantiates our keypoint detector (DoG). A call to detect returns our set of keypoints.

From there, we need to initialize cv2.DescriptorExtractor_create using the SIFT keyword to setup our SIFT feature extractor . Calling the compute method of the extractor returns a set of feature vectors which quantify the region surrounding each of the detected keypoints in the image.

Finally, our keypoints are converted from KeyPoint objects to a NumPy array (Line 69) and returned to the calling method (Line 72).

Next up, let’s look at the matchKeypoints method:

def matchKeypoints(self, kpsA, kpsB, featuresA, featuresB,
ratio, reprojThresh):
# compute the raw matches and initialize the list of actual
# matches
matcher = cv2.DescriptorMatcher_create(“BruteForce”)
rawMatches = matcher.knnMatch(featuresA, featuresB, 2)
matches = []
# loop over the raw matches
for m in rawMatches:
# ensure the distance is within a certain ratio of each
# other (i.e. Lowe’s ratio test)
if len(m) == 2 and m[0].distance < m[1].distance * ratio:
matches.append((m[0].trainIdx, m[0].queryIdx))
# computing a homography requires at least 4 matches
if len(matches) > 4:
# construct the two sets of points
ptsA = np.float32([kpsA[i] for (_, i) in matches])
ptsB = np.float32([kpsB[i] for (i, _) in matches])
# compute the homography between the two sets of points
(H, status) = cv2.findHomography(ptsA, ptsB, cv2.RANSAC,
# return the matches along with the homograpy matrix
# and status of each matched point
return (matches, H, status)
# otherwise, no homograpy could be computed
return None

The matchKeypoints function requires four arguments: the keypoints and feature vectors associated with the first image, followed by the keypoints and feature vectors associated with the second image. David Lowe’s ratio test variable and RANSAC re-projection threshold are also be supplied.

Matching features together is actually a fairly straightforward process. We simply loop over the descriptors from both images, compute the distances, and find the smallest distance for each pair of descriptors. Since this is a very common practice in computer vision, OpenCV has a built-in function called cv2.DescriptorMatcher_create that constructs the feature matcher for us. The BruteForce value indicates that we are going to exhaustively compute the Euclidean distance between all feature vectors from both images and find the pairs of descriptors that have the smallest distance.

A call to knnMatch on Line 5 performs k-NN matching between the two feature vector sets using k=2 (indicating the top two matches for each feature vector are returned).

The reason we want the top two matches rather than just the top one match is because we need to apply David Lowe’s ratio test for false-positive match pruning.

Again, Line 5 computes the rawMatches for each pair of descriptors — but there is a chance that some of these pairs are false positives, meaning that the image patches are not actually true matches. In an attempt to prune these false-positive matches, we can loop over each of the rawMatches individually (Line 9 ) and apply Lowe’s ratio test, which is used to determine high-quality feature matches. Typical values for Lowe’s ratio are normally in the range [0.7, 0.8].

Computing a homography between two sets of points requires at a bare minimum an initial set of four matches. For a more reliable homography estimation, we should have substantially more than just four matched points.

Finally, the last method in our Stitcher method, drawMatches is used to visualize keypoint correspondences between two images:

def drawMatches(self, imageA, imageB, kpsA, kpsB, matches, status):
# initialize the output visualization image
(hA, wA) = imageA.shape[:2]
(hB, wB) = imageB.shape[:2]
vis = np.zeros((max(hA, hB), wA + wB, 3), dtype=”uint8")
vis[0:hA, 0:wA] = imageA
vis[0:hB, wA:] = imageB
# loop over the matches
for ((trainIdx, queryIdx), s) in zip(matches, status):
# only process the match if the keypoint was successfully
# matched
if s == 1:
# draw the match
ptA = (int(kpsA[queryIdx][0]), int(kpsA[queryIdx][1]))
ptB = (int(kpsB[trainIdx][0]) + wA, int(kpsB[trainIdx][1]))
cv2.line(vis, ptA, ptB, (0, 255, 0), 1)
# return the visualization
return vis

This method requires that we pass in the two original images, the set of keypoints associated with each image, the initial matches after applying Lowe’s ratio test, and finally the status list provided by the homography calculation. Using these variables, we can visualize the “inlier” keypoints by drawing a straight line from keypoint N in the first image to keypoint M in the second image.

Now that we have our Stitcher class defined, let’s move on to creating the driver script:

# import the necessary packages
from pyimagesearch.panorama import Stitcher
import argparse
import imutils
import cv2
# construct the argument parse and parse the arguments
ap = argparse.ArgumentParser()
ap.add_argument(“-f”, “ — first”, required=True,
help=”path to the first image”)
ap.add_argument(“-s”, “ — second”, required=True,
help=”path to the second image”)
args = vars(ap.parse_args())
# load the two images and resize them to have a width of 400 pixels
# (for faster processing)
imageA = cv2.imread(args[“first”])
imageB = cv2.imread(args[“second”])
imageA = imutils.resize(imageA, width=400)
imageB = imutils.resize(imageB, width=400)
# stitch the images together to create a panorama
stitcher = Stitcher()
(result, vis) = stitcher.stitch([imageA, imageB], showMatches=True)
# show the images
cv2.imshow(“Image A”, imageA)
cv2.imshow(“Image B”, imageB)
cv2.imshow(“Keypoint Matches”, vis)
cv2.imshow(“Result”, result)

We start off by importing our required packages on Lines 2–5. Notice how we’ve placed the and Stitcher class into the pyimagesearch module just to keep our code tidy.

Note: If you are following along with this post and having trouble organizing your code, please be sure to download the source code using the form at the bottom of this post. The .zip of the code download will run out of the box without any errors.

From there, Lines 8–14 parse our command line arguments: — first , which is the path to the first image in our panorama (the left-most image), and — second , the path to the second image in the panorama (the right-most image).

Remember, these image paths need to be suppled in left-to-right order!

Panorama Stitching Results :

The matched keypoint correspondences between the two images.

Above image shows the keypoint relation between the two images. You can observe that the code easily recognizes all the keypoints between the two images and using these images, it can easily stitch the images.

In the above input images we can see heavy overlap between the two input images. The main addition to the panorama is towards the right side of the stitched images where we can see more of the “ledge” is added to the output.

So there you have it, image stitching and panorama construction using Python and OpenCV!

Summary :

In this blog post we learned how to perform image stitching and panorama construction using OpenCV. Source code was provided for image stitching for both OpenCV 2.4 and OpenCV 3.

Our image stitching algorithm requires four steps: (1) detecting keypoints and extracting local invariant descriptors; (2) matching descriptors between images; (3) applying RANSAC to estimate the homography matrix; and (4) applying a warping transformation using the homography matrix.

While simple, this algorithm works well in practice when constructing panoramas for two images. In a future blog post, we’ll review how to construct panoramas and perform image stitching for more than two images.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this post!