Making of: step 3, the rendering

Last step before putting the image on-line: the rendering. The rendering is the process where the final image is actually generated in Autopano Giga after the panorama edition.

Thanks to Intel, we were able to take advantage of powerful hardware to render the image in record time. Let’s ponder a bit: we borrowed an Intel Server System SR2600UR that included 2 Intel Xeon processors 5500 series and 6 SSD hard drives of 160 GB each, allowing a much faster data writing than standard hard drives. With this hardware that would have certainly made a number of geeks jealous (16 cores, 24 GB RAM, 1 TB SSD), the rendering lasted only 3 hours and 14 minutes: an amazing performance. Two years ago for the record of Harlem 13 Gigapixels, we needed 48 hours for the rendering to complete; the image was two times smaller. You can read more about this in the case study written by Intel.

But the hardest part is yet to come…

It is true that, thanks to a good hardware and software that can exploit all available power, it is rather easy to create large images such as Paris 26 Gigapixels. But the necessary adjustments that have to be made thereafter can be numerous:
- First, the quality of the stitching was very good and there was virtually no assembly errors in the image of Paris.  But we had to better harmonize the colors in some areas of the sky. This is a real technological challenge.
- Second, our lawyer had the excellent idea of advising us to mask any areas that could be an invasion of privacy, including license plates and recognizable faces! We had to split the view into smaller pieces that could be edited in Photoshop. Note: Photoshop is internally limited to a size of 300,000 by 300,000 pixels. So the image of Paris could not be opened directly. I take this opportunity here to make an appeal to John Nack: “Hey John, in the next Photoshop, please raise this internal limit to 3,000,000, for example. ;) Thanks John!

We embarked on this great job of blurring or masking the said areas, something that is not so easy when the image you are working on is the size of two football fields! We developed a tool that can cut, and then easily reassemble such large images. It will soon be made available to the Autopano community.

We took advantage of the required retouching step to include a few surprises in the picture so that you can also have fun searching for little details everywhere! There are 10: we  let you discover them by yourself :) What? Easter eggs? Yes sir!

Along with the editing work, the website has been prepared and asks nothing more than to receive this giant image in its two versions:
- The default version, in Flash format, which includes interactive elements like an automatic visit. The Flash viewer used is KRPano, the same technology we use in our product Autopano Tour.
- The version in HDview format, accessible via the top-right button, does not offer the interactive features but offers a smoother experience while navigating inside the image.

Finally, we had to cope with one last issue: offer this experience to everyone regardless of server load. This website is made up from 600,000 files indeed. Our partner IPSyn helped us in geolocalized deployment on many servers around the world. With this, we should take the load :)

Have a nice visit to Paris and see you soon for new gigapixel adventures.

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85 Responses to “Making of: step 3, the rendering”

  1. Peter G. Says:

    Your comment about Photoshop was stated incorrectly.

    Photoshop supports image files up to 300,000 _by_ 300,000 pixels in size, or 90,000,000,000 pixels total– not just 300,000 pixels.

    Since your image is 354,159 pixels across, it does indeed exceed the limits of Photoshop, but you should have explained this more correctly by saying “…a width of 300,000 pixels” rather than “…a size of 300,000 pixels.”

  2. Rami Says:

    You are right, we will add this detail.

  3. TomC Says:

    Easter Eggs? Is the group of men standing on the roof in front of the Palace one of them?

    Can you find the knife and fork? How about the doll?

  4. Rami Says:

    No, these are real policemen :)

  5. Avinash D Says:

    I read all 3 parts of the series…this is incredible!!! I can’t even think of something like this….a CITY!!!!?!?!!my congratulations mon ami…this is something else. I wish internet speeds in India were up to scratch for me to load the actual image….

    Makes me wanna do a pano of my suburb…

  6. Rami Says:

    Photoshop PSB format has a internal limitation of 300,000 pixels at most in any size. So width cannot be > of 300,000 or height cannot be > 300,000.
    This image is 354,000 pixels, so even if it would have just one row, we cannot open it. The total number of pixel doesn’t count, just the width and height value.

  7. Han Cheng Says:

    Wow, the paranoma shot was amazing! Nice capture of Paris!

  8. Igor Klajo Says:

    Amazing job and thanks for explaining how you did it.

  9. Tamra Schnyder Says:

    found the turtle!!

  10. Peter Says:

    Absolutely astonishing! A wonderful accomplishment in every sense of the word. Thank you for sharing this.

  11. Savage Says:

    I think I found an easter egg… is that a picture of the team that looks like graffiti on the side of a chimney?

  12. Savage Says:

    This is just amazing…. I can’t stop looking at it, and zooming around and looking at stuff! I saw what looked like a bear on a rooftop… but zooming in didn’t help, so I think it’s just a blur or a shadow or something.

    Also, I find it odd that I’ve only seen one pigeon so far. With so many rooftops, you’d think there would be more. And people… where are all the people that should be on their balconies enjoying what looks to be a beautiful day?!?

    This is wonderful!

  13. Savage Says:

    I think I found another?

    Easter Egg – Frog playing a guitar?

  14. Owen Says:

    This is fantastic work guys, well done.
    I love the easter eggs! So far I’ve found the picture of the team on the wall that @Savage found and the beaver. Completely threw me at first as I didn’t know there were any easter eggs in the picture, I thought someone had a pet beaver on their roof!

  15. Eric Hanson Says:

    A big congratulations Arnaud and Alexandre! The image and project presentation really turned out very impressively. BTW, we found out from Stephen Johnson that he was consulted from Adobe many years ago what the ultimate size limit should be for PS, and he arbitrarily said, “I don’t know, 300k?”. So the point is, perhaps under some demand Adobe can extend the limit for us gigapanographers..

    Great work all!

  16. anthony Says:

    ok i found the turtle.
    and i found a pair of boots just sitting outside a doorway, is that an easter egg?

  17. bjoern Says:

    Awesome shot!

    Which OS did you use to run Autopano?

  18. narizza Says:

    man, this is awesome, are you gonna make the same project in other city? I want to be there to see the burst shooting!

  19. Paige Bekcett Says:

    Lots of people are finding the turtle; likely because of its proximity to a major attraction. Are all the eggs turtles?

  20. Paige Bekcett Says:

    You’ll know it’s an easter egg because there will be a tiny digit next to it. Anyone who found the turtle knows that.

  21. TomC Says:

    The tiny numbers are very hard to spot and read, but I’m fairly certain that finding #3 is as easy as pie…

    And is the “beaver” (or whatever that critter is) #2?

  22. TomC Says:

    OK, lunch time is over, back to work. But the Earl of Kolor is #8.

  23. Freeze Says:

    I found an advertisement of Kolor with #1 (supposing I have recognized it correctly :)

    Thanks a lot. It’s a very very good job.

  24. Savage Says:

    Aha… now I see the numbers!!
    #1 ??
    #2 Beaver (not found yet.
    #3 easy as pie?? (not found yet!)
    #4 is the green frog playing guitar.
    #5 ??
    #6 is the giant Turtle.
    #7 is the graffiti of the 10 people.
    #8 is the license plate.
    #9 ??
    #10 ??

  25. Hamish Says:

    Great result and great to read about how you managed to piece it all together. Superb! I wonder; what do you have planned for next time?!

  26. AndyM Says:

    Fantastic job! absolutely spectacular! Thank you.

    I stumbled across some cheese with the Kolor logo on :)

  27. robagp Says:

    #1 Kolor logo
    #9 Kolor logo in a cheese /the ceese on a table, neer a blue sunchair (the picture: vertical middle and horisontal bottom,)/

    I can’t find the #4 green frog playing guitar
    please help me, thnx!

  28. Rick Says:

    “Our lawyer had the excellent idea to advise us to mask any areas that could be an invasion of privacy, including license plates and recognizable faces! We had to split the view into smaller pieces that could be edited in Photoshop.”
    Out of curiosity – why not do so in the original images – pre-warping/stitching. Considering it only took a few hours to warp/stitch anyway ;)

  29. SB Says:

    What’s the title of the beautiful music you used? Who’s the composer?

  30. Matteo Says:

    what about the cat in the roof in front of Saint Sulpice ?
    I guess it is just a dead cat as I don’t see the number and it as the same CLA of the image…

  31. daniel Says:


    How big was the complete stiched image in bytes?


  32. AlessandraItaly Says:

    I’ve just found UFOS in the sky, just above Saint Sulpice! is n* 10 ;)

  33. daniel Says:

    #3: Easy as 3:14… Got it :)

  34. Roel Kramer Says:

    Ha! I found #3! It’s in a neonsign of a pharmacie. It reads 3:14 π, referring to the 360 degrees photo. There is a tiny number 3 next to it.


  35. Charlotte Says:

    It’s absolutely wonderful!!!You did an amazing JOB!!!!!

  36. jacobo villegas Says:

    i found 1 egg, a cheese with your company name on a terrace

  37. SylvieFrance Says:

    I’m fooled by your work, I love your site, y could (will ?) stay hours and hours to see details of Paris I never seen before… Thank you for that, and BRAVO !

  38. Virtual Tuur Says:

    Very very nice!!

    I was wondering…
    did you stitch in RAW? or did you first render to .tif or .jpg…


    Thanx for this beautifull picture.


  39. fede+lidia Says:

    we found the turtle and the group of men on the roof…
    now we are looking for the frog!!!!

  40. omar Says:

    esta poca madre, al menos todo mundo conocera Paris

  41. DG Says:

    #1 Kolor logo
    #3 indeed easy as pie!
    #6 the giant Turtle
    #8 license plate.
    #9 kolor logo on cheese
    #10 UFOs

    not found:
    #2 “Beaver” on a roof
    #4 is the green frog playing guitar. – curious about this one!
    #5 ??
    #7 is the graffiti of team on a chimney

    is there any other list of these?

    how many yellow garden hoses have you found yet xD?

  42. Yves Papillon Says:

    Avez-vous remarqué l’affiche de la librairie photo La chambre claire ?

  43. tim gray Says:

    RE the license plate comment – I smiled when I saw the license plate of the white van… :)

  44. Curtis Says:

    Very cool! Though the interface and interactivity is not nearly as cool as the picture and is rather hard to use. Have you guys tried working with Microsoft’s Snapdragon tech (

  45. Feliper Says:

    As soon as you decide to do a similar picture of Rio de Janeiro, I can help you find excellent spots!


  46. Maxim Says:

    HAHAHA i found A PISTOL lying on a rooftop… but it is either very well photoshopped or just real :-)
    It is not numbered…

    It’s at the complete bottom, a bit to the right, the building closer to the camera than the one with the playground on top…

    Is that an egg?

  47. Adolfo Says:

    Congratulations on the fantastic work. I have found:

    To the left of Saint Eustache, at street level, next to the yellow van, a logo on the flagstaff.

    Many thanks.

  48. saint saens Says:

    Wow. I walk in front of St Sulpice several times a week, I’ll give you guys a thought next time. Chapeau les gars!

  49. Boudewijn BAELE Says:

    Fantastisch mooie prestatie ! …. om uren naar te kijken .. Proficiat !

  50. Boudewijn BAELE ( Flanders-Belgium) Says:

    Fantastisch mooie prestatie ! …. om uren naar te kijken .. Proficiat !
    Exquisite performance …. keeps me busy for hours…. Congratulations !!!

  51. Savage Says:

    Well, I’m still looking, although I’m having to get work done… seeing other comments are helping (#5 alludes us all at this time?):

    #1 Kolor Logo? (I’ve not found yet)
    #2 Beaver (I’ve not found yet).
    #3 Green Clock – 3:14 & pi symbol
    #4 Green frog playing guitar (it’s sitting in a window).
    #5 ??
    #6 Giant Turtle on a roof.
    #7 Graffiti of the 10 people on the side of a chimney.
    #8 license plate.
    #9 cheese (on a rooftop patio)
    #10 2 UFO’s in the sky (near the top, to the right from Notre Dame)

  52. sketch martin Says:

    Absolutely amazing job guys. Thanks so much for explaining the process too. My French friends are once again raving about their beautiful city.

  53. Olivier Says:

    Mon Dieu ! Que c’est beau…


  54. Ricardo Says:

    Magnificent!!! I found a guy taking pics from a window with a 300mm lens but I didn’t find what was so interesting for that guy, I guess you did it. hahaha.

    Beautiful Paris!!!!

  55. dulce Says:

    Excelente trabajo. Lo disfruté todo. Gracias por compartirlo y contarnos el proceso de realización. BRAVO

  56. Carsten Says:

    First of all: Superb job!!!!
    Did someone find the number 5?
    I couldn´t find the frog. Can someone give a hint?

  57. chris Says:

    what is the size in GB of the picture(s)/file???
    great work guys!!!
    pls let me know via email i really am curious.

  58. jj Says:

    Incredible! Congratulations on the fruits of your labor. This is an image one can spend days in!

    I can’t wait to see your vacation photo …10 countries …1 photo! :)


  59. itsAngelo Says:

    This is just Amazing work…
    Everyone involved with this project…… Thank-You for sharing.
    Canon Cameras…. Much Love. Diggin’ my 7D. Could not afford the 5DM11, but this is a true testament to your products.

    To : “Peter G.” Really…. Seriously, negative type comments from the moment it was released. Wow. Dig deeper dude. Not into this project, but your soul.
    Come back later with an open mind.

  60. Jana Says:

    Found #5!
    A traffic light with three red lights!

  61. DG Says:

    a traffic light with only red light(s) – nothing odd about that. xD
    still gotta find: 2, 4 and 5

    …darn, theres not a low of road on the picture, and I have found 2 traffic lights yet, one was green and the other I looked at from the back <,<

    also looking for the pistol and cat on a roof and shoes in a door but not yet found them o.O …

  62. Savage Says:

    Hint for those looking for the frog. It’s in the left half of the image, and it’s not far away (it’s not distant). It’s sitting on the window sill of an open window.

    #1 Kolor Logo on a banner/sign
    #2 Beaver (I’ve not found yet).
    #3 Green Clock – 3:14 & pi symbol
    #4 Green frog playing guitar (it’s sitting in a window).
    #5 Traffic Light with 3 red lights. (#1 & #5 are VERY close to each other, same road).
    #6 Giant Turtle on a roof.
    #7 Graffiti of the 10 people on the side of a chimney.
    #8 license plate.
    #9 cheese (on a rooftop patio)
    #10 2 UFO’s in the sky (near the top, to the right from Notre Dame)

  63. Samuel Dambroso Says:

    I found the beaver:

    is it?


  64. Julien Says:

    Good job !

  65. DG Says:

    Yay! thx for the tips. Now I find the traffic lights.
    Actually, that was the first place where I looked, but the traffic looks like a big mess and it still took me more then a minute to find it now I knew it was there o.O xD
    I was actually looking at the other traffic lights… until I found out I was just looking past and just next to it xD
    btw, on the other side of the road are similar traffic lights, all red, but they arent lighted.

    Savage, so you have ANY IDEA how many windows there are in the left half o.O? I thought Id already looked at them all xD now I gotta look another time…
    darn. cant find it. D: :P can you give another tip xD plz? is it left or right from the turtle xD?
    soooo maney windows… OEH Rolex xD
    nvm. found the frog! its a bit left of the Rolex shop :P
    hmm…. now I know where it is, I see that I kinda have seen every other window around it (especially just above it xD) about a thousand times xD xD

    one more beaver to go! =D

  66. SM Says:

    Beaver…on the left near bottom..look for the roof top with the table and chairs, lots of pots and small atrium and trees just to the right

  67. mm Says:

    Hi all,

    first of all a true gieant and brilliant work.
    I read about your “easter eggs” but ist seems meerly impossible to find them….

    Finally I found the beaver and the UFOS.
    But the rest? The frog on the left?? The giant turtle?? Not even mentioning traffic lights or A van…?

    Anybody willing to help??
    Cheers MM

  68. Savage Says:

    Wow… nice beaver!! hahah That’s crazy, I knew exactly which rooftop you were talking about, looked at it probably a 100 times… never saw it there!!! Thanks!

  69. Michael Says:

    great job, very impressive work. would love to have your hardware for a week. keep going the good stuff – thanks for sharing.

  70. Francois Says:

    Where will be (or is already by now) this tool you mentioned to cut and join the large pieces? I’d very interested in that for my work.

  71. Gerry Sacchetti Says:

    Most autoblog tools are pricy! Get blogblog, perfect!

  72. Jônatas Says:

    Projeto fantástico!!! Nunca vi nada igual. Parabéns!

  73. HAMZA Says:

    Hi guys, an awesome job u all done. VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY VERY NICE JOB!!!


  74. Greg Says:

    Here is the gun, but I don’t think it’s an Easter egg!

  75. djonline Says:

    Why HD version is yellow color, but flash version is normal white ?

  76. Savage Says:

    @Greg Wow! Awesome find… doesn’t appear to be an easter egg if they did indeed number each of them.

    Anyone else have anything interesting?

  77. Savage Says:

    Not an easter egg or anything too odd, but I was wondering if anyone could tell me what this is? Painting, sculpture, nice graffiti? Also, is there any significance, or is it just there for no reason?

  78. Easter Egg Says:

    Huaueaaheu looks like someone left something “hanging” :P

    I wonder if the owner of this piece is Italian :P

  79. Europe Traveler Info Says:

    I was looking for travel related articles and this was helpful

  80. Easter Egg Says:

    Ok, found them all! That was amusing hehehe!

    Here’s the list, I won’t post the exact location because I don’t wanna spoil the fun, if anybody needs any hints as to where to find them, just ask! :P

    #01 – Kolor AD
    #02 – Beaver (not a rabbit :P )
    #03 – 3:14 Pi Logo
    #04 – Frog playing guitar
    #05 – 3-red Traffic Light
    #06 – Giant Turtle
    #07 – Team Graffiti on the wall
    #08 – Kolor license plate
    #09 – Kolor Cheese
    #10 – 2 UFO’s in the sky

  81. Icewolf Says:

    The song is Amelie by Yann Tiersen, a french music and compositor.
    Really nice work!

  82. Armand Says:

    Can you see the ghost of a bus? Hint, there is a girl walking on a sidewalk, next to her there is something that looks like a tourist bus that is partially blurred and cut off during the stitching.

  83. Savage Says:

    @Armand: This one?

  84. ThurahT Says:

    I found all xept the graffiti of the team.. : / The gun was the first thing I ever spotted, maybe report to la guardia? : ) and that crow sitting on the Sulpice. Have you guys spotted the camera with telezoom sticking out from a window shooting straight into another window? Weird…

  85. ThurahT Says:

    I found all xept the graffiti of the team.. : / The gun was the first thing I ever spotted, maybe report to la guardia? : ) and that crow sitting on the Sulpice. Have you guys spotted the camera with telezoom sticking out from a window shooting straight into another window? Weird…

    And it is NOT a frog playing guitar.. It is a crocodile.. : )

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