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I have some A3 scans (due to not having a larger scanner) of a large technical drawing (6x A1 in length) which I need plotted out (I do, however, have a large plotter at my disposal).

The scans are in .tif and in .jpg formats (don't know why they gave me both versions), and prior to plotting them out I need to stich them up so they fit nicely one to another, and when put together they need to be straight in both directions. Like they would've been if I had scanned the original large blueprint.

The drawing in question is a black and white blueprint, a technical drawing ... meaning mostly lines, some text. All images have a certain overlap on edges.

I need to put them up together. I tried a few image editing programs, but they always let me rotate the image by integer values of degrees. Is there an image editing program with finer rotation control, or better yet, is there a more intelligent way of stiching those images up in a larger image, other than doing it (painfully) manually?

If anyone has any experience doing something similar, I would be grateful on all the ideas !

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You can use Photoshop for this.

  1. User the Ruler tool and select a line or edge that should be vertical or horizontal.
  2. Image > Image Rotation > Arbitrary...

Photoshop will automatically suggest the angle and direction of rotation to make the ruler selection vertical or horizontal.

Additionally, Photoshop can stitch images together.

  1. Load the images as layers into a single image.
  2. Select all the layers.
  3. Edit > 'Auto-align Layers...
  4. Select Collage.

Both these features work on CS4 and later. I don't know about earlier versions.

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Hmm, I think we have one or two copies installed somewhere in the office. I'll swing by tomorrow and try it out - will report on the results :) (it may however be a bit older than CS4, but hoping for the best) – Rook May 19 '12 at 4:58
@Idigas, the image rotation will most likely work on older versions but I'm not sure when the Auto-align Layers feature was added. Depending on the size of your scans, you may hit memory limitations on the Auto-align Layers feature anyway. – Mike Fitzpatrick May 19 '12 at 5:02
We had a copy of photoshop cs3 in the office; it had the auto-align layers feature, but no Collage in it. Unfortunatelly, either our graphics guy doesn't know how to use it properly, or it doesn't work for scanned drawings like this :/ Didn't work. – Rook May 20 '12 at 17:53

You can most probably use panorama stitching software. I have used Hugin many times with absolutely fabulous results (to the point that I nowadays always take suitable panorama pictures when I'm at somewhat of a lookout :-) ) using a lot more complex images than what your are describing. It also gives you fine-tuned control over "horizon lines" and such (and compensates for skewed perspective, which should not be needed in your case). There are probably many more alternatives as well.

Compared to Adobe Photoshop, one obvious (and for some, giant) advantage is that you don't have to shell out $700 for a copy, since Hugin is free, cross platform and open source.

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Hugin may work for photographs, but it doesn't seem to work for scanned images. It requires "lens data" which I cannot give for a scanned drawing. – Rook May 20 '12 at 17:31
@ldigas: You only need lens data if you try to use the "Assistant" mode. Also, Hugin was one suggestion, but if you find it difficult to work with, I'm sure there are lots of other panorama software. – Daniel Andersson May 20 '12 at 18:58

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