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Author Topic: PTGui vs Autopano Pro vs PTAssembler  (Read 54649 times)
feppe
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« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2007, 08:41:13 AM »
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I've tried quite a few programs over the years, and settled with Autopano Pro. PTGUI was ridiculously unstable - some versions wouldn't even start.

With the positive experiences some have with PTGUI in this thread I decided to give it another chance. After downloading and updating pano12.dll - why doesn't the installer install a compatible dll I can't fathom - it started working fine. I was further put off by the clunky UI.

I dragged and dropped files into the window. It failed to find control points to assemble a 10-shot 3-row panorama. I'd have to find control points myself, something which shouldn't be necessary and is quite time-consuming especially on even larger panoramas.

Autopano Pro stitched it without any issues.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2007, 08:54:37 AM by feppe » Logged

Chris_T
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« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2007, 07:51:51 AM »
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Yes I tried it with PTAssembler, but it was not as good as it was with AutoPanoPro
Ok here we go:
Handheld, 16MP - 1DsMk2, 5 images, 24mm (24-105 f4 IS)

As said before PTGui is really amazing over the last week I stitched around 37 different Panos and all came out really good, some of them were shot under extrem conditions, handheld, 19mm, and not leveled correctly.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=109840\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks Christopher and Bernard. You two made PTGui sound like a no-brainer.
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Chris_T
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« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2007, 08:00:35 AM »
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I've tried quite a few programs over the years, and settled with Autopano Pro. PTGUI was ridiculously unstable - some versions wouldn't even start.

With the positive experiences some have with PTGUI in this thread I decided to give it another chance. After downloading and updating pano12.dll - why doesn't the installer install a compatible dll I can't fathom - it started working fine. I was further put off by the clunky UI.

I dragged and dropped files into the window. It failed to find control points to assemble a 10-shot 3-row panorama. I'd have to find control points myself, something which shouldn't be necessary and is quite time-consuming especially on even larger panoramas.

Autopano Pro stitched it without any issues.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=110029\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks for a different opinion. Not familiar with Autopano Pro, is it based on Pano Tools?

I would only stitch 3 or 4 images in a single row for 300ppi printing. Personally, I don't mind setting the control points manually. If you have done so with PTGui, how would you compare the result with Autopano Pro in auto mode?
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2007, 09:07:14 AM »
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I've tried quite a few programs over the years, and settled with Autopano Pro. PTGUI was ridiculously unstable - some versions wouldn't even start.

I dragged and dropped files into the window. It failed to find control points to assemble a 10-shot 3-row panorama. I'd have to find control points myself, something which shouldn't be necessary and is quite time-consuming especially on even larger panoramas.

Autopano Pro stitched it without any issues.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=110029\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Would you mind showing us what the pano looked like?

I have had to define control points myself with PTgui in a few cases, but these were mostly seascapes with very few features or skies whose clouds were moving significantly because of the wind.

Regards,
Bernard
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feppe
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« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2007, 11:38:45 AM »
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I do both single- and multi-row panos with Autopano Pro, and can't usually find the edges of the frames even when I know where they are. There have been on occasion some instances where it hasn't been able to stitch properly - a plain sky -, but that seems to be rare. For that reason I'm trying to find a program that has better tweaking options.

But as it's producing excellent results with the material I have, I have no reason to change. This is especially true since the competition continues to disappoint due to reasons I delineated above, despite their arguably superior feature set.

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Would you mind showing us what the pano looked like?

I have had to define control points myself with PTgui in a few cases, but these were mostly seascapes with very few features or skies whose clouds were moving significantly because of the wind.

Regards,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=110216\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The pano is still a work in progress, quite a bit of post-processing to be done. But admittedly it's a tough pano, a nighttime cathedral shot with reflections off a river, so there's a lot of black and plenty of fuzzyness. Nevertheless, Autopano stitched it without a hiccup, while PTGUI gave me 3 groups of photos, and I would've had to find control points myself. The clunky UI didn't make clear what I was supposed to do, and none of the shot pairings it offered appeared to be able to be stitched - they had no connecting features -, so I just decided to cut my losses and forget it.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #25 on: April 02, 2007, 06:40:28 PM »
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The pano is still a work in progress, quite a bit of post-processing to be done. But admittedly it's a tough pano, a nighttime cathedral shot with reflections off a river, so there's a lot of black and plenty of fuzzyness. Nevertheless, Autopano stitched it without a hiccup, while PTGUI gave me 3 groups of photos, and I would've had to find control points myself. The clunky UI didn't make clear what I was supposed to do, and none of the shot pairings it offered appeared to be able to be stitched - they had no connecting features -, so I just decided to cut my losses and forget it.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=110251\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Good if Autopano did the job for you.

What you need to do when PTgui only manages to stitch sub-groups of images is to define the interface between these groups.

The manual control point GUI enables you to align 2 images and to identify matching points. It is very easy to use and it typically doesn't take more than 2 or 3 minutes to define enough control points for a given pair of images.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Gordon Buck
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« Reply #26 on: April 06, 2007, 10:36:53 PM »
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As an occasional stitcher, I've followed this thread with great interest.  In the past, I tried Canon, PS, CS2, autostitcher and PTAssembler stitching programs.  Although the free autostitcher was pretty good, I decided in favor of PTAssembler and liked it fairly well.  But all that changed with the introduction of CS3.

For me, CS3 has worked so well -- and is so easy -- that I have no need for other stitching tools.  CS3 does a great job on stitching, blending and even gives 16bit layers!  

Having sung the praises of CS3, I know enough to realize that sometimes control points must be set manually.  If someone came out with a plug-in to manually adjust CS3 control points, I probably purchase it immediately.  On the other hand, so far I haven't seen the need for manual control points with CS3 stitching.
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Phuong
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« Reply #27 on: April 07, 2007, 10:02:26 PM »
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i just borrowed an ultimate rrs package from a friend to try it out. it was 6PM, so, wasn't exactly the best time to do it. but anyways.

50 jpg images (10 columns, 5 rows) shot with 20D, 100mm at f/11 and stitched in PS3.
since i don't know much about panorama, i just used "Auto" option. the subject has a lot of similar patterns, but i didn't really see any mistake, or mis-alignment at all.

if PT Gui is even much better than this (like everyone is saying), then i guess it must be really truely great.
« Last Edit: April 07, 2007, 10:04:15 PM by Phuong » Logged
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #28 on: April 08, 2007, 10:44:22 AM »
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i just borrowed an ultimate rrs package from a friend to try it out. it was 6PM, so, wasn't exactly the best time to do it. but anyways.

50 jpg images (10 columns, 5 rows) shot with 20D, 100mm at f/11 and stitched in PS3.
since i don't know much about panorama, i just used "Auto" option. the subject has a lot of similar patterns, but i didn't really see any mistake, or mis-alignment at all.

if PT Gui is even much better than this (like everyone is saying), then i guess it must be really truely great.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=111255\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi Phuong,

The thing is that pretty much any pano software would do great with such an easy case.

- It was shot with a pano head,
- The focal lenght is long,
- There are many patterns in the image.

It really doesn't get easier than this.

To check how good a pano software is:

- shoot with a wide angle lens,
- include near elements in the composition,
- introduce some mistake with the nodal node position,
- pick a subject with little texture.

Regards,
Bernard
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Phuong
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« Reply #29 on: April 08, 2007, 02:45:05 PM »
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Hi Phuong,

The thing is that pretty much any pano software would do great with such an easy case.

- It was shot with a pano head,
- The focal lenght is long,
- There are many patterns in the image.

It really doesn't get easier than this.

To check how good a pano software is:

- shoot with a wide angle lens,
- include near elements in the composition,
- introduce some mistake with the nodal node position,
- pick a subject with little texture.

Regards,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=111326\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

thanks Bernard. can you explain why introducing near (or front?) elements would make it harder to stitch?
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #30 on: April 08, 2007, 05:56:46 PM »
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thanks Bernard. can you explain why introducing near (or front?) elements would make it harder to stitch?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=111357\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Because of parallax.

Regads,
Bernard
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Phuong
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« Reply #31 on: April 08, 2007, 06:50:36 PM »
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Because of parallax.

Regads,
Bernard
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but isn't parallax elimiated completely if the lens is rotated on its entrance pupil? i mean it's the whole point of having a panohead or a TSE lens, isn't it?
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feppe
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« Reply #32 on: April 08, 2007, 08:08:50 PM »
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but isn't parallax elimiated completely if the lens is rotated on its entrance pupil? i mean it's the whole point of having a panohead or a TSE lens, isn't it?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=111391\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Many people - me included - don't have a panohead, for various reasons - cost, weight, slow/difficult to use, etc. For me it's the fact that my panos are landscapes with little or no foreground subjects which makes parallax a non-issue with any decent pano software. Hell, with good software you can shoot "perfect" panos handheld, and I wouldn't be surprised if CS3 could do that to some extent.
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Ray
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« Reply #33 on: April 08, 2007, 11:39:27 PM »
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The following 3 images were taken using an ultra-lightweight ball-head tripod. The first image is at 21mm and is the last of a series of 3, starting from the right. The next 2 images are at 25mm, panning from left to right. In other words, noticing that the horizon was significantly out of whack, I adjusted the level of the camera, changed the focal length and panned in the opposite direction for a 2-shot stitch.

These images can be stitched perfectly in CS3 with regard to invisibility of joins. Panavue's Image Assembler cannot do a perfect stitch in automatic mode. There's a duplication of figures and part of the landscape in one of the joins.

Using flags, or control points, Image Assembler could do a job at least equally as good as CS3, but took longer. I couldn't get the trial version of Autopano to work properly (apparently) on my 64 bit system. I haven't tried PTGui yet.

There are projects containing lots of images that CS3 cannot handle, whereas Image Assembler can, using the tedious process of positioning flags.

My trial version of Autopano also could not handle these difficult projects, producing lousy color, unacceptable tonality shifts at some of the joins and converting all the images to sRGB.

Also, I couldn't find a way to inspect the Autopano joins in full resolution, in the trial version, apparently because the trial version wasn't working properly. I'll download it again on another computer when I've got the time.

[attachment=2254:attachment]  [attachment=2255:attachment]  [attachment=2256:attachment]  [attachment=2257:attachment]
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #34 on: April 09, 2007, 06:31:15 AM »
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but isn't parallax elimiated completely if the lens is rotated on its entrance pupil? i mean it's the whole point of having a panohead or a TSE lens, isn't it?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=111391\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Pretty much so, but I was giving you a list of tough conditions needed to test the abilties of a pano package.

I am saying "pretty much" because even when using a pano head, there are still several approximations coming into play:

1. You are dealing with a faceted cylinder and not a real one,
2. There is usually significant distorsion on the wide end of wide zooms.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Chris_T
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« Reply #35 on: April 09, 2007, 07:59:06 AM »
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Hi Phuong,

The thing is that pretty much any pano software would do great with such an easy case.

- It was shot with a pano head,
- The focal lenght is long,
- There are many patterns in the image.

It really doesn't get easier than this.

To check how good a pano software is:

- shoot with a wide angle lens,
- include near elements in the composition,
- introduce some mistake with the nodal node position,
- pick a subject with little texture.

Regards,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=111326\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Bernard, you hit the nail on the head. Too often, posters don't provide a context about their source images and their output intents (a pano for web can be more forgivng then one for print). Without these, their comments are almost useless. Another example is when sharpening tools are compared.

I often wonder why there is not a "set" of "standardized" images for evaluating each kind of tool. These images will include "easy" as well as "challenging" ones. With them, the tool builders can demo their superiority, and the users can evaluate diifferent tools based on the same images.

As an example, stitching several shots of a well known person's face (such as the photog's) at close up range would be a good test. Since we know the face well, we can easily detect whether the nose is crocked, or the eyeballs are elongated, etc.
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Ray
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« Reply #36 on: April 09, 2007, 09:43:02 AM »
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Well, I've just downloaded again Autopano Pro on a 32 bit machine and tested it on the above 3 images which CS3 Photomerge handles as well as can be expected.

I mentioned the first image was at 21mm FL and the next 2 at 25mm. I got that the wrong way round. The first was taken at 25mm and the following 2, supposed to be part of a 2 shot stitch, at 21mm.

Below are the image details shown in ACR.

[attachment=2262:attachment]

When I selected the above 3 images and opened in Autopano, it did a fairly symmetrical job of the first 2 images, beautiful sky an' all that, but failed to include the 3rd image. It just couldn't handle it.

[attachment=2263:attachment]

The odd thing here is that Autopano was able to stitch a 25mm shot with a 21mm shot that belonged to different sets, but was unable to stitch the two 21mm shots that belonged to the same set.

I tried selecting just the two 21mm shots, also selecting maximum quality in 'settings' and 'forced stitching'. It was a totally botched result as you can see below.

[attachment=2264:attachment]

I also find it odd that the resulting stitched images are stripped of their ProPhoto profile. On opening the stitched image in PS, I have to asign an sRGB profile and then convert to my working space. Any advantage in converting a RAW image into the wide-gamut ProPhoto profile will be lost, it appears.

I tried stitching both converted images and RAW images. Results were about the same. So far, Autopano has failed the test.
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guy_rocks
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« Reply #37 on: April 09, 2007, 09:50:21 PM »
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Has anyone tried any of these programs on a Mac?

I've heard they don't work very well with Macs -but that Realviz Stitcher Express 2 works great on a Mac.

Oh, and I'm also looking for a program that gives excellent results for print, not really for the web.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2007, 10:03:23 PM by guy_rocks » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #38 on: April 11, 2007, 04:24:41 AM »
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Just in case anyone thinks I'm being unfair on Autopano, I should point out that the above comparisons were largely for auto mode and default capability.

I would say that CS3 Photomerge is the best stitching program that I've come across for fully automatic, load and click okay, stitches.

The problems arise when the fully automatic (or default) modes don't work. What is the potential of the program then.

There's always some degree of learning curve. To fairly compare the full capabilities of different stitching programs requires that one become fully conversant with those programs.

I downloaded the trial version of PTGui and found that that program also appeared to be incapable of stitching the last two images of the above 3 image project. It couldn't find any control points. That's very odd, I thought.

I went back to Autopano and after messing around with the 'settings' and basically pulling out all the stops, increasing the number of key points per image pair to the maximum of 200, forcing every picture to be in the same panorama, setting 'find control points everywhere' etc etc, I was able to get what appeared to be a good stitch of the 3 images. However, on close examination at 100% magnification, I saw that the figures in the foreground were terribly blurred and mixed-up.

I went back to the settings and changed the default bilinear interpolation mode to bicubic and the default multiblend to 'smartblend', then tried again.

This fixed the problem and the resulting stitch is actually better than the CS3 stitch. The horizon is straighter, which means less work with free transform and warp or distort. Even the sky joins are slightly smoother. There's a hint of darkening at the joins which is not there in the Autopano stitch.

[attachment=2279:attachment]

However, these same settings which have produced this marvelous 3-image stitch, better than the CS3 stitch, have not done as good a job with another set of 4 images (the first 4 in a series of 60 or so). But neither has CS3. They both have their faults. The CS3 stitch has a smother sky but a curved horizon. The Autopano stitch has a major problem in the sky but at least has a straight horizon.

[attachment=2280:attachment]

PTGui produced a result similar to Autopano. To find out how to improve upon that I'd have to become fully familiar with the program. I don't need to because Panavue's Image Assembler, with which I'm reasonably au fait, can do do a perfect job, but not in auto mode of course.
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« Reply #39 on: April 11, 2007, 08:41:00 AM »
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I do not yet have CS3. I started with PTAssembler about 4 years ago and changed to PTGui about a 1 1/2 years ago. I really would be surprised if something were to come along to better it and it costs a fraction of the ludicrously expensive Realviz Stitcher. I absolutely would go along with Bernard on this. Of the examples above, I can see that the architectural stitch would be bettered in PTGui because you have the option to make a rectalinear rendering (as well as 16 bit with layers and layer masks and so on and on). I find the ease of installability, support and user interface and just general ease of use far superior to PTAssembler (which isn't bad by any means).
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