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Author Topic: PTGui vs Autopano Pro vs PTAssembler  (Read 51404 times)
Ray
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« Reply #60 on: April 20, 2007, 11:53:17 AM »
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after seeing this page i start to think Pano Tools type stitchers are actually much better than PS CS3. in PS CS3 you don't have that much control especially over the distortion correction process.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113384\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Probably, but I'm mainly interested in the automatic capabilities. I've got a 100 image project and I don't want to mess around with positioning flags or control points.

Here are the first 15 images of a 100 image project, all vertical shots in 3 rows of 5. It's a mosaic of 15 20D images taken with the Canon 100-400 IS at 400mm and f16.

Both Autopano and CS3 appeared to do a good job with these images.

[attachment=2327:attachment]

But appearances are deceptive. Let's zoom in on these power lines. (If you haven't been to Nepal then you don't know that all good landscapes must have power lines   ).

[attachment=2328:attachment]

As you can see, CS3 couldn't quite manage it. I think this is a big 'thumbs up' for Autopano.
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Ray
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« Reply #61 on: April 20, 2007, 12:23:59 PM »
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Ok here is a very quick result with, PTGui, no Photoshop, just PTGui output.

I can't look closer at it, because I don't have the full res. files, but it looks really good.

[attachment=2326:attachment]

Christopher
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113399\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Chris,
That's definitely better than my attempt. However, to my eyes there's still a hint of dicontinuity in the problem area as can be seen in these 300% crops comparing your image and Autopano. What adjustments did you make before rendering?

[attachment=2329:attachment]
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #62 on: April 20, 2007, 06:34:14 PM »
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Chris,
That's definitely better than my attempt. However, to my eyes there's still a hint of dicontinuity in the problem area as can be seen in these 300% crops comparing your image and Autopano.
[attachment=2329:attachment]
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113439\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ray, you are kidding, right?

Cheers,
Bernard
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #63 on: April 20, 2007, 07:10:41 PM »
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Chris,
That's definitely better than my attempt. However, to my eyes there's still a hint of dicontinuity in the problem area as can be seen in these 300% crops comparing your image and Autopano. What adjustments did you make before rendering?

[attachment=2329:attachment]
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113439\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
The only discontinuity I can find is the missing "s" in "dicontinuity".  

But I am very appreciative of the efforts you guys are putting into this, so that lazy folks like me can start doing (modest) panos soon without the steep and messy learning curve.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2007, 07:11:06 PM by EricM » Logged

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Ray
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« Reply #64 on: April 20, 2007, 09:53:20 PM »
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Absolutely not kidding! Stand back 3 or 4 ft from your monitor and you should be able to see at least a hint of that dscontinuity, or staggering of the horizontal line where the base of the hill meets the far shore pebbles, approximately in the centre.

You might think this is just extreme pixel peeping, but you seem to have missed the point that that this is a 300% enlargement of an image that has been reduced in size about 50x. The full stitched image, in 8 bit, is around 70MB, so those comparison crops I've shown would be analagous to viewing the full resolution image at 6% to 7% magnification on the monitor.

If there's any hint of a flaw in a join at that degree of enlargement, you can be quite sure that those who are in the habit of inspecting poster size prints from close-up will see it.

Anyway, Chris has not told us what settings he used in PTGui to get this result. It's definitely an improvement over my attempt with default settings. However, since stitching images can be a huge time waster, I'm much attracted to the potential of fully automatic modes. Since Autopano seems to be able to produce the most 'flawless' stitch automatically, then that's the program I'm going with. I haven't even explored the other options in Autopano yet, for manual control, the automatic stitches are that good.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #65 on: April 20, 2007, 11:07:30 PM »
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Absolutely not kidding! Stand back 3 or 4 ft from your monitor and you should be able to see at least a hint of that dscontinuity, or staggering of the horizontal line where the base of the hill meets the far shore pebbles, approximately in the centre.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113500\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I had already spent at least a couple of minutes staring at your comparison from my usual 8-10" from the monitor, so I says to meself, "Ray is crazy! It must come from living upside down (except when he's in places like Nepal). But just to humor him, I'll stand back a couple feet and ..."

By golly, I could see it! Of course, after I found it from a couple of feet away, it was easy to see it from closer up, too.

But my own pano goals are still rather modest: to be able to make a three-image horizontal stitch, hand-held, that works in a huge print (for me that would be something like 13"x40" or whatever). And I'm counting on CS3 to get me there, thanks to all your research.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #66 on: April 21, 2007, 01:05:10 AM »
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Hi!

Are you using the smart blend option?

Best regard
Erik


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Here is the first test result:

I think I know why he said what he said ;-). The images show it. Now i'm testing the second one.

I did not include PTA or PS CS3 because both were much worse. I only show the two best.

Pano Pro
[attachment=2184:attachment]
PTGui
[attachment=2186:attachment]

Full cropped Panorama:
[attachment=2187:attachment]
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Christopher
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« Reply #67 on: April 21, 2007, 03:17:13 AM »
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Ok here is a second test image and I
Full image:
[attachment=2190:attachment]

Pano pro
[attachment=2188:attachment]

PTGui
[attachment=2189:attachment]


[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Quote is kinda not working here is the direct link : [a href=\"http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=15730&view=findpost&p=108964]here[/url]

OK, here I could say Auto Pano Pro fails badly against PTGui, but that's not the point. I own both Programs now and there are some Panos, which work better with one ot another. Both are great, but for me PTGui works more often.

Which settings did I Use, hm normal :-P As I use with all my Panos, for blending I used smartblend and PTGui blend, BUT because the resulution is kinda low it is not possible to say which one is better. I think these "lines" you see are not a bad stitch they are just there because of the low res. orginals.
« Last Edit: April 21, 2007, 03:19:43 AM by Christopher » Logged

Chris_T
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« Reply #68 on: April 21, 2007, 06:32:12 AM »
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after seeing this page i start to think Pano Tools type stitchers are actually much better than PS CS3. in PS CS3 you don't have that much control especially over the distortion correction process.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113384\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks for the great link. For stitiching a few 2D images without relying on auto, I think I'll try PTAssembler before PTGui.

As pointed out by others, Pano Tools' algorithms (and additional plugins) are loved by many, but learning how to use them well is the challenge. To choose which frontend for them, it boils down to who provides the best UI, documentation, tutorials, forum and support.
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Chris_T
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« Reply #69 on: April 21, 2007, 06:56:34 AM »
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Absolutely not kidding! Stand back 3 or 4 ft from your monitor and you should be able to see at least a hint of that dscontinuity, or staggering of the horizontal line where the base of the hill meets the far shore pebbles, approximately in the centre.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Nice, Ray. I can see it without having to stand back 3 or 4 ft.

As mentioned before, evaluating this kind of tool (the other is sharpener) depends a lot on what kind of source images are being used, how obervant and critical a viewer is, and how is a tool used to achieve the result. Without these context info, comments and comparisons are next to useless. The two links cited in this thread are examples with great context:

[a href=\"http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=14341&st=20]http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index....pic=14341&st=20[/url]

http://slash72.club.fr/gurl/mastering-pers...ective-rev4.htm

If would be really helpful if there is a *set* of *standardized* source images that everyone can use to evaluate and compare this kind of tools. Much like a known test pattern used to evaluate lens focus sharpness.
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Ray
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« Reply #70 on: April 21, 2007, 08:10:54 AM »
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If would be really helpful if there is a *set* of *standardized* source images that everyone can use to evaluate and compare this kind of tools. Much like a known test pattern used to evaluate lens focus sharpness.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113532\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

It would also be helpful if these trial programs would include a big notice like, 'Click here for maximum quality'. With Autopano (and I presume PTGui) the program first opens with low quality default settings which are good for maximum processing speed, but no good for evaluating what the program can really do in automatic mode. I've wasting a lot of time changing settings by degrees. Eventually, I just moved every slider to maximum and selected every option that appeared to be maximum quality, like Spline 64 instead of bilinear or bicubic interpolation.

It could be that as a result, the stitching process is slower than it need be. However, for an automatic mode, overkill is better than underkill in my view.

Those who opt for CS3 Photomerge will not have these problems, but I have found that stitches that don't work well in the CS3 'auto' layout sometimes work better with the 'cylindrical' layout, which is still automatic.

Since getting all the settings at maximum, I haven't come across a series of images yet that Autopano Pro cannot stitch automatically and seamlessly.  
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Christopher
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« Reply #71 on: April 21, 2007, 09:49:59 AM »
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It would also be helpful if these trial programs would include a big notice like, 'Click here for maximum quality'. With Autopano (and I presume PTGui) the program first opens with low quality default settings which are good for maximum processing speed, but no good for evaluating what the program can really do in automatic mode. I've wasting a lot of time changing settings by degrees. Eventually, I just moved every slider to maximum and selected every option that appeared to be maximum quality, like Spline 64 instead of bilinear or bicubic interpolation.

It could be that as a result, the stitching process is slower than it need be. However, for an automatic mode, overkill is better than underkill in my view.

Those who opt for CS3 Photomerge will not have these problems, but I have found that stitches that don't work well in the CS3 'auto' layout sometimes work better with the 'cylindrical' layout, which is still automatic.

Since getting all the settings at maximum, I haven't come across a series of images yet that Autopano Pro cannot stitch automatically and seamlessly. 
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113536\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Look at the beginning of the topic and yopu will find two :-P
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Ray
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« Reply #72 on: April 21, 2007, 10:03:31 AM »
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Look at the beginning of the topic and yopu will find two :-P
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113547\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'll rephrase that. I haven't come across any of my images that I haven't been able to stitch seamlessly with Autopano in auto mode, after pulling out all the stops in the settings menu.
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #73 on: April 21, 2007, 01:27:53 PM »
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Ray I will try it on the image I showed above and see how Autopano Pro does. Especially because of the 90 degree wrap and the distortion involved from camera position, this image is a serious test of any software.
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Ray
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« Reply #74 on: April 21, 2007, 07:31:48 PM »
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Ray I will try it on the image I showed above and see how Autopano Pro does. Especially because of the 90 degree wrap and the distortion involved from camera position, this image is a serious test of any software.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113564\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'd be interested to see the results, but beware of those settings under 'edit'.

Below are the settings which I'm now using for every image. They only have to be set once (most of them). These might not all be appropriate or necessary for each set of images, but they work flawlessly for me so far.

[attachment=2337:attachment]
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naisan
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« Reply #75 on: April 22, 2007, 12:44:05 AM »
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My own tests proved to me that the PTGui app is the most solid one out there. I've used it extensively on very large (say 50 images x 10MP TIFF files @16-bit throughout) stitches on XP x64 and vista x64 without any issues.

Then I started using the SmartBlend Plugin, and that eliminated parallax as well!

If you haven't downloaded & enabled that plug-in for blending, you have no idea how powerful PTGui can be.

I posted on another l-l thread about this.

I believe that PTGui allows you to use AutoPano for control points, as well as many other options that very materially affect control points and blending.
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Ray
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« Reply #76 on: April 22, 2007, 07:15:59 PM »
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Then I started using the SmartBlend Plugin, and that eliminated parallax as well!

If you haven't downloaded & enabled that plug-in for blending, you have no idea how powerful PTGui can be.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113603\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Autopano Pro already includes Smartblend. This issue should not be about supporting your favourite program but finding out in an objective manner which is best for your needs. That's been my approach.

The only demonstration in this thread so far, that PTGui might be better than Autopano in its ability to stitch images that Autopano can't, is Christopher's comparison shots early in the thread.

However Christopher was a bit vague when asked what settings he used in Autopano. He said he used 'normal' settings. I see no settings described as 'normal' in Autopano, but there is the occasional use of the word 'standard' which I suppose is what Christopher means, and for all I know, maybe some of the settings he used were at their original default level which appears to trade off quality for speed.

My concern with these programs is focussed on automatic capability first. I already have a program that does quite well in time-consuming manual mode (Panavue's IA) but when it comes to automatic stitching there's no contest between IA and Autopano. When I find some images (taken for stitching purposes) that Autopano can't stitch properly, automatically, then I'll start exploring the manual options.

It could well be that with really difficult images, PTGui is better than Autopano. However, after emailing my 4x 15mm handheld shots of Nepal to Chris-T, each reduced in size to 5MB which is not exactly low resolution, Chris failed to do a stitch using PTGui that is as perfect as Autopano produced for me in fully automatic mode. So, what conclusions can I arrive at?

If someone would care to post here what prior settings and adjustments should be made in PTGui for best automatic results, I'll give PTGui another try   .
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #77 on: April 22, 2007, 07:20:56 PM »
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Autopano Pro already includes Smartblend. This issue should not be about supporting your favourite program but finding out in an objective manner which is best for your needs. That's been my approach.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113702\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Personnally, I think that the goal is to find what is good enough for your needs using a reasonnable amount of time.

If you get perfect stitches from Autopano pro, why keeping looking around for something better?

The key in all these activities is to find the peak of ROI.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Ray
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« Reply #78 on: April 22, 2007, 08:43:58 PM »
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Personnally, I think that the goal is to find what is good enough for your needs using a reasonnable amount of time.

If you get perfect stitches from Autopano pro, why keeping looking around for something better?

The key in all these activities is to find the peak of ROI.

Cheers,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113703\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Why do I keep looking around? Aren't we all looking around for better performing products at a better price that meet our 'needs'?? I just deleted my previous post on this thread because I realised I'd got myself into a contradiction of terminology; ie. 'needs'.

As consumers in a developed country, are we really operating on the level of 'needs', or is it more accurate to use the term 'wants'?

This purpose of this thread, I suggest, is to determine the weak points and strong points of 3 similar programs, Autopano, PTGui and PTA, in oder that the reader (consumer) can make an informed decision when purchasing.

If one program is stronger on automatic functions but another stronger in respect of manual flexibility and controls, then that is useful information. I'd like to know that.

I've actually bought Autopano Pro on the basis that it can stitch images automatically in a more accurate manner than CS3 Photomerge and Panavue's Image Assembler.

I don't actually know if I've made the 'best' decision. There might be someone out there who realises that PTGui can do everything in auto mode that Autopano can do, and more, but are keeping the settings and adjustments, for this to happen, a secret.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #79 on: April 22, 2007, 11:36:25 PM »
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Why do I keep looking around? Aren't we all looking around for better performing products at a better price that meet our 'needs'?? I just deleted my previous post on this thread because I realised I'd got myself into a contradiction of terminology; ie. 'needs'.

As consumers in a developed country, are we really operating on the level of 'needs', or is it more accurate to use the term 'wants'?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113710\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

No, we are not all always looking for something better on every detail of the process.

I am looking for ways to optimize the quality of my images as a whole, some others might be looking at ways to make more money with their images.

If my pano software meets 99% of my needs while my below par physical conditions makes me arrive late on top of mountains for the sunrise, then I'd rather spend time in the gym instead of looking for ways to gain 1% on a process that basically already works.

As far as "needs" vs "wants", well that is indeed exactly my point. If global performance enhancement is the goal, then the key is to focus on what "needs" to be improved.

Pano packages are dirt cheap, nothing prevents you from buying 2 or 3 and to check alternatives when your main solutions doesn't work on a particular case.

A lot of people here believe that Pgui is the best, your test indicates that Autopano pro is even better. More power to you, your selection of tool might be giving you an edge compared to the competition.

Cheers,
Bernard
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