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Author Topic: PTGui vs Autopano Pro vs PTAssembler  (Read 55513 times)
Ray
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« Reply #80 on: April 23, 2007, 12:39:08 AM »
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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.


Cheers,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113731\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I agree completely. I lost 10kg on my last trip to Nepal. I've now put it all back on, sitting in front of the computer, processing images and chatting to people on LL.  

Before getting Autopano I was fearful of the effect that even more time sitting in front of the computer would do to my overweight situation, especially with huge 100 image projects.

I recently tried stitching with Autopano 103 images taken with my 20D, 3 rows of 33-35 images. Because the process was automatic, it didn't worry me too much when things didn't go quite to plan.

The first obstacle was a lack of space on the hard drive I had allocated for the temporary scratch folder. When I attempted to render the image (after it took an hour or so for the preview to be created) I got a message to the effect that my hard drive had only 24Gb of free space when 44GB was required. I had to close the program, after renaming the path of the temporary folder, and start again.

The second obstacle occurred about 4 hours into the rendering. A minor storm blew up. There was a bit of thunder and lightning and the usual power cut. I'm connected to a UPS and the computer shut down nicely, but I had to start the rendering a third time when the power came back on. This time I had it running all night. There was no power cut and the stitched, rendered file seem to have been saved okay.

However, the third obstacle was the file size. I'd calculated that 103 x 24MB images should not be larger than 2.5GB at most. I therefore felt safe in using the TIFF file format which has a size limit of 4Gb. I'm sure I clicked on the 8 bit option before rendering but for some reason the saved TIFF file was 4.11GB which appeared to be 16 bit, or maybe that's due to the alpha channel. Anyway, I couldn't find a way of opening the file so I had to begin the rendering again, a fourth time, selecting the PSB format and being very sure I specified 8 bit.

This 4th attempt has worked fine, but oddly enough the finished file size is shown as 4.73GB. However, after opening in CS2 the file size diminishes to 1.77GB. Don't know why this is.

The point of the story is, if I'd had to spend hours doing manual adjustments prior to rendering these images, I'd be tearing my hair out by now.
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jmb
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« Reply #81 on: April 23, 2007, 07:48:39 AM »
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You know Ray... IMHO, if you'd spend one quarter to half of the time you've spent reading and posting in this thread, you would likely have already figured out/mastered how to use PTAssembler or PTGui (along with the accompanying programs like Autopano (the control point generating program, not the complete stitching software) and Enblend/Smartblend) to get better results than you've been getting and could probably have generated (and fixed (just by rerouting seams in PS), if there were any huge problems) a pano or two...

Just give either of them a shot yourself (PTAssembler has become almost completely automated and for about 90% of my images, I don't have to play with any of the stitching parameters...), play around with one or two smaller panos, play around with editing the output from one or two panos where you have stitching problems (ie, reroute the seams so that you can't see them), and then you'll better be able to see how these programs fit into your needs and how well they can work with just a little additional user input (yes stitching 103 images together is time consuming, but so far, in my experience, rerouting the seams isn't that difficult... What I end up finding difficult is finding the bloody errory/misalignments after I've used Enblend or Smartblend. Once I find them, I can simply import one or two of the warped images into the pano and in a minute or two, mask out the offending misalignment). Out of the whole process (with the exception of one or two of my panos), I find that actually stitching the image together, colour corrections (etc.), and sharpening take much more time than dealing with errors in the panos (that said, my computer is fairly slow and I only have a 1.25 gig of ram...).

JMB
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Ray
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« Reply #82 on: April 23, 2007, 09:09:36 AM »
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You know Ray... IMHO, if you'd spend one quarter to half of the time you've spent reading and posting in this thread, you would likely have already figured out/mastered how to use PTAssembler or PTGui (along with the accompanying programs like Autopano [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113768\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

In restrospect you are probably right, and if not half the time, then possibly all the time. I could have figured it out for myself and having done so, could have not bothered even mentioned my findings on the grounds that I'd spent the allocated time for such matters figuring it out.

In fact, if I'd spent the amount of time learning Photoshop techniques that I've spent on this forum, over the years, I'm sure I would now be a master photoshop user familiar with all techniques and possibilities.

Maybe it's time to change my priorities.
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Johnny V
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« Reply #83 on: April 23, 2007, 11:55:56 AM »
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Hi Ray,

I appreciate all the testing that you’ve done...is very interesting for sure...and will help out many beginners and intermediate pano shooters.

I did a quick test between PTGui and Autopano Pro...I don’t have time to post many images as I’m packing for vacation that starts tomorrow.

I used most of your settings Ray for Autopano Pro and it does edge out PTGui in stitching by a little - I tried to match the same preference settings in PTGui. AP had two stitching errors while PTGui had three on a three-horizontal-row image with the NPP off by about an inch horizontally.

But the AP image had noticeably more noise especially in the shadows and seemed inherently less sharp over all. Don’t know if that is the result of the Spline-64 interpolation. Even with a curve to match the contrast of the PTGui file and Unsharp Mask I could never match the “clarity” of the PTGui file. Attached “noise” file is with curve and sharpening applied to the AP image...the PTgui image is straight out of the app.

Also AP colors were very saturated, while PTGui’s colors were right on...colors were adjusted to match with attached images.

The horizon was perfect with AP and slightly tilted with PTGui.

AP appears longer width wise and shorter height wise than PTGui. Not sure which one is more accurate! See attached “overall” image.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2007, 01:23:21 PM by Johnny V » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #84 on: April 23, 2007, 07:55:10 PM »
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I used most of your settings Ray for Autopano Pro and it does edge out PTGui in stitching by a little - I tried to match the same preference settings in PTGui. AP had two stitching errors while PTGui had three on a three-horizontal-row image with the NPP off by about an inch horizontally.

But the AP image had noticeably more noise especially in the shadows and seemed inherently less sharp over all. Don’t know if that is the result of the Spline-64 interpolation. Even with a curve to match the contrast of the PTGui file and Unsharp Mask I could never match the “clarity” of the PTGui file. Attached “noise” file is with curve and sharpening applied to the AP image...the PTgui image is straight out of the app.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113824\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Interesting. I hadn't even addressed such issues as noise and resolution. The only differences between the interpolation algorithms in Autopano, that I observed, were between the default bilinear and bicubic. With bilinear I noticed some very obvious smearing of 'not so fine' detail, in certain parts of the stitch, that simply wasn't there when I switched to bicubic.

I understand that Spline64 is one of those interpolation methods that is supposed to produce a theoretically more accurate result but which might not be noticed. I used that setting simply because I thought it would do no harm but might possibly do some good.

My 103 image stitch in Autopano was done directly from the RAW files. I'm at a different computer where my trial version of PTGui is not installed, but my memory is that PTGui doesn't recognise RAW files. Is that correct?
« Last Edit: April 23, 2007, 07:56:47 PM by Ray » Logged
Jann Lipka
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« Reply #85 on: April 24, 2007, 02:14:52 AM »
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another "me too" voice .

I'm on Mac , tried some options and settled for PTgui ,
and I'm happy with it so much that I dare to stitch handheld shots .

Like this - modest 4 vertical Mk2 24- 105 shots .


perspective distortion fixed in CS3
click on this zoomfly file for the  detail
http://www.lipka.se/special/rocK_view/pano_rock.html
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Johnny V
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« Reply #86 on: April 24, 2007, 09:48:16 AM »
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....but my memory is that PTGui doesn't recognise RAW files. Is that correct?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113893\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That's correct....PTGui does not recognize RAW files but I do prefer to adjust my XTi raws in Lightroom or CS3 as both have the excellent Fill Light and Highlight Recover adjustments.
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Phuong
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« Reply #87 on: April 24, 2007, 03:49:43 PM »
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another "me too" voice .

I'm on Mac , tried some options and settled for PTgui ,
and I'm happy with it so much that I dare to stitch handheld shots .

Like this - modest 4 vertical Mk2 24- 105 shots .
perspective distortion fixed in CS3
click on this zoomfly file for the  detail
http://www.lipka.se/special/rocK_view/pano_rock.html
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113942\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

is the Mac version of PTgui identical to the PC version?
i attempted with PS CS3 the second time yesterday, and now i'm sure it isn't half as good as other pano programs. mainly, if there are elements that changed their positions between the shots, PS3 won't recognize those and there are ghostings. in other case, it somehow creates weird halos.

in the first photo, i thought everything was good. until later when i looked at it closely at full crop, the crane is broken.
in the second photo, there are weird halos around the tall buildings. i still don't know why this happens.

i will download PTgui Mac tonight and try it.
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Ray
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« Reply #88 on: April 24, 2007, 07:11:39 PM »
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Yes, I'm afraid the devil is in the detail. I've made the mistake too often of thinking a stitch looks great, perhaps because it's straightened out better than from another stitching program, but on close examination find one or two glitches or flaws at the joins.
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Ray
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« Reply #89 on: April 24, 2007, 07:25:44 PM »
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That's correct....PTGui does not recognize RAW files but I do prefer to adjust my XTi raws in Lightroom or CS3 as both have the excellent Fill Light and Highlight Recover adjustments.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113994\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I also sometimes prefer to use RSP to convert my RAW files, simply because I can get the effect I like such as the right degree of vibrancy, marginally better detail and a slight painterly effect, or solidity of color and hue (not sure quite how to describe it) which ACR doesn't seem to be able to give me.

Being able to recognise RAW files is not necessarily much of an advantage, but it helps as a time saver when comparing large stitches.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #90 on: April 24, 2007, 08:14:46 PM »
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That's correct....PTGui does not recognize RAW files but I do prefer to adjust my XTi raws in Lightroom or CS3 as both have the excellent Fill Light and Highlight Recover adjustments.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=113994\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

You'd better be careful with these Lightroom tools for images to be stitched.

I had problems stitching an image with PTgui a few days ago. A very deep blue sky was showing a discontinuity I had never seen before.

I had developped the images in Lightroom and had correctly copied the RAW developement settings on all the images to be stitched, but Highlight recovery was one of those.

It appears that a given amount of highlight recovery will result in different levels of tone compression depending on the image content. This is a recipe for disaster when stitching images where the sky plays a role...

For other images with more texture and native color variation, the problem would probably remain un-noticed, but it does show on skies...

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
Phuong
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« Reply #91 on: April 24, 2007, 09:49:59 PM »
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It appears that a given amount of highlight recovery will result in different levels of tone compression depending on the image content. This is a recipe for disaster when stitching images where the sky plays a role...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=114122\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

this probably explains the halos in my image :/
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Chris_T
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« Reply #92 on: April 25, 2007, 12:27:36 PM »
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The raw/Lightroom comments bring up another question. Is it better to make tonal/color corrections of individual images before or after stitching, with either PS or Lightroom? My gut feel says it may be better to stitch first and then correct the pano, since it may be difficult to apply the same corrections to each image. But the downside of correcting the pano would be handling a much bigger file.
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Christopher
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« Reply #93 on: April 25, 2007, 05:28:19 PM »
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The raw/Lightroom comments bring up another question. Is it better to make tonal/color corrections of individual images before or after stitching, with either PS or Lightroom? My gut feel says it may be better to stitch first and then correct the pano, since it may be difficult to apply the same corrections to each image. But the downside of correcting the pano would be handling a much bigger file.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=114206\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Not only that, as we know most Panos can't even edited with Lightroom, because for example mine nearly always exceed 10.000px...
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Ray
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« Reply #94 on: April 25, 2007, 07:00:59 PM »
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Not only that, as we know most Panos can't even edited with Lightroom, because for example mine nearly always exceed 10.000px...
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=114251\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I'm using CS3 for editing. My 103 image stitch resulted in a 1.75Gb PSB file in 8 bit and 69,000 pixels long. Each edit of this large file was very, very slow even with the minimum level of history states. The stitch was done automatically using the RAW images. It was just an exercise to see how Autopano would handle it.

I can find no flaws in the joins but there are parts of the sky where the tonal changes in the overlaps are visible. However, this only occurs in a rather polluted area of the sky immediately above the city centre. I always intended to replace the sky with a more interesting one, so it occupies a very narrow band at the top of the image. The tonal changes are hardly noticeable below the sky line, so I guess this is not going to be a problem, but I'm wondering what caused it. The pollution, perhaps?

Perhaps more likely, the fact that I had bungled some of the exposures. I began by bracketing each shot in manual mode, since this is a very wide panorama consisting of great variation in lighting, ranging from the sun glinting on white and shiny buildings in the city centre to the dark shadows in foliage and botanical gardens.

However, when I got to the third row I realised that I would run out of flash cards before completing the shoot, so decided to take single exposures from that point on, but forgot to turn off autobracketing in the menu until I noticed what was happening a dozen shots later. I therefore have a series of adjoining images in the third row which are consecutively, normal exposure, -1 stop, +1 stop, normal, -1 stop, +1 stop etc.
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Johnny V
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« Reply #95 on: May 11, 2007, 07:20:13 PM »
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Just to let everyone know there are two beta PTGui versions available....regular and Pro....

The new beta version includes new output projections, a QTVR converter
and an improved control point generator.

The Pro version additionally supports a full HDR workflow, from merging
bracketed exposures into HDR, to tone mapping.

The beta version can be downloaded from:
http://www.ptgui.com/beta.html

And a short HDR tutorial to show the workflow:
http://www.ptgui.com/hdrtutorial.html

As always, feedback is very welcome: please join
http://groups.google.com/group/ptgui

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I just tested the new PTGui beta vs. AutoPano Pro with a 40+ image stitch and both stitches were fairly flawless but as mentioned in my previous post PTGui's file was so much cleaner...had much less noise and inherently sharper. Could be Smartblend or Spline working against AutoPano Pro's sharpness. I'm still on vacation so cannot post images.
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MichaelEzra
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« Reply #96 on: May 15, 2007, 09:03:20 AM »
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If you were using Smart Blender in Autopano - it requires Color correction to be set - this will fix the sky problem.
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Ray
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« Reply #97 on: May 15, 2007, 09:37:51 AM »
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If you were using Smart Blender in Autopano - it requires Color correction to be set - this will fix the sky problem.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=117682\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Absolutely! And you need to set a lot of other 'quality options' for Autopano to do a good job.

As I mentioned before, the default settings when you first open Autopano are designed for speed and to be usable with slow computers. They are not set for maximum quality.

It's perhaps a difficult situation for the promoters. If you are trying to sell a product and are offering a trial download, you don't want the customer to experience a system crash, or an 'out of memory' warning, or a tediously long stitch of a few basic images.
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