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Author Topic: What workflow for panoramas?  (Read 6733 times)
Mosccol
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« on: March 05, 2008, 08:01:55 AM »
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CS3's photomerge feature is pretty cool; actually not very short of amazing. The issue of course is that it works from jpgs or tiffs, not RAW. There is the added complexity of exposure lattitude in a panorama (photomerge is very good at blending if you have forgotten to shoot using manual exposure, but again, not from RAW) .

So what is the best workflow from LR that will preserve maximum image information while not becoming a terabyte file?
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2008, 08:52:43 AM »
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CS3's photomerge [...] works from jpgs or tiffs, not RAW.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=179279\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I run it from raw files, though!

LR part :
I select the suitable files in LR, sync-edit them as I would in ACR (IE to show all the information and be even from one frame to another, not necessary to have the most pop), mark them with a red flag to be able to tell them apart in Bridge, and make sure all of these are written to XMP (for me, it's auto-write).

Explorer-Bridge part :
Then, right-click in LR / show in explorer, and right-click on the raw file in explorer / open with Bridge : Bridge opens the right folder.
 I add the red flag in Bridge's filter and see only the few files to merge. I select them all and make Tools / Photoshop / Photomerge : PS shows me directly the photomerge dialog, bypassing the ACR dialog (LR adjustments are used if they are written in the XMP, together with ACR's last output settings - be sure to have the right bit depth, res and color space already choosen).
I usually select the Cylindrical projection and click OK (the Auto choice has consistently given me sub-par results).
I let the machine sweat for... a (fair) while, and go back to the screen, only to be amazed at the result in 99% of cases.

I then edit as a PSD in PS, generally with a fait amount of masked layers (light can be quite uneven with such view angles), until printing.
NB : With my R1800 (latest XPSP2 driver), I had an error in PS while selecting a paper length > 115cm (46") ; I tried Qimage and it seems promising regarding this problem (130cm OK). I heard about the R1800 software 44" limitation... But here 45" is OK, and the driver itself lets me set the paper length up to 327cm. I'm a bit confused on this point.

The main problem is to get the PSD file back in LR, as it can't be more than 10.000 pix wide... As I do all the printing and exports from PS, it's only a DAM problem - and I don't do panos often enough to lose sleep on this.
« Last Edit: March 05, 2008, 08:56:08 AM by NikoJorj » Logged

Nicolas from Grenoble
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Mosccol
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2008, 11:06:09 AM »
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Thanks!

(not sure I understand 100% of the acronyms, but I get the general sense of what you are doing...)
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2008, 04:20:25 AM »
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(not sure I understand 100% of the acronyms, but I get the general sense of what you are doing...)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=179332\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Ooops sorry, I had a heavy hand...

Software :
LR = LightRoom, PS = Photoshop CS3, ACR = Adobe camera raw (the raw input module for PS)

File formats :
PSD = photoshop file (with layers and anything)
XMP = metadata of the raw files, including ACR adjustments among many other things

DAM = Digital Asset Management : the problem of knowing what's in your photos, and where they are.

As all this may seem a bit dry, an example attached...
« Last Edit: March 06, 2008, 07:28:20 AM by NikoJorj » Logged

Nicolas from Grenoble
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walter.sk
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« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2008, 07:05:40 AM »
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I also have used PhotoMerge on RAW files.  I have been amazed at the power of PhotoMerge.  However, I often shoot handheld vertical panos of skyscrapers, including an interesting street level view.  Needless to say, the extreme perspective distortion sometimes overwhelms Photomerge's ability to stitch the pano.

When that happens, I stumbled upon what so far seems to be an infallible solution:  If Photomerge doesn't succeed, I process the pano in the free open-source program, Panorama Tools with the PTGUI front end (not free.)  A Google search will turn up the appropriate links.

While Pano Tools does not always solve the problem satisfactorily (it leaves many seams with ghosts, and doesn't blend colors as well as PhotoMerge) I output a layered PSD file and run AutoAlign and AutoBlend layers (which brings up the Photomerge dialog).  The work that Pano Tools does on the file makes it possible for PhotoMerge to finish the job.  So far, I have got absolutely perfect results.

Needless to say that the next step is to use Free Transform and/or Lens Correction to make the verticals less convergent and then pull the height back up to a realistically proportioned image.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2008, 07:09:02 AM by walter.sk » Logged
NikoJorj
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2008, 07:27:12 AM »
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While Pano Tools does not always solve the problem satisfactorily (it leaves many seams with ghosts, and doesn't blend colors as well as PhotoMerge) I output a layered PSD file and run AutoAlign and AutoBlend layers (which brings up the Photomerge dialog).  The work that Pano Tools does on the file makes it possible for PhotoMerge to finish the job.  So far, I have got absolutely perfect results.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=179548\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Interesting!
Before I had CS3, I used Hugin (still a very good tool imho, and free, based on PT too) to output a PSD and processed it in CS (but there was no alignment tool, I used only masks for blending). Now that I got CS3    I didn't yet find a case where Photomerge was really off.

Btw, did you try the Hugin + SmartBlend combination? It is supposed to deal quite well with ghosting artifacts and blending...
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2008, 08:04:39 AM »
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CS3's photomerge feature is pretty cool; actually not very short of amazing.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=179279\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Wait until you try PTgui or Autopano Pro...

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
NikoJorj
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2008, 09:12:22 AM »
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Now that I got CS3    I didn't yet find a case where Photomerge was really off.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=179554\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Re-thinking to it after reading Bernard's post, there were a few cases where photomerge didn't choose the right setting for horizon... But it was easily solved with careful use of the Warp command.
I too still prefer a more powerful interface like Hugin's one, but doing everything in CS3 significantly speeds up the workflow.
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Nicolas from Grenoble
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sojournerphoto
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« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2008, 04:25:45 PM »
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I run it from raw files, though!

LR part :
I select the suitable files in LR, sync-edit them as I would in ACR (IE to show all the information and be even from one frame to another, not necessary to have the most pop), mark them with a red flag to be able to tell them apart in Bridge, and make sure all of these are written to XMP (for me, it's auto-write).

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=179295\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I suspect that if you covert your Raw files to DNG on import to LR you will not need to save to XMP as the develop settings can then be stored in the DNG file. I do this and keep a back up of my CR2s..

Mike

Nice pano as well:)
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DavidB
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« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2008, 06:38:52 PM »
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I suspect that if you covert your Raw files to DNG on import to LR you will not need to save to XMP as the develop settings can then be stored in the DNG file. I do this and keep a back up of my CR2s..[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=179661\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
What I usually do is:
  • Apply adjustments in LR.
  • Select all the relevant images.
  • Command/Control-S to make sure the adjustments are saved out (either to the DNGs or to .XMP sidecars, it doesn't matter).
  • Drag-n-drop the selected images directly from LR to Photoshop, which then opens them up via ACR.
  • Use Photomerge to composite the open files.
There's no *need* to involve Bridge in this transaction if you don't want to, although it does optimise things by passing the files directly to Photomerge without opening them all up in Photoshop first.
When passing files to PTGUI or PhotoMatix we can't pass the RAW files directly and have to export to temporary PSD/TIFF files, but Photoshop (and thus Photomerge) is happy with RAW files.
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