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Author Topic: Odd PS Photomerge problem  (Read 14904 times)
Kirk Gittings
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« on: July 26, 2009, 06:28:07 PM »
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For the past couple of years Photomerge in PS3 and PS4 has been sufficient for 95 percent of my stitches which are generally simply 2x flat stitches from shifting a T/S lens. These are all building interiors and exteriors with plenty of common points and overlap. This is an important part of my workflow and I do a few of these a week for clients. Up till recently they merged flawlessly. All of a sudden Photomerge can't seem to align any images giving me the error message "some images could not be automatically aligned". This happens under all the different merge modes. This also happens from Bridge or from open files in PS. It literally cannot merge any set of images. This is with the camera always on a tripod and exposure and WB locked down.

The only thing that has changed is I have been playing with memory usage and cache levels trying to improve performance, but even after returning them to the original settings Photomerge will not complete a merge. It matters not what merge mode you use or whether you are working from raw files or tiffs. I am having to do every stitch in Autopano Pro which slows down my workflow considerably.

Widows XP with a huge scatch disk dedicated just to PS.
Any thoughts. A reinstall?
« Last Edit: July 26, 2009, 08:54:37 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

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Kirk

Kirk Gittings
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #1 on: July 26, 2009, 11:25:51 PM »
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Someone on the Adobe forums suggested that I delete my preferences in CS4. That did the trick. Works like new again.
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Kirk Gittings
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walter.sk
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« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2009, 09:40:56 AM »
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Quote from: Kirk Gittings
Someone on the Adobe forums suggested that I delete my preferences in CS4. That did the trick. Works like new again.
The Prefs file gets corrupted at the drop of a hat, or mouse!  I finally learned, after too much time spent resetting my preferences, to make a copy of the newly set preferences file and keep it on my desktop.  When (not if!) Photoshop begins doing strange things I have a fresh copy of the prefs file, with my favorite settings, just waiting for me.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2009, 09:47:52 AM »
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Glad it worked out. Gremlins like that can be a pain to exorcise.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #4 on: July 27, 2009, 09:58:08 AM »
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Kirk:

I had the same issue with a set of images that had previously merged in CS.  I tried the preference reset and it did not help.  Hugely puzzling, but this problem did happen AFTER the last CS4 update I installed.  So I then bit the bullet and did a fresh install just to get CS4 working right agin -- a huge PITA, and while it seemed to clear up a few other minor issues, it did NOT fix the merge!  Frustrated, I DL'd AutopanoPro in demo mode, and in less than half the time of CS4 it performed the merge and did a significantly better job on the color blending.  Bottom line is I went ahead and paid for AutopanoGiga and have never looked back. My only nit with APP/APG is that if you edit in Profoto colorspace as I do, APP dies not render the colors accurately, so I do NOT use their color correction tools, I just use it for the merge. APG allows you tons of adjustability on the projection, horizontal and vertical line corrections in combination, midpoint selection and distortion corrections.  Very cool and worth every penny IMO.

Cheers,
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jdemott
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« Reply #5 on: July 27, 2009, 10:09:54 AM »
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The problem of corrupt preference files in Photoshop has been around for a long time, and it seems like everyone (including me) has suffered through it one or more times when Photoshop starts acting strangely.  I'm not a programmer so this may be a dumb question, but is there some reason why Photoshop couldn't keep its own backup copy of the Preferences file and do some sort of integrity check when it starts up so users don't have this mysterious problem so frequently?
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John DeMott
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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2009, 11:40:58 AM »
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Quote from: jdemott
The problem of corrupt preference files in Photoshop has been around for a long time, and it seems like everyone (including me) has suffered through it one or more times when Photoshop starts acting strangely.  I'm not a programmer so this may be a dumb question, but is there some reason why Photoshop couldn't keep its own backup copy of the Preferences file and do some sort of integrity check when it starts up so users don't have this mysterious problem so frequently?

Problem is CS keeps some preferences in different places.  I know it offends the old CS guard, but I've said it before and will say it again -- Adobe has a bunch of old legacy holdover code in CS4 that they need to overhaul it for efficiency in CS5.  I realize it is a huge undertaking, probably involving millions of lines of code, but the time has arrived -- especially if they plan to keep charging those usurious upgrade fees...
« Last Edit: July 27, 2009, 11:41:52 AM by Jack Flesher » Logged

JeffKohn
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2009, 12:26:27 PM »
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Quote from: Jack Flesher
Kirk:

I had the same issue with a set of images that had previously merged in CS.  I tried the preference reset and it did not help.  Hugely puzzling, but this problem did happen AFTER the last CS4 update I installed.  So I then bit the bullet and did a fresh install just to get CS4 working right agin -- a huge PITA, and while it seemed to clear up a few other minor issues, it did NOT fix the merge!  Frustrated, I DL'd AutopanoPro in demo mode, and in less than half the time of CS4 it performed the merge and did a significantly better job on the color blending.  Bottom line is I went ahead and paid for AutopanoGiga and have never looked back. My only nit with APP/APG is that if you edit in Profoto colorspace as I do, APP dies not render the colors accurately, so I do NOT use their color correction tools, I just use it for the merge. APG allows you tons of adjustability on the projection, horizontal and vertical line corrections in combination, midpoint selection and distortion corrections.  Very cool and worth every penny IMO.
For the original poster's purpose of flat-stitching, I actually prefer PS Photomerge because it has the "reposition only" option which is exactly what you want for flat-stitching, since there's no projection involved. But for rotational panos I defiintely agree. Photomerge is pretty lame, and it amazes me how many people seem to be happy with it. My experience with it has been that it does a terrible job of choosing the vanishing point unless the camera was pointed straight ahead. It also does a lousy job of leveling panos that weren't shot with perfect rotation. I see people posting panos with obvious arcs in the horizons, or even 'wavy' distortion, and have to wonder do they really not see it?

I can understand that some may not want to invest the purcahse price in Autopano or PTGui, especially if they don't shoot panos all that often. But there are other more affordable alternatives such as PTAssembler or Hugin (free!) that would be much better than Photomerge IMHO.
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2009, 02:48:23 PM »
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Quote
APG allows you tons of adjustability on the projection, horizontal and vertical line corrections in combination, midpoint selection and distortion corrections. Very cool and worth every penny IMO.
k
Jack F

As Jeff above stated. PSM does simple repositioning of architectural tiles well (when it works at all!), without creating the pincushion (for lack of a better term) distortion that seems to be inherent in APP. Jack does APG do a better job than APP?
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #9 on: July 27, 2009, 04:20:13 PM »
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Quote from: Kirk Gittings
k
Jack F

As Jeff above stated. PSM does simple repositioning of architectural tiles well (when it works at all!), without creating the pincushion (for lack of a better term) distortion that seems to be inherent in APP. Jack does APG do a better job than APP?

Hi Kirk:

Just to clarify, the adjustment capabilities of APP/APG far exceed what Photomerge delivers.  For example, in APP/APG you can set horizons or verticals of DIFFERING angles in multiple parts of the image -- even converging or diverging ones in the same capture -- and it corrects them ALL to true and, then blends the final composite into a seamless result. Sort of like an automated version of CS's transform and warp tools combined...

As far as the differences between Pro and Giga, the main one I noted was Giga is faster and has a bit fresher UI than the Pro I had been using -- I assume the newer Pro is probably the same UI as Giga now, but not sure. Giga also builds virtual tours if you are into that.  If you just want the basics, Pro should be fine and still offers an upgrade path to Giga at a later date.  You can download demos of both that run normally with a watermark until you license them, so pretty easy to compare for your needs.  I'd also recommend watching the tutorials on their website as a speed course in getting to know the software: http://www.autopano.net/en/

FWIW, here is an example of a three frame wideangle lens, P45+ image that Photomerge could not merge. APG did it easily, then I was able to correct the horizon and projection point.  My workflow is simple -- process the captures to optimal Profoto tiffs all at the same settings out of C1, assemble, align and merge in APG, then back to CS4 for final color edits, sharpening and local adjustments. The original is just under 15K x 5K pixels:



Cheers,
« Last Edit: July 27, 2009, 05:17:14 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

JeffKohn
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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2009, 05:12:16 PM »
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Quote from: Kirk Gittings
k
Jack F

As Jeff above stated. PSM does simple repositioning of architectural tiles well (when it works at all!), without creating the pincushion (for lack of a better term) distortion that seems to be inherent in APP. Jack does APG do a better job than APP?
Autopano Pro/Giga will always use some sort of projection to warp the images (spherical, planar, cylindrical, mercatur). IMHO you don't want this when flat-stitching images that were taken with shift lens or rear-standard movements. The ability to set the center point, leveling, etc in APP/G is great for rotational panos, but completely unnecessary for flat-stitches (in fact I would say it's detrimental).
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #11 on: July 27, 2009, 05:46:56 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
Autopano Pro/Giga will always use some sort of projection to warp the images (spherical, planar, cylindrical, mercatur). IMHO you don't want this when flat-stitching images that were taken with shift lens or rear-standard movements. The ability to set the center point, leveling, etc in APP/G is great for rotational panos, but completely unnecessary for flat-stitches (in fact I would say it's detrimental).

Yes, but in all the shift-stitches I've captured, using the cylindrical projection seems to work fine, ie; projects correctly in a rectilinear fashion...  I have not analyzed it critically on an architectural composite however.
« Last Edit: July 27, 2009, 06:03:36 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

JeffKohn
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« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2009, 06:08:41 PM »
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Quote from: Jack Flesher
Yes, but in all the shift-stitches I've captured, using the cylindrical projection seems to work fine, ie; projects correctly in a rectilinear fashion...  I have not analyzed it on an architectural composite however.
Using a cylindrical projection might look OK, but it's not really correct (especially since the initial warping done to each frame is not correct due to the nature of the shift lens). You'll get a slight horizontal compression of the scene that may or may not be pleasing (the wider the FOV, the less likely that it will be pleasing). Vertical lines will be preserved, but horizontal lines will not be preserved unless they pass through the center point of the projection. I just don't see a reason to do this extra warping and projecting when there's a cleaner, simpler solution that doesn't degrade the image.

PTGui at least has some advanced options for entering the shift info for lens-shifted images; but I've not really looked into it in much detail, because for correctly-shot shift images PS Photomerge will work pretty much perfectly every time and is fast and convenient to use (no need to generate intermediate TIFF's, for instance).
« Last Edit: July 27, 2009, 06:10:05 PM by JeffKohn » Logged

Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2009, 12:01:50 PM »
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Quote from: walter.sk
The Prefs file gets corrupted at the drop of a hat, or mouse!  I finally learned, after too much time spent resetting my preferences, to make a copy of the newly set preferences file and keep it on my desktop.  When (not if!) Photoshop begins doing strange things I have a fresh copy of the prefs file, with my favorite settings, just waiting for me.

Good solution. Works like a charm. Also from a suggestion on the PS Forum, I wrote out the file location in Notepad and saved it in the same desktop file with the uncorrupted Preferences folder. I then copy and paste that in Run and it takes me right to the corrupted file location.
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Kirk

Kirk Gittings
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WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

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« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2009, 12:30:32 PM »
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Holy Cow! The new Preferences file had already been corrupted by the time I saved it and I had to start over again. I guess you have to save an absolutely clean file freshly set up before you run a single image?
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Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #15 on: July 28, 2009, 01:06:19 PM »
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As per the point Jeff and I were making above about PM vs. APP for flat architectural stitches from T/S lenses. Here is an example. The first two arre from the raw files. The second in Photoshop Photomerge from the raw files (unedited from the merge) and the third is merged in AutoPano Pro with no post merging adjustments. It was done with the planar projection (the best of them for flat stitchs). See the pincushioning it introduces and the additional work required if you go this route for flat stitch architectural subjects. These all need some fine tuning before the client sees them of course, but you can see how working from from raw files in PS to Photomerge is quick and easy and does a competent job.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2009, 01:26:04 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

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Kirk

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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #16 on: August 23, 2009, 07:00:47 AM »
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Quote from: Kirk Gittings
As per the point Jeff and I were making above about PM vs. APP for flat architectural stitches from T/S lenses. Here is an example. The first two arre from the raw files. The second in Photoshop Photomerge from the raw files (unedited from the merge) and the third is merged in AutoPano Pro with no post merging adjustments. It was done with the planar projection (the best of them for flat stitchs). See the pincushioning it introduces and the additional work required if you go this route for flat stitch architectural subjects. These all need some fine tuning before the client sees them of course, but you can see how working from from raw files in PS to Photomerge is quick and easy and does a competent job.

Kirk/Jeff:

Sorry for not responding sooner, but APP/APG will do it...  You first need to set the focal length in preferences to always force 1000mm (and/or set to use 1000mm if no exif present), then re-launch to make those settings stick.  Here are your two files above rendered in APG as "Planar" projection with 1000mm focal forced, no other editing done.  Note this is a crappy looking image on quality because I used your miniscule jpegs above, but there is no pincushioning:
« Last Edit: August 23, 2009, 07:04:23 AM by Jack Flesher » Logged

JeffKohn
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« Reply #17 on: August 23, 2009, 10:14:48 AM »
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OK so you can do it if you override the EXIF info. I'm still not sure why I would want to if Photoshop does a perfectly good job, especially since I don't have to generate intermediate TIFF's when using Photomerge. Also, with Photomerge I end up with the layers/masks intact and can tweak them if so desired (although I don't think I've ever actually needed to).

It's something to keep in mind if Photoshop ever fails to stitch correctly, though.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #18 on: August 23, 2009, 11:50:25 AM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
OK so you can do it if you override the EXIF info. I'm still not sure why I would want to if Photoshop does a perfectly good job, especially since I don't have to generate intermediate TIFF's when using Photomerge. Also, with Photomerge I end up with the layers/masks intact and can tweak them if so desired (although I don't think I've ever actually needed to).

It's something to keep in mind if Photoshop ever fails to stitch correctly, though.

I hear you, but a couple of other points.  One is that APP/APG does an extremely good job of blending colors and tones where they differ. Obviously if you do the captures and raw processing properly that usually isn't an issue, but still something to keep in mind in case you need it. The other is perspective/PoV changes on the fly, lots more intuitive and easier than CS's transform tools.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2009, 11:57:56 AM by Jack Flesher » Logged

Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2009, 02:36:45 PM »
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Holy Cow! The new Preferences file had already been corrupted by the time I saved it and I had to start over again. I guess you have to save an absolutely clean file freshly set up before you run a single image?

Deleting the settings file solves the problem....temporarily.

Any thoughts on this? If I close PS, delete the preferences file, open PS, set my new preferences, copy and save that new preferences file and use that the next time the file gets corrupted, that fresh preferences file I saved is already corrupted and I have to delete it and just build a new one from scratch every time. I have tried creating new files eliminating a specific preference setting each time to see if a particular setting is causing the problem but it isn't.

What is causing the settings file to get corrupted???
« Last Edit: August 26, 2009, 02:38:48 PM by Kirk Gittings » Logged

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Kirk

Kirk Gittings
Architecture and Landscape Photography
WWW.GITTINGSPHOTO.COM

LIGHT+SPACE+STRUCTURE (blog)
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