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Author Topic: Hugin vs. Autopano Pro  (Read 7284 times)
wolfnowl
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« on: September 13, 2009, 10:42:17 PM »
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Hi Folks:

Since it's Sunday I thought I'd mess around a bit.  I posted before about an open source panorama software program called Hugin that I'd found - I've really liked it, and managed to put together a few images like these, even hand held.  

[attachment=16563:DSCF4731_P.jpg]
[attachment=16564:DSCF5021_P.jpg]
[attachment=16565:DSCF5061_P.jpg]

However, I have had some problems with incorrect stitches, even tripod mounted, and also with HDR images.  I downloaded a trial version of Autopano Pro, which unlike Hugin isn't open source and retails for about $160 Cdn.

I also have Timothy Armes' Lightroom-Enfuse HDR plugin, so I added that into the mix.  I made nine images (3 images x 3 exposures, at -1, 0 +1) of a flower garden, using my little walkaround camera, the Fuji S1500FD, mounted on a rail on a tripod.  I tried creating panoramas using both programs, in two ways.  One, I imported the nine images into the two programs and let them run.  Second, I created blended images of each of the three sets of three images using Enfuse, and then imported those three images into the two panorama programs.  I had found before that the second method produced better results in Hugin.  I imported the images into Lightroom for cropping where necessary but made no further adjustments, and exported them all as a maximum of 1024 pixels.  Because the Autopano Pro is a trial version, the images have a watermark on them, but other than that they're supposed to be the same as the full version of the software.

So, the straight images:

Hugin
[attachment=16559:DSCF5225_PH.jpg]

Autopano Pro
[attachment=16558:DSCF5225_PAP.jpg]

Then the blended images (using the Enfuse plugin in Lightroom)

Hugin
[attachment=16557:DSCF5225_blend_PH.jpg]

Autopano Pro
[attachment=16556:DSCF5225_blend_PAP.jpg]


Finally, I took one set of three images, and tried processing it three ways - using Enfuse, Hugin, and Autopano Pro.  The results are:

Enfuse
[attachment=16560:DSCF5234_blend.jpg]

Hugin
[attachment=16562:DSCF5234_blendH.jpg]

Autopano Pro
[attachment=16561:DSCF5234_blendAP.jpg]


Overall I found the Autopano Pro images a bit dark, but I could bring that up well using the Fill Light slider.  The Hugin panoramas had some serious mismatch problems with the fence on the upper left, but the Autopano Pro images did not.  There's also a few flowers missing from the Hugin panoramas that are present in the Autopano Pro images.  Finally, the Hugin images are quite flat in comparison.

Finally, with the single HDR image, Hugin didn't seem to know what to do with it.  I checked the control points manually and they seemed to line up fine.  I made sure I had had the projection set to rectilinear, but nothing seemed to matter.  Of the remaining two, I found little difference.  The Autopano Pro image is darker than the Enfuse image, but they could be edited to be nearly identical, I think.

Mike.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 05:21:01 PM by wolfnowl » Logged

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kikashi
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2009, 03:08:35 AM »
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Mike,

One nasty "feature" of AutoPano Pro is that it loses the colour profile when it produces panoramas. I export from LR in ProPhoto; I have to load the resulting panos into PS and reassign the ProPhoto profile to get the correct look. Does that have any relevance to your comment that the APP results look a bit dark?

Jeremy
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2009, 03:59:24 AM »
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Hi Mike,

Thanks for sharing your experience, much appreciated!

I have tried HDR before, but never got any convincing results. I'm with Jeremy regarding the color profile thing, I used to export in AdobeRGB to avoid it but I don't know if it helps.

Best regards
Erik



Quote from: wolfnowl
Hi Folks:

Since it's Sunday I thought I'd mess around a bit.  I posted before about an open source panorama software program called Hugin that I'd found - I've really liked it, and managed to put together a few images like these, even hand held.  

[attachment=16563:DSCF4731_P.jpg]
[attachment=16564:DSCF5021_P.jpg]
[attachment=16565:DSCF5061_P.jpg]

However, I have had some problems with incorrect stitches, even tripod mounted, and also with HDR images.  I downloaded a trial version of Autopano Pro, which unlike Hugin isn't open source and retails for about $160 Cdn.

I also have Timothy Armes' Lightroom-Enfuse HDR plugin, so I added that into the mix.  I made nine images (3 images x 3 exposures, at -1, 0 +1) of a flower garden, using my little walkaround camera, the Fuji S1500FD, mounted on a rail on a tripod.  I tried creating panoramas using both programs, in two ways.  One, I imported the nine images into the two programs and let them run.  Second, I created blended images of each of the three sets of three images using Enfuse, and then imported those three images into the two panorama programs.  I had found before that the second method produced better results in Hugin.  I imported the images into Lightroom for cropping where necessary but made no further adjustments, and exported them all as a maximum of 1024 pixels.  Because the Autopano Pro is a trial version, the images have a watermark on them, but other than that they're supposed to be the same as the full version of the software.

So, the straight images:

Hugin
[attachment=16559:DSCF5225_PH.jpg]

Autopano Pro
[attachment=16558:DSCF5225_PAP.jpg]

Then the blended images (using the Enfuse plugin in Lightroom)

Hugin
[attachment=16557:DSCF5225_blend_PH.jpg]

Autopano Pro
[attachment=16556:DSCF5225_blend_PAP.jpg]


Finally, I took one set of three images, and tried processing it three ways - using Enfuse, Hugin, and Autopano Pro.  The results are:

Enfuse
[attachment=16560:DSCF5234_blend.jpg]

Hugin
[attachment=16562:DSCF5234_blendH.jpg]

Autopano Pro
[attachment=16561:DSCF5234_blendAP.jpg]


Overall I found the Autopano Pro images a bit dark, but I could bring that up well using the Fill Light slider.  The Hugin panoramas had some serious mismatch problems with the fence on the upper left, but the Autopano Pro images did not.  There's also a few flowers missing from the Hugin panoramas that are present in the Autopano Pro images.  Finally, the Hugin images are quite flat in comparison.

Finally, with the single HDR image, Hugin didn't seem to know what to do with it.  I checked the control points manually and they seemed to line up fine.  I made sure I had had the projection set to rectilinear, but nothing seemed to matter.  Of the remaining two, I found little difference.  The Autopano Pro image is darker than the Enfuse image, but they could be edited to be nearly identical, I think.

Mike.
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vjbelle
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2009, 08:52:58 AM »
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I have tried AutoPano several times and have always been somewhat disappointed.  The big problem with me is keeping horizontal lines straight in AutoPano.  They're never straight which is why I have always stuck with PTGui.  I would even spend the extra money to have both programs if there was something redeeming but I can't find any redeeming qualities.
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2009, 08:59:05 AM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
I'm with Jeremy regarding the color profile thing, I used to export in AdobeRGB to avoid it but I don't know if it helps.

This has become part of my workflow with external apps like AutoPano and Photomatix ... Once I am done with the image in the external editor, I re-save a TIFF back into LR and then immediately open the original TIFF in PS to assign the correct profile that got stripped and do a couple tweaks before saving back into LR.

I think using AdobeRGB just makes the issue seem less visibly apparent ... I don't think it solves the problem.
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Panopeeper
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« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2009, 11:17:44 AM »
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Mike,


1. I never let the stitcher (PTAssembler, i.e. Panorama Tools) make any tonal adjustments. I am preparing the source frames from raw and adjusting them until they match as much as necessary, verified in preview. (Adjustments are often necessary, because I often shoot with variable exposure.)

2. I suggest you to separate the stitching and blending issues. Take only the three source frames, let the stitchers create the warped frames but do not blend them into a pano. Load these three warped images in PS and erase the black surroundings (easy with the alpha channel). Overlay them as layers and see how good or bad they align. Sometimes the stitching (warping) yields horrendeously mismatching results, but the blending step hides the errors; however, sometimes it is important to know the "truth".

3. I guess you used the automatic control point picking of Hugin as well. Verify the control points. I don't know how Hugin picks them; Autopano (not the stitcher but the control point picker) sucks as much as only possible. I pick the control points myself, as that is not only the question of reliability of the individual pairs, but their placement is of strategic relevance.

I have not used Hugin, but I know that that too is Panorama Tools based, as sucht, the stitching is as perfect as the parameters are. Btw, PTAssembler is much cheaper than Autopano and PTGui.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2009, 11:56:19 AM »
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Well,

It really depends how the software handles files without embedded profiles. It should ask which profile to use if no profile is given. I agree that using Adobe RGB can hide the problem.

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: Jeremy Payne
This has become part of my workflow with external apps like AutoPano and Photomatix ... Once I am done with the image in the external editor, I re-save a TIFF back into LR and then immediately open the original TIFF in PS to assign the correct profile that got stripped and do a couple tweaks before saving back into LR.

I think using AdobeRGB just makes the issue seem less visibly apparent ... I don't think it solves the problem.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2009, 04:27:42 PM »
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Thanks for the suggestions, folks!  I just thought it was an interesting way to spend a Sunday afternoon, but I'll try out what's been said.

Mike.

P.S.

Quote
I guess you used the automatic control point picking of Hugin as well.

I used the automatic control points in Autopano Pro as it had no difficulties lining everything up.  With Hugin, when I noticed the errors in the fence I went back in and manually set up... I think it was eight control points for each set, specifically in the fence area.  For some reason it didn't help.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2009, 05:18:51 PM by wolfnowl » Logged

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« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2009, 11:12:38 AM »
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Quote from: wolfnowl
With Hugin, when I noticed the errors in the fence I went back in and manually set up... I think it was eight control points for each set, specifically in the fence area.  For some reason it didn't help.
Looking at the pano with the flowers in front of the fence, I'm not convinced that AutoPano Pro is doing any better than Hugin. The AutoPano Pro version has completely duplicated a pink flower in the upper part of the frame about a third of the way from the left edge. It also duplicated the small red flower below and to the right of pink one, and it duplicated the big red flower below that.

The way I come up with good points in Hugin (would likely work in the others) is to generate three times the default amount of points, then quickly scroll through them deleting the points that clearly don't match well or when they cluster. Use the computer for what it does well and the human eye for what it does well. Also, in hugin I find it quite helpful to "fine tune all points" under the edit menu. After doing this, the "Distance" value changes to showing the correlation - delete the points with the worst values. But actually, I end up deleting more due to clustering than due to poor point selection. It's better to have points that are evenly distributed across the overlapping area.

Sean
« Last Edit: September 15, 2009, 11:18:55 AM by BlackSmith » Logged
Pete_G
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« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2009, 05:36:57 PM »
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I used Hugin for quite awhile before I swapped to Autopano Pro. I still keep Hugin/Panotools on my computer because now and then it will do a better job than APP but these days it's rare. I think the control point engine is much the same between the two systems, isn't it autopano-sift? Originally I used to add control points manually but now I think software does the job better than I could, and certainly quicker. Ideally it's always better to create panos as embedded tiff/psd's and do all the blending manually in PS but APP is remarkably good at doing this automatically too.

I find the problem with APP "losing" the profile to be irritating, but re-assigning the profile in PS will solve the problem without any IQ loss AFAIK. Hugin is free, APP is not, but APP may be worth the expense, particularly the new 64 bit version that offloads a lot of the rendering to the graphics chip, much much faster.

I think that you can also control the horizons with APP. It has many features that are not immedaitely obvious.
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wolfnowl
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« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2009, 01:02:44 AM »
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Sean:  Thanks for the heads up on the doubled flowers; I hadn't noticed them until you mentioned it.

Mike.

P.S.  There's an interesting video on straightening a panorama in Autopano Pro, here.  It's a little tricky to find...
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If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
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« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2009, 09:11:54 AM »
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I have found PTgui Pro to be best for HDR.

Regards,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2009, 09:19:11 AM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Well,

It really depends how the software handles files without embedded profiles. It should ask which profile to use if no profile is given. I agree that using Adobe RGB can hide the problem.

Best regards
Erik

That brings up a great point ... what does LR do when you import a file with no embedded profile?  That handling is set by preference in Photoshop, but I know of no preference in LR for this ... it would seem that it assumes something - and I doubt it assumes ProPhoto.

I'll ask on the LR sub-forum.
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« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2009, 11:27:45 AM »
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Losing the profile in APP is not a huge deal although it is a minor irritation. The one thing to watch out for is that APP has "LDR" color correction turned on by default if I recall. The correction is actually tonal rather than color. But since APP is not colorspace aware it would probably be a bad idea to use this correction if your images are not in a Gamma 2.2 color space (for example if your images are in ProPhoto which is a Gamma 1.8 colorspace). Other than that, the lack of ICC support shouldn't affect the results.

I'm surprised to hear someone say they have trouble getting level panoramas out of APP. This is the one area where I feel that APP is clearly better than PTGui. Maybe it's because I shoot from a tripod with a pano head; but APP seems to select the correct vanishing point and leveling just about 100% of the time, it really is uncanny. PTGui isn't so good in this regard; it seems to guess that the vanishing point is in the center of the stitch which will be incorrect if the camera was angled up or down during shooting.

Like Bernard I prefer PTGui for panos where I need to blend exposures. The built-in exposure-fusion support is good. I also prefer PTGui for wider FOV's where the Vedutismo projection is most pleasing for landscapes. Outside of those two considerations, I generally prefer APP because it has a better UI and does a better job of detecting the vanishing point.
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