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Author Topic: Anyone use PTGui Pro?  (Read 15367 times)
Justan
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« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2010, 03:29:18 PM »
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Quote from: bill t.


> What version of PTGui are you using?

8.3.7

> One option is to work the images a lot more in ACR, then export from PTGui as a LAYERED .psd or .psb and let Photoshop to the blending, then flatten.

Interesting. you are suggesting letting PTGui do the stitch and PS do the blending. Cool.

> Did you use Smartblend, which is no longer the best choice.

I don’t know where Smartblend is. I made no adjustments in PTGui. For Photoshop I used Bridge and did a photo-merge from there.

> OK, so it's a really tough shot, the left side is a lot brighter than the right, partly because of sun direction. And it just got darker while you were shooting, Magic hour panographers must be quick like a bunny.

I may not have a sense of “quick” for the circumstances. I did 3 exposures at each position then moved on to the next position. I would guess a max of about 15 seconds per click (10 second timer). The original pan was 13 frames (I only used 12). The exposures weren’t that long and the goal was to capture the darkening of the sky through the pan. So the total time was about 9-10 minutes from the first to last snap.

> Try to equalize the images a lot more in ACR. Get the center panel looking great, then working meticulously outward from that, make the other panels look more like the central panel, while possibly keeping some sense of the scene being a little brighter on one side. Right now your image-to-image sky variations are little too challenging for the blender, try to minimize variations in the sky. This means you would have to force the left side panels to look darker, and the right side panels to look lighter, but don't over-homogenize. You need to effectively time compress the scene a bit.

This looks like the technique to use….and a reason to get a book on ACR.

> Or if a lazy panographer could get the sky nicely selected, he could replace the ugly sky with a nice, even gradation using representative bright and dark samples from the existing sky. Partial transparency can sometimes help with credibility in these cases. A cloudless sky invites Photoshop mischief.

Never tried this with a sky. Haven’t used gradients except to darken. I will look into this.

> Best remedy...shoot it again when the light is changing at a slower rate, which would be a little earlier or a little later. Looks like you shot during peak rate of change, which happens just before and after sunset. And shoot faster. When I shoot panos like this I start shooting a few minutes before sunset, then keep going for several minutes after. Same pano, over and over, HDR and all. Out of the 1000+ exposures will emerge one set that is Just Right.

Where is the fun in that? Really you appear to be saying that the results will be more predictable by fudging the light end in PS. That’s cool. It’s always better to know. Well usually always. Anyway, the blend shown above that was done in PS is almost there. I could darken a bit which I’d planned to do anyway, it would be okay but for the most discerning eye.

But I will do a re-shoot. I'm thinking a pre sunrise series will be pretty cool too. Except there probably won’t be as many lights on.

> To verify...you are exporting 16 bit .TIF's from ACR, loading them into PTGui, then outputting a .psd from PTGui.

Tried that and outputting tiff from ptgui.

> In PTGui you probably want to select PTGui Blending on a single layer, or an unblended set of layers (one layer per original camera file) for blending in PS.

This echoes your comments from above. You appear to be suggesting decoupling the stitch from the blend. I’ll definitely have to try that.

> Another quick thought...balancing out heavily saturated skies like that is very difficult, almost any change in scene contrast will produce exaggerated affects in the sky. You could think about processing each of the panels twice, one for the ground, and once for the sky, then using masks in Photoshop pick out the best parts of each. You would first need to process each of those two sets in PTGui using the Template function made from the first set to get the second set to line up exactly. Don't create a new set of control points for the second set, use the template from the first which will use those original control points and guarantee a good overlay.

I saw another reference to doing this. Ironically I understand this except I haven’t worked with layer masks very much. Only when incidental to other controls. I’ll look into gradients and masks this weekend. These sound like the core tools for fixing this kind of problem.

> If I had received advice like this when I first started doing panos, I wouldn't have understood a word of it. Sorry. I'm trying.

No problems here! I've been studying panos since December and a lot of details are coming together.

Also of note in a recent thread several said that different stitchers are suitable for differing circumstances. I think this qualifies as officially rubbing my over sized proboscis in one reason why that is….





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Justan
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« Reply #21 on: March 19, 2010, 03:32:04 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
Even so I would expect PTGuil to do a better job of blending than Photoshop. You should be able to get a better result from PTGui. Try using a different blender, or if you used any of the exposure correction options turn those off.

i used PTGui outta the box. I expected vastly superior results too, but by all accounts that was an unreasonable expectation  

I have only used this program for 5 panos so far (bought the sw last week) and other than this stitch, the others have been fine.
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Justan
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« Reply #22 on: March 19, 2010, 03:38:01 PM »
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Quote from: Luis Argerich
Wow, I've never had such a bad output from PtGUI. As mentioned smartblend used to be the good blender but not enymore. Make sure you don't have it on accidentally.

What is the overlap between frames? Maybe the blender can do a better job with a more generous overlap? I normally overlap between 20% and 40% depending on the conditions and the scene.


I don't know where smartblend is or if it's on by default....

> What is the overlap between frames?

varied slightly but between 20% and 30%  

What is most odd is that were you to look at the individual images, they have very very little of the vignetting that shows up. When measured with ACR the difference between the center portion of the image's sky and the sides was only about 5 points of blue - and that was before vignetting correction.

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bjanes
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« Reply #23 on: March 19, 2010, 03:59:24 PM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Hi,

Same here. But I seldom feel a need for correcting vignetting. In my view it is more important to fix chromatic aberration.Many lenses have some and it cannot be removed from the assembled panorama.


I have some write up on my technique here: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.ph...a-and-stitching (needs an update)

Best regards
Erik
Erik,

I looked at your tutorial and found your setup interesting. I have the RRS PCL-1 panning clamp with a nodal slider and was considering another PCL-1 clamp with the accompanying bars for multi-row panos, but that would be expensive. For landscapes parallax would be minimal and all that might be needed is a tilt adapter such as your Manfrotto tilt adapter. I don't see it listed in the current Manfrotto catalog, but there is a monopod tilt head that is good for up to 5 pounds (2.75 kilos). That might be all I need. What do you think? Thanks for the information.

For correction of lateral chromatic aberration with Nikon cameras, Capture NX might come in handy since it automatically corrects chromatic aberration as well as light falloff. DXO offers even more lens corrections, but only for a limited number of lenses in its database.

Bill
« Last Edit: March 19, 2010, 04:04:32 PM by bjanes » Logged
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« Reply #24 on: March 19, 2010, 05:29:48 PM »
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I stitch a lot, handheld/tripod etc. I use a manfrotto 303 SPH and yes it has some sag to it but it seems to work well with the Contax 645 & lightphase back plus any of the Nikon gear that I use. Today was photo micrometry day in a blizzard.
I have always found shooting in raw and using the native converter eg. Capture One or Capture NX for my conversions. As pointed out earlier CA/distortion etc is easily corrected. Since I shoot almost exclusively in aperture priority I adjust luminosity after I have a look at my first preview in PTGui. This whole thought process follows my work flow where RAW images names are carried through to the stitcher. If I need to replace a image I can over write the original tiff and PTGui will update the image in real time, kinda handy.
I have found that 16 bit tiffs are overkill and I can end up with 28 gig layered PSD’s which are a pain to clean and process. 8 bit I found works fine even when printing native resolution. Even 8 bit files can lead to 2 and 3 gig PSD files. I have found that jpg files cooked out of the RAW work very well.
Joost has worked hard on PTGui and if you don’t like smartblend which is the blending aspect of Joost’s stitcher engine then you can in the options panel add in Endblend or any of the other blender programs.
Max Lyons PTAssembler newest release has the ability to set the masks before you stitch which in this image would have saved a week of masking in PS.

My experience is shoot raw, render/cook in native converter though I will say I haven’t mastered jpgs in Capture One, daily use does help. Use the preview window in PTGui to check your sky on the blend, adjust raw file and replace file check again. Use the blended and individual frame buttons to see how the preview stitch will look.
Remember to select the output options so that the file is output in tiff format in PS (matching input format), ensure none of the repair or color corrections are set. There is some difference in choosing the different stitching engines in stitching speed, I tend to leave these options alone.
I output blended & layers especially if there are moving objects or blend errors. Sometimes I get away lucky but most of the time there is always something to repair.
Skies are one of the most difficult aspects of my panoramas and this is what I use right now for my work flow. Hope this helps.

Mark Prins
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Justan
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« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2010, 11:27:56 AM »
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Hi Mark,

Thank you very much for the detailed reply!  I pay close attention to the educated comments provided by yourself and others and am hugely appreciative of them. A valid comment *always* saves hours or more of research and experimentation!!!

As I've gone deeper into the realm of panos I'm finding that the file sizes become h*u*g*e. They have already caused me to abandon network storage for work files and I'm about ready to step away from PSD files to the bigger TIFF, but only because doing so ultimately streamlines the process.

I'm still just cracking the proverbial book on PTGui. It has let me solve problems with 2 stitches that I wasn’t able to using CS3. If it only does that, due in part to the excellent guidance I've receive here, PTGui will still have an honored place in my tool set.

Joost has generously offered to look at my source files to see if he can help identify and eliminate the problem. And due to this I'm going to send him the output tiff files. Speaking of a lot of storage, the tiffs are over 500 mb.

From what I've learned here and at his site, the problem I had is pretty rare. I often find myself with this kind of problem to solve

I definitely have to learn more about masks, blending and gradients.

Thanks again!
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AndrewKulin
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« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2010, 11:37:26 AM »
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Bill T:

You indicated that Smartblend is no longer the best choice for blending.   I am curious as to why and what you'd recommend (I also use PTGUI) and why.  I have been using Smartblend but if PTGUI or Enblend are better choices then I would certainly make the change.  

Regards,
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bill t.
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« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2010, 12:17:38 PM »
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Quote from: AndrewKulin
Bill T:

You indicated that Smartblend is no longer the best choice for blending.   I am curious as to why and what you'd recommend (I also use PTGUI) and why.  I have been using Smartblend but if PTGUI or Enblend are better choices then I would certainly make the change.  

Regards,

Smartblend is still king when it comes to blending together panels that don't 100% overlap correctly, as for instance adjacent panels with parallax errors that were shot from different camera positions or with a handheld camera.  Smartblend may also produce fewer bizarre stitching artifacts on scenes containing moving objects like people and cars.

But for ordinary sky blending, recent versions of the PTGui blender have been giving me better results that hold up even when I boost the sky contrast.  I used to output layered files to CS4's excellent blender, but don't see the need anymore.  Of course I spend a lot of time equalizing for pano sets in ACR, maybe if I wasn't doing that my blender choice would be different.

Since you have Smartblend installed would be easy to test a few of the kind of panos you do.  FWIW Smartblend has an input parameter list that impact the results quite a bit.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #28 on: March 20, 2010, 03:36:18 PM »
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Bill,

Thanks for comments.

I don't do much of multirow panos. The idea is interesting but I don't really feel the need. Any tilt head would do. I added a RRS QR on top and bottom for quick work.

Regarding light fall off it was never a problem for me. I normally adjust CA in Lightroom, have presets for my usual focal lengths. I prefer to stay in Lightroom as I'm much in favor of a parametric workflow. I'm more like an engineer than an artist.

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: bjanes
Erik,

I looked at your tutorial and found your setup interesting. I have the RRS PCL-1 panning clamp with a nodal slider and was considering another PCL-1 clamp with the accompanying bars for multi-row panos, but that would be expensive. For landscapes parallax would be minimal and all that might be needed is a tilt adapter such as your Manfrotto tilt adapter. I don't see it listed in the current Manfrotto catalog, but there is a monopod tilt head that is good for up to 5 pounds (2.75 kilos). That might be all I need. What do you think? Thanks for the information.

For correction of lateral chromatic aberration with Nikon cameras, Capture NX might come in handy since it automatically corrects chromatic aberration as well as light falloff. DXO offers even more lens corrections, but only for a limited number of lenses in its database.

Bill
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #29 on: March 20, 2010, 05:07:57 PM »
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Quote from: bjanes
I have the RRS PCL-1 panning clamp with a nodal slider and was considering another PCL-1 clamp with the accompanying bars for multi-row panos, but that would be expensive. For landscapes parallax would be minimal and all that might be needed is a tilt adapter such as your Manfrotto tilt adapter. I don't see it listed in the current Manfrotto catalog, but there is a monopod tilt head that is good for up to 5 pounds (2.75 kilos). That might be all I need. What do you think? Thanks for the information.

Hi Bill,

You could get away with the PCL-1 plus MPR and a tilt head although tilting will introduce some foreground parallax (especially vertical). However, 2.75 Kg is not much, given that the center of gravity can be quite a bit of distance away torque and vibration will build up. RRS has a very nice tilt head (MH-01 High Capacity Monopod Head) with B2 Pro II Clamp which I use on my monopod, and it has a 75 pounds load capacity. One of the interesting features is that it has combined Arca Swiss style grooves and 3/8" Female threads in its base. That would allow to mount it on the leveled PCL-1 and add a row (or rows) while maintaining (almost) the same axis of rotation. Of course it all adds up, and RRS stuff is not cheap, but you're unlikely to ever need and replace it for something better.

Cheers,
Bart
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« Reply #30 on: March 20, 2010, 05:16:15 PM »
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Quote from: BartvanderWolf
Hi Bill,

You could get away with the PCL-1 plus MPR and a tilt head although tilting will introduce some foreground parallax (especially vertical). However, 2.75 Kg is not much, given that the center of gravity can be quite a bit of distance away torque and vibration will build up. RRS has a very nice tilt head (MH-01 High Capacity Monopod Head) with B2 Pro II Clamp which I use on my monopod, and it has a 75 pounds load capacity. One of the interesting features is that it has combined Arca Swiss style grooves and 3/8" Female threads in its base. That would allow to mount it on the leveled PCL-1 and add a row (or rows) while maintaining (almost) the same axis of rotation. Of course it all adds up, and RRS stuff is not cheap, but you're unlikely to ever need and replace it for something better.

Cheers,
Bart

Modern stitching programs are so good that pano heads are unnecessary for most landscape work. I shoot my panos with a Manfrotto ballhead, and I've shot several multi-row panos handheld with foreground elements which stitched perfectly.

For architectural and shots having foreground elements they might be necessary. But you can easily save a thousand plus euro and several kilos of gear in your camera bag investing in a good stitcher.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2010, 05:16:41 PM by feppe » Logged

tived
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« Reply #31 on: March 20, 2010, 07:41:20 PM »
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Feppe,

you usually give good and sound advise here, but I am struggling with this one. Shooting pano's handheld, is something you can get away with, but not something you recommend to someone who is inexperienced. Its true, that on many occasions we (you/I/and others here) have all gotten successful stitchs from handheld pano's, but I have certainly also had many unsucessful pano made handheld. Ofcourse if you panos are just to be displayed on the web, then your tolerence may vary, from someone one who needs to print >100x300cm.

But as a general rule, it shouldn't be said that a tripod is not needed for panoramic work, for almost anything. A tripod is recommended for all applications within Multi-imaging, but with some exception, you may be able to produce acceptable result handheld, depending on situation and equipment used, and desired output.

Maybe this is the difference between the professionel and the keen amateaur photographer.


To the OP, i use PTGui Pro, AutopanoPro Giga, Hugin and an old version of stitcher which is getting really dusty.

To me, PTGui Pro, is the best tool, though I wished it had masking like the stitcher has. To me, for what I do, PTGui, produces the best results. Autopano is great to run through a folder of panos and make them up if it can, but often I get rubbish lately, where I in PTGui get a successful stitch, but with a few errors that I fix easily and I have a pano.

Currently PTGui also has better HDR support, but I am sure the boys at Kolor isn't resting, but working away to get this implemented in their great program, it just that PTGui is better for me at the moment.

Smartblend, you will need to download it and tell PTGui where it is located for it to properly work.

Good luck

Henrik

PS: I will have to have a look at Max's program again, it sounds promising :-)
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feppe
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« Reply #32 on: March 20, 2010, 07:49:14 PM »
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Quote from: tived
Feppe,

you usually give good and sound advise here, but I am struggling with this one. Shooting pano's handheld, is something you can get away with, but not something you recommend to someone who is inexperienced. Its true, that on many occasions we (you/I/and others here) have all gotten successful stitchs from handheld pano's, but I have certainly also had many unsucessful pano made handheld. Ofcourse if you panos are just to be displayed on the web, then your tolerence may vary, from someone one who needs to print >100x300cm.

But as a general rule, it shouldn't be said that a tripod is not needed for panoramic work, for almost anything. A tripod is recommended for all applications within Multi-imaging, but with some exception, you may be able to produce acceptable result handheld, depending on situation and equipment used, and desired output.

Maybe this is the difference between the professionel and the keen amateaur photographer.

Perhaps I wasn't clear; I was in no way advocating handheld over tripod use, I was merely pointing out that one can make perfectly sound panos handheld given the stars are right. Tripods should be used when available, and pano heads as well - but most applications the latter is optional and the money better spent on a photography trip, for example.
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« Reply #33 on: March 20, 2010, 07:53:08 PM »
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Quote from: feppe
Perhaps I wasn't clear; I was in no way advocating handheld over tripod use, I was merely pointing out that one can make perfectly sound panos handheld given the stars are right. Tripods should be used when available, and pano heads as well - but most applications the latter is optional and the money better spent on a photography trip, for example.

ok, i think we agree  

thanks

henrik
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bill t.
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« Reply #34 on: March 20, 2010, 11:21:46 PM »
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I have often wondered that if I studied Tai Chi for a couple years, would I be able to harmoniously rotate my lens around a perfectly consistent rotational axis.  The body moves are about right.  Fledgling handholding panographers might do well to spend a few hours watching Tai Chi on Youtube.

For now I'm gonna stick to the tripod, or at least a string loop attached to the lens and held in place by my unmoving feet.
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Justan
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« Reply #35 on: March 21, 2010, 10:58:12 AM »
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Why study Tai Chi when you’ve already made the world’s coolest and probably least expensive pano tool??

WRT Smartblend - For those who are interested, if one were to go into PTGui, change the GUI to Advanced, then go to the Create Panorama tab. There you will find an option called “Blend Using:” and within this option are options to blend using 1) PTGui; 2) Enblend plugin and 3) Smartblend plugin.

In answer to Bill’s question, no, I was not using Smartblend and don’t have the plugin.

Having wandered thought this vast UI it offers a wide array of controls. It would take a couple of years to learn all the capabilities it offers.

But I’d appreciate an answer to one more question:

Under this same “Create Panorama” tab, the default option is set to JPG. How does one change the default to tiff – lossless, etc?



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bill t.
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« Reply #36 on: March 21, 2010, 12:31:19 PM »
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Quote from: Justan
Under this same “Create Panorama” tab, the default option is set to JPG. How does one change the default to tiff – lossless, etc?
That would really be asking too much.  Be happy with what you've got, which will add years to your life.  And don't be a troublemaker.

Also if you output .psd or .psb you will not lose anything but have smaller files than .TIF.

OK, here's a handheld pano snapshot from a few years ago.  I was doing my TaiChi-like best.  Note the breaks in the wires and issues in the building.  Neither Smartblend nor Enblend nor any other ...blend could fix those breaks.  If you wanna spend a few extra hours in Photoshop per pano, hand hold panos with wires in them.  And don't use 18mm lenses tilted up.

« Last Edit: March 21, 2010, 12:32:10 PM by bill t. » Logged
bjanes
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« Reply #37 on: March 21, 2010, 04:16:33 PM »
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Quote from: BartvanderWolf
Hi Bill,

You could get away with the PCL-1 plus MPR and a tilt head although tilting will introduce some foreground parallax (especially vertical). However, 2.75 Kg is not much, given that the center of gravity can be quite a bit of distance away torque and vibration will build up. RRS has a very nice tilt head (MH-01 High Capacity Monopod Head) with B2 Pro II Clamp which I use on my monopod, and it has a 75 pounds load capacity. One of the interesting features is that it has combined Arca Swiss style grooves and 3/8" Female threads in its base. That would allow to mount it on the leveled PCL-1 and add a row (or rows) while maintaining (almost) the same axis of rotation. Of course it all adds up, and RRS stuff is not cheap, but you're unlikely to ever need and replace it for something better.

Cheers,
Bart

Bart,

The RSS tilt head looks very attractive, especially since I already use the Arca type clamps and support. While it would be less expensive than going with the RSS multi-row pano setup, it would not eliminate parallax in the vertical direction. I could use my existing Manfrotto tilt with my other existing equipment. Since double row panos would likely be all that I would need and hopefully the parallax could be taken into account by the stitching software.

My current approach will be to try what I have and go from there. My setup is similar to Erik's:

[attachment=20994:Pano_0022.jpg]

Regards,

Bill
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« Reply #38 on: March 21, 2010, 09:23:45 PM »
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ggggg
Quote from: Justan
Why study Tai Chi when you've already made the world's coolest and probably least expensive pano tool??

WRT Smartblend - For those who are interested, if one were to go into PTGui, change the GUI to Advanced, then go to the Create Panorama tab. There you will find an option called "Blend Using:" and within this option are options to blend using 1) PTGui; 2) Enblend plugin and 3) Smartblend plugin.

In answer to Bill's question, no, I was not using Smartblend and don't have the plugin.

Having wandered thought this vast UI it offers a wide array of controls. It would take a couple of years to learn all the capabilities it offers.

But I'd appreciate an answer to one more question:

Under this same "Create Panorama" tab, the default option is set to JPG. How does one change the default to tiff – lossless, etc?

Make the changes to the settings on each page as you would like them to default, so on create panorama tab that would be changing your output file to TIFF (or psd/psb), 8 or 16 bit, any other settings you wish to have as default, then under the file tab (upper left corner of the window, select make as default (CTRL-SHFT-M) and then each time you run the program those should be the default settings.  

I do the CTRL-SHFT-M thing on each advanced tab setting page after I make the changes which may be overkill.
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bill t.
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« Reply #39 on: March 22, 2010, 02:04:38 AM »
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Quote from: bjanes
Since double row panos would likely be all that I would need and hopefully the parallax could be taken into account by the stitching software.
Keep in mind that whatever magic is invoked to correct vertical axis parallax errors in a double row pano will manifest its strongest artifacts near the vertical center of the image.

I am very skeptical of the notion that software can somehow "fix" significant parallax errors.  All "stretch" functions create geometric distortions, valuing connectivity over correct geometry.  That's OK for trees, but bad for architecture.  Something has always got to give.  In most cases you would be better off shooting a technically perfect single row, than a geometrically challenged double row.
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