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Author Topic: Anyone use PTGui Pro?  (Read 16418 times)
Justan
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« Reply #40 on: March 22, 2010, 10:12:00 AM »
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Quote from: bill t.
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.

Bill,

I have no idea what you mean by this comment. But I will neither disparage or patronize you in reply.

I will once again extend my sincere thinks to you - and to all - for your generous contributions not only of your knowledge but of your time.

Working with panos, so I'm learning, is a formal study familiar only to a small group. The study has lead me to tools such as PTGui that have considerable ability but are not without their quirks.

The willingness of yourselves to help with work arounds and to help fill out my admittedly thin knowledge in this area Ė and to share experiences is, simply stated, invaluable.

You have helped both myself and I hope anyone else who wanders into this specialty who may come across this and other threads covering the many aspects of stitching. The kinds of contribution provided are the purest form of synergy and reflects the highest goals of this web site, if not the highest goals of any group committed to education.

Due to your assistance I've been able to get past some of the programís quirks and more importantly to me, have been able to take advantage of this complex tool to help achieve some pretty good results. All here have helped to further my knowledge of stitching.

Again, my thanks!


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bill t.
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« Reply #41 on: March 22, 2010, 10:52:59 AM »
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Quote from: Justan
I have no idea what you mean by this comment. But I will neither disparage or patronize you in reply.
I forgot the happy face!      And there is no symbol for a ceremonial slap on the back.
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Justan
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« Reply #42 on: March 22, 2010, 11:31:09 AM »
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Thanks Bill. I'm gonna do a reshoot of the series that started the thread and another that I posted in UC. I also ordered a book on using ACR and once it arrives, will try to rescure this one a bit more.  

Locking down the color balance at the shoot will, I hope, help eliminate some of the variables as will being able to tweak more with ACR.
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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #43 on: March 22, 2010, 01:42:33 PM »
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Quote from: Justan
Locking down the color balance at the shoot will, I hope, help eliminate some of the variables as will being able to tweak more with ACR.

When you shoot Raw, there is no need to nail the color balance at the shoot itself. You may even want to change the White balance for certain areas of the image and let the blender make it a gradual change. Here is an example where it is impossible to have a single color balance, since the image spans 244 degrees, one part backlit, and another part front lit. Here is another example where it would be possible to have a single color balance, because it is front lit.

Cheers,
Bart
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tived
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« Reply #44 on: March 23, 2010, 06:55:35 PM »
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Lovely Images, Bart.

Justan, even after many years of trying to make pano's I am still finding that I have more to learn, better processes to impliment.  Just keep trying and learn from your mistake.

Keep things level, work out the overlap unless you have a rotator, and if so, work out which number corraspond to your particular lens.

The better you can get things in camera the better your pano will be. - shooting digital is not different to shooting film, as in you get it right in the camera and move on, then you have less work to do when you get home. Keeping time and cost down.

Raw is very flexible, which is great, but the closer you can get it right, the better the file. Just my $.02

have fun


Henrik

PS: its when things starts to move it becomes challenging, anything static is kids play  
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Justan
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« Reply #45 on: March 24, 2010, 09:11:28 AM »
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Quote from: BartvanderWolf
When you shoot Raw, there is no need to nail the color balance at the shoot itself. You may even want to change the White balance for certain areas of the image and let the blender make it a gradual change. Here is an example where it is impossible to have a single color balance, since the image spans 244 degrees, one part backlit, and another part front lit. Here is another example where it would be possible to have a single color balance, because it is front lit.

Cheers,
Bart

Hi Bart,

The fotos you linked are splendid!

The comment about locking the white balance was in reference to an image I posted in another thread.


In that case much of the shadow area has a blue cast. My theory is that by locking the white balance I may be able to eliminate the blue cast. But it is just a theory. While I can get rid of the cast by changing the color temperature, changing the color temp also removes much of the blue from the night time sky leading to example 2 in the thread referenced above. If there is a better way to do this, I'm interested in hearing about it.

In the example at the top of this thread I think the suggestion to shoot a little later and change the color temp with ACR will be the practical solution and my next go from this particular vantage point.

Your examples further my education (Thanks!) and provide more evidence that eventually Iíll figure out how to resolve these kinds of issues.

Oh yeah, and I do shoot raw.
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Justan
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« Reply #46 on: March 24, 2010, 09:24:38 AM »
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Quote from: tived
Lovely Images, Bart.

Justan, even after many years of trying to make pano's I am still finding that I have more to learn, better processes to impliment.  Just keep trying and learn from your mistake.

Keep things level, work out the overlap unless you have a rotator, and if so, work out which number corraspond to your particular lens.

The better you can get things in camera the better your pano will be. - shooting digital is not different to shooting film, as in you get it right in the camera and move on, then you have less work to do when you get home. Keeping time and cost down.

Raw is very flexible, which is great, but the closer you can get it right, the better the file. Just my $.02

Hi Henrik,

Thanks for the encouraging words. I agree that getting it right in the camera is all important. One of the many interesting things about panos is that they present different requirements of the ways needed to get things right in the camera than shooting single frames, and are a lot more complex in general.

But I've always enjoyed learning complex things and that is part of the enjoyment of panos. The results are well worth the experiments and time required to get it right in the camera.

Later today I'm off for about a 200 mile trip to hopefully catch a sunset across a canal. My last study was mostly good except for the tide being in at the time of the shoot. That lead to the revelation that tide charts can be your friend! So again, the complexity goes up a notch.



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BartvanderWolf
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« Reply #47 on: March 24, 2010, 09:31:05 AM »
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Quote from: Justan
Hi Bart,

The fotos you linked are splendid!

Hi Justan (and Henrik),

Thanks for the kind words.

Quote
My theory is that by locking the white balance I may be able to eliminate the blue cast. But it is just a theory. While I can get rid of the cast by changing the color temperature, changing the color temp also removes much of the blue from the night time sky leading to example 2 in the thread referenced above. If there is a better way to do this, I'm interested in hearing about it.

One of the nice things about stitching is, although similar things can be done with multiple Raw conversions with different WB, that one can use the blender functionality to blend between different White Balances and even exposure levels in the different tiles of the mosaic. The best effects can be achieved when one uses a liberal amount of overlap between the tiles, say 50%. That allows to do the blending automatically.

Taking the blue cast out of shadows, or leveling the exposure differences across a wide field of view, are good candidates for such a blended leveling of differences.

Shooting Raw gives us those possibilities with a smaller risk of introducing posterization caused by excessive postprocessing.

Cheers,
Bart
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bill t.
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« Reply #48 on: March 24, 2010, 12:45:35 PM »
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And the beat goes on.  Here's what might be the best to way fix Justan's existing panorama.

Even if you do your absolute best to create a smoothly transitioning set of pano->TIF raw conversions, there is still going to be some panel to panel inconsistency.

So as a final ring of defense against blending errors, from your stitcher output the panels as a layered 16 bit psd or psb.  When using PTGui each layer will also have a mask.  One image layer at a time, CTRL-click on the image's mask to create a selection.  Then click the yin-yang symbol at the bottom of the Layers panel create a Levels or Curves control layer just above each image layer.  Individually Alt-click on each of the new control layers to make them clipping layers that will only affect the image layer right underneath it.

Then have at it with the control layers until the hard edge wall between images becomes near-seamlessly invisible.  Then flatten the individual control layer + image pairs (not the whole image!) which in the example would leave 4 layers.  Then select all the layers and unleash CS4's Edit->Auto Blend function.  Then flatten the image.

This technique is also good if your pano was shot it in .jpg's by some poorly informed panographer.  But no real panographer will ever rely on this technique as his major pre-blending strategy, without first suffering through trying to obtain best possible equalization in his raw converter.  The problem with the dang raw converters is you can't see your images butted up against each other, with the above technique you can.  So maybe the extra post processing is justified.

And yes yes, the clipping gizmo is not stricly needed on the bottom-most layer.

[attachment=21032:Bill_T_WarmOatmeal.JPG]
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Jeremy Payne
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« Reply #49 on: March 24, 2010, 01:04:03 PM »
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Quote from: ErikKaffehr
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.
Doesn't AutoPano Pro automatically remove vingetting and distortion?  I thought it did ...
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Justan
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« Reply #50 on: March 25, 2010, 09:31:47 AM »
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Quote from: BartvanderWolf
Hi Justan (and Henrik),

Thanks for the kind words.



One of the nice things about stitching is, although similar things can be done with multiple Raw conversions with different WB, that one can use the blender functionality to blend between different White Balances and even exposure levels in the different tiles of the mosaic. The best effects can be achieved when one uses a liberal amount of overlap between the tiles, say 50%. That allows to do the blending automatically.

Taking the blue cast out of shadows, or leveling the exposure differences across a wide field of view, are good candidates for such a blended leveling of differences.

Shooting Raw gives us those possibilities with a smaller risk of introducing posterization caused by excessive postprocessing.

Cheers,
Bart

Thanks!
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Justan
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« Reply #51 on: March 25, 2010, 09:41:08 AM »
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Quote from: bill t.
And the beat goes on.  Here's what might be the best to way fix Justan's existing panorama.

Even if you do your absolute best to create a smoothly transitioning set of pano->TIF raw conversions, there is still going to be some panel to panel inconsistency.

So as a final ring of defense against blending errors, from your stitcher output the panels as a layered 16 bit psd or psb.  When using PTGui each layer will also have a mask.  One image layer at a time, CTRL-click on the image's mask to create a selection.  Then click the yin-yang symbol at the bottom of the Layers panel create a Levels or Curves control layer just above each image layer.  Individually Alt-click on each of the new control layers to make them clipping layers that will only affect the image layer right underneath it.

Then have at it with the control layers until the hard edge wall between images becomes near-seamlessly invisible.  Then flatten the individual control layer + image pairs (not the whole image!) which in the example would leave 4 layers.  Then select all the layers and unleash CS4's Edit->Auto Blend function.  Then flatten the image.

This technique is also good if your pano was shot it in .jpg's by some poorly informed panographer.  But no real panographer will ever rely on this technique as his major pre-blending strategy, without first suffering through trying to obtain best possible equalization in his raw converter.  The problem with the dang raw converters is you can't see your images butted up against each other, with the above technique you can.  So maybe the extra post processing is justified.

And yes yes, the clipping gizmo is not stricly needed on the bottom-most layer.

[attachment=21032:Bill_T_WarmOatmeal.JPG]




It will probably take me a month or so to figure out how to accomplish what you wrote above but i understand enough to know youíve saved me months of screwing around!

I think thatís dinner #2 or #3 that I owe you for your professorial generosity!

*Thank you* *Thank you* *Thank you*
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Bill Koenig
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« Reply #52 on: March 25, 2010, 01:56:21 PM »
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Quote from: Jeremy Payne
Doesn't AutoPano Pro automatically remove vingetting and distortion?  I thought it did ...

I'm surprised that Autopano Pro hasn't been mentioned more in this thread. Although I haven't used PTGui, I do use APP and I think it would handle the blending problems that Justan is having quite well. Rendering with Smartblend in APP is pretty amazing IMO, but Smartblend does have problems with very large files. I had no problems stitching 50 images (5 rows of 10) but if Smartblend can't do it, there are other blend modes that will.  One of the things that Smartblend does so well is getting rid of ghosting
Its worth downloading the free trial just to check it out.
It seems that quite a few people are using both programs. The next version of APP is supposedly going to address HDR, I can't wait.
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Bill Koenig,
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« Reply #53 on: March 25, 2010, 02:06:27 PM »
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Hi,

I use Autopano Pro, too and I agree with all Bill says.

I have some info here: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.ph...a-and-stitching

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: Bill Koenig
I'm surprised that Autopano Pro hasn't been mentioned more in this thread. Although I haven't used PTGui, I do use APP and I think it would handle the blending problems that Justan is having quite well. Rendering with Smartblend in APP is pretty amazing IMO, but Smartblend does have problems with very large files. I had no problems stitching 50 images (5 rows of 10) but if Smartblend can't do it, there are other blend modes that will.  One of the things that Smartblend does so well is getting rid of ghosting
Its worth downloading the free trial just to check it out.
It seems that quite a few people are using both programs. The next version of APP is supposedly going to address HDR, I can't wait.
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bill t.
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« Reply #54 on: March 25, 2010, 08:09:52 PM »
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Autopano lacks some very useful projections such as Verdutismo, which I can not live without.  Or am I just not finding it?

It has some nice features such as full size panel views etc.  But IMHO most of the features in Autopano are things that would best be done in Photoshop, such as contrast adjustment and cropping.  Blending is neither better nor worse that in PTGui, and of course third part blenders like Smartblend run from any program will produce the same results for the same command lines.  And I miss the ability to manipulate the geometry of the preview image directly with the mouse, which is somethe PTGui does very well.  So lacking Photoshop I might prefer Autopano for its built-in basic image editing features.  But for now I personally like the lean and to-the-point nature of PTGui as a solid link in the workflow from camera to Photoshop to printed pano.
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JeffKohn
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« Reply #55 on: March 26, 2010, 12:48:53 PM »
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Quote from: bill t.
Autopano lacks some very useful projections such as Verdutismo, which I can not live without.  Or am I just not finding it?

It has some nice features such as full size panel views etc.  But IMHO most of the features in Autopano are things that would best be done in Photoshop, such as contrast adjustment and cropping.  Blending is neither better nor worse that in PTGui, and of course third part blenders like Smartblend run from any program will produce the same results for the same command lines.  And I miss the ability to manipulate the geometry of the preview image directly with the mouse, which is somethe PTGui does very well.  So lacking Photoshop I might prefer Autopano for its built-in basic image editing features.  But for now I personally like the lean and to-the-point nature of PTGui as a solid link in the workflow from camera to Photoshop to printed pano.
You're correct that Autopano Pro doesn't have the Vedutismo projection, AFAIK PTGui is the only one that has it. This is my preferred projection mode for most landscapes moderately wide to wide FOV's. PTGui also has Exposure Fusion support for exposure blending. These two features are the reason that I use PTGui for the majority of my stitching.  Another thing Autopano lacks is the ability to manually create control points, which I occasionally find necessary (not often though).

Autopano does have some nice features though. I find it to be more reliable at detecting the vanishing point and leveling the pano. I also really like the crop tool in Autopano and wish PTGui had it. Since I prefer specific aspect ratios for my panos, it's nice to be able to see what the composition will look like for those ratios without having to stitch first.
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« Reply #56 on: March 26, 2010, 01:41:59 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
Autopano does have some nice features though. I find it to be more reliable at detecting the vanishing point and leveling the pano. I also really like the crop tool in Autopano and wish PTGui had it. Since I prefer specific aspect ratios for my panos, it's nice to be able to see what the composition will look like for those ratios without having to stitch first.

You can crop panos in PTGUI by dragging the edges. It's entirely non-intuitive and not apparent, though.
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« Reply #57 on: March 26, 2010, 03:12:22 PM »
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Quote from: feppe
You can crop panos in PTGUI by dragging the edges. It's entirely non-intuitive and not apparent, though.
Yes, that is helpful for reducing the overall size of the stitched result and getting rid of empty space. But it doesn't let you crop to exactly a 3:1 ratio, for example.
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« Reply #58 on: March 26, 2010, 03:41:02 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
Yes, that is helpful for reducing the overall size of the stitched result and getting rid of empty space. But it doesn't let you crop to exactly a 3:1 ratio, for example.

Ah, correct, you have to eyeball the AR.

The problem with the two programs is that neither of them have all the features. APP has much better UI and is simpler to use, but PTGUI has more features - and does exposure blending and has more robust layer alignment for bracketed shots. APP had some pretty serious problems with stability on my older rig with only 4 gigs of memory, haven't used the latest versions, though.

On the other hand since neither of them is the solution it means competition to stay ahead of the curve, ie. better products and cheaper prices for us!
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Michael Bailey
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« Reply #59 on: April 03, 2010, 03:39:45 PM »
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My two cents... As to the original question about whether PT Gui Pro can correct for vignetting, I'm pretty sure it can. One trick is to give it a full 360 degree row of pictures to work on so that it can figure out the corrections needed for a successful blend, and then you can apply those corrections to the original files. Otherwise, I believe, you have to enter figures numerically as you would with its ancestor, Pano Tools. Check this tutorial for more and better information:
http://www.ptgui.com/examples/vigntutorial.html

I should add that I do not practise what I just preached. If I need to make corrections to an individual file, I find it much easier to use ACR or a Photoshop plug-in like PT Lens ( http://epaperpress.com/ptlens/ )

Regarding a later posting showing blending problems with PT Gui, I was surprised to see it. PT Gui has always impressed me with its ability to smoothly blend seemingly impossible variations in the density of joined edges. (I'll propose a radical notion about that in a moment.)

I have tried AutoPano Pro and PT Gui Pro, but now use PT Gui almost exclusively. First, because it runs on my Windows machine easily five times faster than the other, even when using the Smartblend plug-in. Second, I was just never able to figure out how to manipulate the control points in AutoPano. I'm sure that's more my fault than the software's--I need to read the directions better. But the program takes a very long time to redraw previews after corrections are entered, and I lose track of how my entries affect the result.

AutoPano strongly markets its ability to find relevant files in a folder and organize them for stitching. But even that process, fun as it is to watch, is terribly time-consuming. It's really not a big deal to drag and drop your files right out of Bridge or other browser into PT Gui.

Regarding hardware, I am a big fan of Nodal Ninja. The price is reasonable, the quality is high, and the manufacturers are very helpful. I'm sure the RRS devices are very good too, like their other products. But the Nodal Ninja is cheaper and fits into one small elegant case. It's dedicated to the one purpose of panorama shooting, so you can set it once for your body-and-lens combination and (almost) forget about it.

If you've stuck with me this far, well that's your own fault, but here's my ridiculous idea. The premise: exposure settings for panoramics are supposed to be locked on manual, shot in raw, and widely bracketed to help with brightness differences or, shudder, HDR. (I shudder at HDR only because I still can't make any sense of it. But that's my burden and a story for another day.) The proposition: if we're going to bracket raw files anyway, why not shoot with the camera set on aperture-priority automatic? Ignoring new-fangled settings like evaluative metering and such for the moment, plain old auto exposure will create a series of files of middle value tonality. They will very likely be too light or dark for certain parts of our scene, but because they are putting our subjects into the middle of the tonal range, they should be very "editable". (I really need to find out if that's a real word.) We still have bracketing to cover our back, and we still have the option of raw editing to help us even more. Then we have what I mentioned earlier, the observation that got me started on this idea: the nearly supernatural ability of current stitching programs to smooth out exposure variations.

You'd think I would just go out and test my own idea, but I only thought of it the other day and haven't shot any panoramics since. So I will rephrase it in the form of a question: Have any of you shot your panoramics on automatic exposure, and how did it work compared to fixed-manual?

Oh, one last thing. The best information I have found online about this whole area has been in tutorials written by John Houghton.
http://www.johnhpanos.com/
He uses PT Gui, but I bet you'll find plenty of good information even if you don't.

If you want to see stuff I've been doing:   http://www.michaelbaileyphoto.com/panos.htm

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