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Author Topic: Panorama stitching  (Read 8899 times)
Robert Spoecker
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« Reply #20 on: March 18, 2005, 05:52:59 PM »
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can you tell us where it was taken?
Alabama Hills (just North of Lone Pine on the road to Whitney Portal).  It's one of the greatest rock formations photography places I've ever seen, even better than Joshua Tree Nat. Park.  I've spent days in a row roaming around there and I won't even tell you how many frames I shot.  It's easy access with an ordinary car and there's a big network of roads and if you're ever in Lone Pine and have a few hours, it's a must.  

I'm glad ya like the pic, but then I made that mandatory.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #21 on: March 17, 2005, 09:55:14 PM »
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Sorry, didger, the way you were talking it sounded like you were having major stitching problems, and I assumed it was due to parallax because that's the only noticeable stitching problem that I've encountered myself.  I didn't remember whether you used a panorama head or not, so I assumed, given the magnitude of your complaints, that you didn't.  Bad assumption, but then hindsight is 20-20...

You sound cranky today.  Must be the bad weather coming in keeping you from shooting.  Patience, patience...

Lisa
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #22 on: March 18, 2005, 10:08:54 AM »
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I feel Didger's pain here. I gave up on the automatic cheapo stuff long ago out of frustration with obvious seams and poorly-done blends and bizarre joins that turned straight horizons into something rather like a constipated snake. My idea of quality output is a 20x60 print that has no visible seams or blending artifacts even viewed under a magnifying glass. If I can't tell where the seams are under such conditions, it's good enough. I'm currently using PT Assembler to correct lens distortions, outputting to a layered PSD file, and doing the final blending by hand by painting the layer masks. To paraphrase Churchill, it's the worst possible process imaginable, except for everything else I've ever tried.
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jmb
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« Reply #23 on: March 12, 2005, 10:09:36 PM »
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Check out http://www.tawbaware.com/maxlyons/

JMB
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didger
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« Reply #24 on: March 12, 2005, 11:48:36 PM »
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I haven't looked at PTAssembler for quite a while, but when I checked it out previously it was nearly identical to PTMac.  With Enblend for both programs, blending even challenging images is now fast and incredibly good.  The biggest remaining problem with PTMac is that it's hard to place control point pairs accurately because of a serious (in my opinion) bug in the program.  I keep pestering Kevin about it and he absolutely has to fix this before the program can possibly be marketed seriously.  In any case, PTMac and PTAssembler need a LOT of work on the interface to make it more user friendly and intuitive, like Stitcher 4.0.  If Stitcher had an option for manual selection of control point pairs like PTMac (but actually working right), I would just go for it, even at the exhorbitant price.  As it is, I'm not going to waste a huge amount of time with my thousands of frames to stitch with any program that's too cumbersome.  It's a little frustrating because I've got the parallax thing totally solved with a glued on 3.5 oz. panorama head that works perfectly for my 35 and 50mm lenses and some of my most exciting shots are for panorama things that will end up 20 to 80 Mpixels or so.  I've done enough testing with PTMac to be sure that I can get perfect results that even Jack Flesher would be satisfied with.  Fast, efficient, versatile super high quality stitching will happen, but no existing program is quite there yet as far as I'm concerned.

Other than custom making a light and efficient panorama head yourself, the existing options are not so hot.  You can have a cheap, but unstable and much too bulky panorama head that's a hassle to set up every time or you can have a more streamlined head that is fairly easy to use, but extremely expensive and rather heavy.  Without a panorama head to allow rotation about the nodal point of the lens you're very limited.  You have to settle for rather poor stitches or only doing things with no subject matter close to the lens.

I'm looking forward to a 30+ Mpixel MF back with about 12 stops of DR, so that the hassles and imperfections of stitching or blending will mostly be history.  I'll only need to sell my house to finance that too.  Then I can be on the road shooting all the time, ha ha.
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jerryf
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« Reply #25 on: March 14, 2005, 10:00:26 AM »
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Hi, If you dont get on with that you could try editing in Picture Window or Picture Windoe Prow, instead of Photoshop or whatever you use now. It is a lot cheaper than Photoshop and has an excelent array of abilities, including photo joining. If your pictures have lens distortion, that can be corrected first. Find it on  www.dl-c.com At least have a look! Jerry.
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Tony Collins
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« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2005, 06:33:55 AM »
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I have achieved invisible joins at 100% using Panorama Factory software, hand held and using Canon's notably distorting 24-85. Not all the time, but often enough to flash off a set of frames of any likely scene. PF is "automatic" and finds the common points to stitch and surprises me sometimes by coping well with foreground objects. Even with imperfect stitches at 100% you can make large prints because of the enhanced resolution you get by having all those extra pixels.
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Tony Collins
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« Reply #27 on: March 17, 2005, 06:57:29 AM »
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Whilst Didger's quest for perfect panoramas every time is laudable I was making the point that with a little care hand holding can produce a high enough keeper rate that photographers shouldn't be put off trying the technique because they don't have a panorama head or the ability to operate complex stitching software. After posting I had a close look at one of my favourite stitches in case I hadn't been looking closely enough to find faults. It's a beach scene with foreground and distant coast. Sure enough at 100% I became suspicious that some of the pebbles on the sand were ghosts. It doesn't detract from the picture and I could clone out the blemishes in a second.
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didger
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« Reply #28 on: March 17, 2005, 05:31:53 PM »
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Didger, rather than trying to find the "perfect" stitching program to try to fix stitches with parallax errors (which is somewhat a case of GIGO), you might instead try getting a panorama head to do it Right.
Huh?? Don't you remember that I introduced you to the concept of rotating about the nodal point of the lens with a precisely calibrated panorama head? What's that saying about teaching your grandmother to suck eggs? I have several panorama heads, mostly home made. The first one I had is probably what you have, the Panosaurus. It's way too heavy (don't EVER say "only about two lbs." to a backpacker!!!), way too bulky, too much hassle to set up, and very unstable with a heavy camera or if there's any wind at all. It's cheap is about the best you can say for it. The one I use now is a carbon fiber model that weighs 3.5 oz. and is permanently glued to my camera and is absolutely no hassle to use. My problem is NOT parallax, but minor stitch imperfections resulting mainly from lens distortion and slight angular variations from frame to frame. Most panorama stitching efforts have ghosting from parallax AND stitch misalignment from lens distortion, etc. You have apparently cured the parallax problem, but I assure you that you're not going to get perfect stitch alignment with various lenses and various subjects with any cheap automatic stitching program very consistently. I've tried all the programs (I think) and NONE of them work as well as I want. Folks that claim otherwise have not done a lot of trials and/or have not looked at their work very carefully.

As for settling for imperfections, no thanks. I didn't spend a fortune on equipment and commit to spending huge amounts of time and effort to be out shooting all the time just to produce a lot of images with stitching alignment imperfections. Sure, sometimes the subject matter is such that problems can be fixed fairly easily, but sometimes it's not. I'm definitely NOT into this as a casual hobby thing; I've done plenty of experimentation already and now I'm waiting for a tool that's good enough for serious professional level production with 100% keepers and 0% Photoshop fixing needed.

PTMac gets virtually perfect results every time if you take care to get the control points accurate. There's a bug in the program, however, that makes this too much hassle. Kevin has finally agreed (after several of us kept complaining) to give this problem a high priority, so the next beta should see the program good enough so that I'll start production on my countless images.

I'm back from my trip way early because the weather looks like nothing but overcast and rain for over a week. Good for lots more snow in the mountains and probably an all time record desert wildflower show in a few weeks, but for right now it's not a good time to shoot around here in the desert or mountains. I did get a couple of days of some really nice sand dune action and I'm already looking forward to better weather again for more shooting.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #29 on: March 18, 2005, 11:28:34 AM »
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I also seem to be about the only one on this forum that defends the Ansel Adams and Edward Weston approach where "rules of composition" are concerned. I keep getting into discussions about that too, for the encouragement of the occasional person that may want to try intuition rather than learning rules, but perhaps in this case also the "occasional person" doesn't exist and I'm preaching to a vacuum and just irritating those already totally committed to rules.

If it's any consolation, I'm closer to your viewpoint than to others' here on that subject. I never studied the "rules" of composition, but, with extensive practice just taking photos and studying what works and what doesn't, more often than not I find that the ones that "work" conform to the standard rules of composition (which I didn't run into until later). But there's always the handful (something like 10%) that "work" very well for me despite blantantly violating those "rules" (often better than the ones that follow the rules, I think, as they look less like the things we've all seen before), which goes to show that ignoring the rules and following my intuition works well too. I've just never bothered to get involved in those discussions because I don't expect that others' arguments will affect what I think on that subject nor do I think that what I have to say on the subject will particularly enlighten anyone else.

Just one further thought on stitching: Nothing in photography is Perfect. No camera has autofocus that works perfectly 100% of the time, no tripod is 100% vibration-free, no lens is 100% distortion-free, etc. etc.. You just learn to live with the imperfections and work around them or compensate for them, or quit altogether. Maybe, for you, current stitching technology is sufficiently past your "imperfection threshold" to make you want to quit stitching altogether, but different people have different thresholds. My one experiment so far with my panorama head has me thoroughly impressed with how well it worked, but it's always possible that I just got extremely lucky on that one set of shots, or that I'm half-blind and can't see any stitching aberrations; only further experimentation will tell for sure.

In the meantime, let's just agree to disagree, OK? It's not worth getting into a bad mood over.

Lisa
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Robert Spoecker
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« Reply #30 on: March 18, 2005, 02:13:25 PM »
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Does this mean I'm even more of an anal-retentive perfectionist than you?!?!??
Probably.  We need an ARP anonymous support group.  You and Jack and I can be the founding members, but dues can be sent to me.

Could also be that I just haven't tried a lot of images with enblend yet.  Maybe I'll also be disappointed sometimes.

As for changing the image, that will wait until I have some clue about marketing targets. If someone waves money under my nose they even get to make compositional rules suggestions without getting a smartass reply.

 
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