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panorama tools questions...

Discussion in 'General Technical Discussion' started by manzico, Jul 30, 2005.

  1. So I posed the question the other day, "What are your favorite plugins". One of the tools mentioned by quite a few folks was panorama tools. Since I have some panorama shots I'm interested in putting together, and I haven't found photoshop to be the best to fit them together, I thought I'd give it a try. First off, it is not easy to use, but it is very powerful. I found an app that runs on top of it called hugin. This makes things alot easier. Still I can see there is alot to learn. So here is my question: For those of you who use, panorama tools, what is your workflow, and if you don't use panorama tools, what do you use to stitch together your images? I've used the panorama utility in PS CS and found it lacking to one degree or another. I haven't looked to see if CS2 is significantly different in this respect. Just picking your brains. Many thanks in advance.

  2. Chris101


    Feb 2, 2005
    Hi Dave, I do use the photomerge tool in Photoshop (CS2) and as long as I click the 'leave as layers' box, then tidy up after, I think it does a dandy job. Now mind you, I dont try to make my panos look like they really were taken with a super-duper wide angle lens, but as long as I get the tonalities close, it works ok.

    Here's a quick shot I did last weekend for the Scottsdale meet-up:

    By the way, are you gonna make it?
  3. that does seem to be the way to go...

    Leaving it as layers does seem to be the way to go even with the panorama tools.

    Unfortunately I won't be able to make it up there this weekend. I had planned on going, but it looks like I'll be working this weekend. I hope you folks have a good time. I'll have to catch the next one.



    Apr 30, 2005
    I enjoy shooting panoramas and I have tried a few programs. I am not a big fan of photoshops merge tool because I have not been able to produce image results as good as these two programs.

    Panorama Factory - easy to use, inexpensive, very nice output.

    Realviz Stitcher - A professional level program. Very expensive but very good control on layout and final output. Does quicktime VR. What I really like about this program is it can output a photoshop file with layers.

    I have tried panorama tools but I was never able to get comfortable with its interface.

    Hope this helps


  5. I use panorama tools and the Windows gui PTGui written on top of it. I also use the blending engine Enblend with them. There is a Mac OS gui for them as well known as PTMac.

    I have used pretty much every stitching tool there is, and actually led the engineering for a few myself, and I think these tools produce the best results.

    The expensive commercial tools seem to provide a better workflow, etc. and would probably be more suitable for pro work. Panotools requires almost too much knowledge of what is going on. But they are brilliant and capable.

    Workflow wise, I usually shoot panos hand held these days, though I have a pile of pano heads out in my garage. I try to shoot at least four sets of images, taking different approaches to exposure and white balance to I can be certain I have something to work with once I am done.

    I usually do not post process the images very much prior to stitching. When I do it is usually to match up color balance, etc. Some cropping to remove things I know will cause stitching problems or that I just don't want in the final image.

    Then I really just drop them into a PTGui project and have at it. I establish the geometry then go about defining the relationships between the images using "control points." Basically you just match pixel accurate features of adjacent images. The corners of windows, etc. This can be a lot of fun when shooting composite images of trees, for example.

    The largest I have achieved is about 150 megapixels and is a composite image of a giant tree. I have printed it at about 36 by 30 inches and can of course go much higher.

    The longest image I have created is about 38,000 pixels wide.
  6. Panorama Tools may also be used to eliminate color fringing.

    For panoramas I also use PtGui. Setting the control points on a large panorama is a bit time consuming. What's good is that you can save your pano in .psd and have access to all layers (images) including the masks to work on.
    I have just posted a 4 image pano in the landscape forum.
    And here's a 360° pano I made last year (from 25 images):
  7. Here is an example of the hand held composite images I like to shoot. This was the spontaneous result of walking through a garage in San Francisco with my three year old, who proclaimed "will you look at that?!" when he saw this view.

    The actual pano is over 16,000 pixels wide. Below the "thumbnail" is a 100% crop.


  8. Wow! Incredible detail.
  9. I love printing out photos like that one on roll paper, then hanging them in the hallway at work.

    People will stand there and pour over all of the little things you can see going on. For example, the gull you see below, who shows up in the pano in four separate places because he was flying by as I shot the images.

  10. www.autostitch.net
    It's in beta, and it's free.
    Forget about lining up, matching and blending; just point it at a directory, jack up the size and quality parameters and let it go...

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)


    View attachment 12867


    View attachment 12868


    The originals are huge - be warned !

    I'm still wading through shots I took on holiday back in March, but I've got some fantastic pano's of some LOTR scenery that I'll try and post soon :) 
  11. Autostitch is pretty cool. I hope they keep developing it.
  12. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX
    You guys really impress me. The few times I've tried panos the results were pretty disappointing, and yet here I see people shooting handheld and getting perfectly seamless results.

    I've downloaded panotools and the PTGui demo but haven't had much chance to play around with it. What exactly is Enblend?
  13. fks


    Apr 30, 2005
    sf bay area
    hi dave-

    i use panorama tools with ptassembler as the gui, with autopano to pick the points and enblend to smooth out the joints. i don't use a tripod, i freehand most of my panos with decent results.

    you can check out the results here http://ottosphotos.com/gallery/panoramas.

  14. Those are very nice! As are all I've seen via this thread.

    Enblend is a tool that blends the seams between images using laplacian pyramid and gaussian blending. I have some experience with these myself in the pano tools I helped create back when, and they work quite well.

    The PTGui front end makes using Enblend very easy. You set it up as a "plugin" and have pt spit out individual tiffs and it just happens as a last stage.
  15. Not sure how you get such great shots without using a pano head on a tripod. The odds of shooting each shot at the same nodal point by hand is somewhat difficult. Yet I see many examples of hand held panos. I am impressed. It makes you wonder why they sell so many of the very expensive specialized pano heads. For what it's worth, I have a RRS head and after some research found it to be the best of the bunch, (and about the most expensive).
  16. fks


    Apr 30, 2005
    sf bay area
    hi scott-

    using a pan head makes stiching a lot easier. if i had to overlay the images without tweaking the rotation, i wouldn't get a clean pan.
    i rely on panorama tools to do all the work, it's an amazing piece of software.

  17. Absolutely right!
    I have placed the pano head on top of my ballhead. I use the ballhead to level the entire contraption.
    Adjusting the camera and lens for the correct nodal point is necessary only when there are subjects in the course of your pan which are very close, especially when doing 360° by 180° panos with a fisheye lens. I have never tried this but from what I read in this tutorial (see below), it can become quite tricky. This is done by a fellow Austrian who specialized in this sort of panos (he also animates them).
  18. You all seem to be very successful doing panoramas, when I have tried I have failed mainly because I have had problems getting the same exposure, WB etc for all the pictures I want to use in a stitch, eventhough they where all shot in manual and with a manually set white balance.

    What am I doing wrong?

    Would appreciate some suggestions....
  19. JeffKohn


    Apr 21, 2005
    Houston, TX

    I had similar issues. Looking at some of the info linked in this thread it looks like Enblend is supposed to help quite a bit with this issue. If I have some time this week I'm going to try to dig up some of those shots I previously shot and see if I can do a better job at the stitching using some of the tools mentioned here.
  20. I have not yet used Enblend but it should help. PtGui also has a Color/Brightness correction option which works quite satisfactory. Also, the assembler lets you choose between a feathered and not feathered option, and since I usually save my panos in *.psd I still have the chance to work on the layer masks afterwards in PS, but usually only slight corrections are necessary, particularly if there are any moving subjects which naturally don't cover very well, or in the pano I recently posted
    I had to alter the mask for the white curtain of the main stage because the wind was moving it around quite substantially.

    BTW - I made a small mistake in my reply above. I don't use a dedicated pano head, but just a pano-plate which is placed between the ballhead and the QR-plate.
    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
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