Panoramw software: Panotools Giga or PTGui Pro?
  • Hi Kap Friends,

    I know stitching software has been discussed several times, so if I'm boring you: feel free to ignore me.

    I really want make good KAP panos. My chalenge is handling the small jumps caused by deplacement of the camera...

    Personal experience and opinions: I've played quite a bit with Hugin (good at projections and alignment, but not really great at smart merging) and Photoshop CS5 (Very smart merging, but poor projection control).

    I'm hoping to get better results with Panotools Giga or PTGui Pro. I chose these two because they are able to optimize for small differences in camera viewpoint (PTGui (not Pto) and Panotools (not Giga) are not). I've downloaded both trial versions and I'm not able to decide.

    Here comes my humble request: has any of you experience with recent versions of both softwares? I'd really appreciate to hear your opinions in order make a good decision...

    Any other tips from experienced panoramists is very welcome too! So are experiences relative to the CS5 stitcher.

    Thanks! Hans.
  • I have over 90 KAP 360 panoramas in my gallery with fisheye and 4-camera-GoPro lenses, all warped with PTGui (Pro). I gave up trying to get "perfect" matching years ago. Even with 4 GoPros electroncally set to trigger together it's impossible. The trick is to do the best you can (PTGui viewpoint correction helps, as does manually choosing stitch points) then using PTGui or PS to "hide" the seams where the eye doesn't see them (in grass or the center of a road etc). Finally fudge the areas that are still problematic.

    The results are very labour intensive but very worthwhile. It is possible to do, just a little love required!
  • Thanks for your response, James! Your panos are great. When I see images like that, I always wonder if they are the result of the press on a button or a looooong evening of hard work... I have one more question: are you happy with tthe way PTGui stitched the blue parts of the sky? In my first experiment the seams in the sky were clearly visible. (this does not happen with Hugin or PS).

    Thanks again, Hans.
  • (Warning: This response is based on PTGui (Pro) only)

    Thanks. I'm not quite sure what you mean, stitching errors on the clouds, or stitching errors at the horizon? This answer might help in both cases.

    I use a selection of "stock" skies which are masked and blended into the image after the ground shots are stitched together, I have documentated the workflow. Stitching the sky can be more difficult as the clouds move and there are less anchor points, but this can also be an advantage as you can easily hide errors. Here are three points that may help

    1. PTGui seems to always choose hundreds of stitch points which are clustered around the center of the raw image frame. It used to be even worse, but a upgrade about a year ago did improve it slightly. Even with this improvement I only use the auto-stitch for a quick-n-dirty look at the image, which normally results in large errors at the horizon (which in KAP is usually located near the frame edge). I usually manually add stitch points and only in the areas near where I anticipate having the image mask - theses are the only areas where the images need to match well. This applies to sky and ground.

    2. PTGui allows you to change the feather between images - for the sky always use the biggest feather.

    3. PTGui has the concept of "Viewpoint Correction". This is meant to be used on the NADIR shot only since it is assumed that this shot was not taken using a tripod. Viewpoint correction allows more warping of the images but it assumes there are no parallax errors. Now this is interesting since we all assume the problem with KAP is camera movement and therefore parallax. My experiments show it's always worthwhile at least trying to switch "Viewpoint correction" on for all images and see what happens, on one image set I halfed the stitching errors, on most I at least get an improvement!

    James
  • I probably shouldn't comment, since I haven't used PTGui in many months (and never Pro), but here goes anyway:

    After trial stitching, I found it useful to go back to the Control Points screen and delete the pairs that were out more than 6 points, then run it again, then dump those over 4 points and run it again. I often found it was better with half a dozen pairs than several dozen.

    All of that may be obsolete with Pro, but....FWIW.
  • Thanks Brooks. I guess I'll have to experiment for optimal results. That the KAP life style anyway isn't it? :-)
    @James: what I meant was visible color transitions in the blue parts of the sky. I'll try some other sets before spending money... I'll look at the feather thing.

    First impression: I received the fish-eye adapter for the 16mm NEX lens yesterday and played with it: a quick (3 images) 180 deg pano of my living room. PTGui did great, Panotools had larger errors (may be my beginner fault). PTGui was faster and Panotools crashed once...

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