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Thread: Stitching software

  1. #1

    Default Stitching software

    Can someone advice me on stitching photos?

    Are the free softwares available online sufficient?
    Or is it generally better to get a dedicated software for it?
    My quick search led me to some general conclusions
    -e.g. canon provides its own photostitch software
    -photoshop elements
    -ptgui/autopano

    Can someone recommend me a good software for stitching photos and preferably HDR as well?
    Oh and I'm using a mac

    Thx

  2. #2
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stitching software

    Autopan attempts to correct some exposure incongruities in the various shots, although limited, can be a life saver.

    Adobe Photoshop itself can do stitching, Adobe CS3 has much more accurate stitching than the earlier versions. I have no plans to buy CS4 though, but i suppose it would be even more accurate.

    PTGui is a free but powerful software that has a Mac version as well.
    Personally I have no experience with it but there are many people here that swears by it.

    Here are some little thoughts on stitching which i send to a friend on CS recently ( which is far from complete ) :

    Always try to take individual shots with the same setting, and by which i mean white balance, preferably ( especially wide angle lenses ) no polarisers etc, to achieve same exposure for the various frames of the panorama. Wierd exposures stick out of the panorama like a sore. If you are going to employ a GND, especially the higher and hard stop ones please use a holder to get the placement consistent.

    - if you are using a telephoto lens i recommend about 20-30% overlap. The distortion per shot is much less with telephotos, and dedistortion is minimal during stitching.

    - for wide angle lenses. I recommend using about 40-50% overlap because the de-distortion during photomerging can end up having huge gaps in the picture and wasting the effort when you process. Maybe I am just kiasu, but i have carelessly missed shots that way for places i might not have a chance to revisit. Personally I find it hard to estimate the points of overlap if I am even thinking of using less overlap. I got no magical formula for that.

    - * I use a PC shift lens to take panoramas so there is no distortion whatsoever between the various frames for stitching. Here is a write up i came up with if you are interested.
    http://www.kaleidoscopy.com/portal/PanShift.html

    Without a shift lens, the ideal situation is to use a pan head to shoot around the nodal point of a lens - the perspective issue is less of a problem on telephoto lenses ( and that is one of the reasons why i love to use telephotos instead ) If you are shooting wide angle randomly the stitching may appear wierd ( most of the time they should actually turn out fine grossly).

    Generally I dun really like to shoot stitch with wider angle lenses rotated around a point. Also you will be surprised how much picture information can be truncated at the edges when the stitch corrects the distortion. ( thats just me )

    Try to shoot with a tripod when making panoramas, and pay attention to the horizon when shooting the individual components. A long stitched panorama looses ALOT of pixels from cropping when you are trying to correct the slant in landscape. And on a long landscape panorama, slanted horizons stick out like a sore in the eye.

    Dynamic elements especially people in a scene can make things more difficult to get a contiguous stitch without motion artefacts like *haflings* This used to be a very nasty problem for the older stitching softwares, but CS3 at times is able to somehow best guess the stitching to prevent them from appearing ( saved a couple of experiments i did ) - it appears the junctions of merging between two frames is not vertical ( which is good ) . Of course they can still fail. So apart from having a proper composition for your panorama, you will still have to select your scenes carefully to reduce such errors.

    Most of the things mentioned u might not be able to appreciate it immediately but after some trial and error and practice, you will understand what i mean. I am still learning as well.

    Ryan
    Last edited by giantcanopy; 30th November 2008 at 06:32 PM.

  3. #3
    Senior Member giantcanopy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Stitching software

    Here is one with people walking about , where photoshop actually smartly overlaped the borders with minimal / no movement. if we were to stitch as is, there will be movement artefacts. Again of course it is not fool proof. This was more of a fun shot, cause i was half prepared to have issues in stitching.



    Ryan

  4. #4

    Default Re: Stitching software

    Wow thanks for the excellent advice.

    I think I might try out CS4 since I'm gonna need it eventually for other stuff as well.
    BTW, great photo

  5. #5

    Default Re: Stitching software

    will book mark it for future reference.thks.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Stitching software

    Quote Originally Posted by ilearn View Post
    Wow thanks for the excellent advice.

    I think I might try out CS4 since I'm gonna need it eventually for other stuff as well.
    BTW, great photo
    CS4's stitching capabilities is really bloated. PTGui's loads faster and handles better as its core is still panotools. 4Gb (3.8Gb to be exact) TIFF images not a problem for PTGui as some others have tried. That guy took 5 images to stitch a 360 pano and god knows what he did to have such a big size TIFF haha

    There's Hugin but i suggest to avoid it. It's buggy a lot of the time for me. On multiple systems, different configurations, different CPU even with the same pano i wanted to stitch.

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