Stitching software


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ilearn

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Sep 9, 2008
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#1
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
 

giantcanopy

Senior Member
Feb 11, 2007
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#2
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
 

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giantcanopy

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Feb 11, 2007
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#3
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
 

ilearn

New Member
Sep 9, 2008
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#4
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 :)
 

Jul 13, 2008
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#5
will book mark it for future reference.thks.:thumbsup:
 

etegration

Senior Member
Oct 14, 2003
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http://360.itcow.com
360.itcow.com
#6
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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