Panoramas

Discussion in 'Australia Photography' started by MJW, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. MJW

    MJW Guest

    I have been watching the threads on 'panoramas'
    for a while now, and decided to have a go myself!
    I made this one a couple of months ago but was not
    happy with the 'bands' or 'seams'.
    Anyway, after reading something here today about
    'barrel distortion', I decided to go back to my
    original pics, adjust barrel distortion, then try
    the stitch again.
    I thought I got rid of a couple of the seams
    till I looked at the original stitch, and found
    that it actually looks worse, particularly on the
    bridge section!

    I would like to ask, are there stitching programs
    available that would do a better job than this?
    (This is done with the Canon Photo-stitch that
    came with my camera.)

    --
     
    MJW, Jul 17, 2008
    #1
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  2. MJW

    Mark Thomas Guest

    Nice scene, mj. I would have thought Photostitch would be able to deal
    with minor exposure differences, but these almost look like vignetting
    (from a lop-sided crop?) given that the exposure seems to change from
    side to side.. Can you give a bit more detail about the source images
    and why the difference might exist? Auto exposure, perhaps?

    There's an interesting, but old, thread on this topic here:
    http://photo.net/digital-darkroom-forum/007ea2
    which even includes a mini-tutorial on how to use Photoshop to produce a
    sideways fade..

    But personally I've not had similar problems with my stitches in PTGUI,
    although I occasionally see a (difficult to detect) slow fade from one
    to another. But maybe that is because my source images are always
    perfectly (manually) exposed... Yeah, that's it!

    If you're willing to supply a couple or more of the offending images, at
    reduced sizes and with a copyright message if you like!, I'd be happy to
    run them thru PTGUI for you as a test. (Or do the whole thing if you want)

    mt
     
    Mark Thomas, Jul 17, 2008
    #2
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  3. MJW

    Mark Thomas Guest


    I went digging for an example where I had different exposures in images
    intended for a pano and found a couple of rejects, and gave them to PTGUI:

    http://www.marktphoto.com/examples/pano_for_mj.jpg

    You can see the 'join' is a nice wide fade in the centre of that image.

    AFAIU, it first adjusts the exposure/whitebal of the source images to
    get a near match and then applies a fairly wide 'fade' across the join
    to lessen any residual effects like vignetting. I never see an abrupt
    line - I think the join in that one is pretty good for a straight-out
    of-the-box-first-go. I can post details of the source images if you
    like, but I can tell you the exposure difference was quite marked and it
    also did a very good job of blending the water/waves - always a
    challenge with this sort of shot.

    Even niftier is the fact that you can get it to output a file that
    contains the (adjusted or unadjusted) source images as layers in a PSD
    file, so you can then use PS to fiddle with the result, adjust masks,
    use transparency etc to get as perfect a join as you have time for.

    But if you want to go the free route, why not try Autostitch? It's a
    good program as long as the images are not too complex, and I recall it
    did quite a nice job with seams.. Problem is you don't get any control
    unless you buy the souped up versions, like Autopano.

    hope that helps..
     
    Mark Thomas, Jul 18, 2008
    #3
  4. MJW

    Jeff R. Guest

    Time for me to kick in...

    http://www.mendosus.com/jpg/mays-99-pan.jpg

    Likewise, not happy about the seams (never mind the general image quality!)
    but hey! It covers a full 360º - it even has the cardinal points
    thoughtfully indicated!

    Taken nearly ten years ago. I forget what I used - probably film, so it
    would be a Pentax Spotmatic, with about 10-12 shots printed postcard size,
    then scanned..

    Merging done in a steam-driven version of PS, probably v4.
    One of my first.
     
    Jeff R., Jul 18, 2008
    #4
  5. MJW

    MJW Guest

    Thanks Mark. Firstly, here are the first 4 pics
    resized but un-altered

    www.members.optusnet.com.au/mjwyllie/Pano.zip

    Ok, as this was my first attempt at panoramas I am
    pretty sure I just used the Landscape mode & auto
    focus. I had read "Rusty's" article on panoramas &
    decided to give it a go. I didn't have my macro
    rail at that time, so there is no nodal rotation?,
    just camera on tripod rotated that way.
    That would be great because this is something I
    would like to get right & re-visit the scene in
    better weather! If there is a program that outputs
    better results, i'm happy to pay for that too!


    --
     
    MJW, Jul 18, 2008
    #5
  6. MJW

    MJW Guest

    Ha, I would be happy with that sort of result!
    Yes indeed!


    --
     
    MJW, Jul 18, 2008
    #6
  7. MJW

    Doug Jewell Guest

    Diverging away a little bit, I'm sure I've seen websites
    with 360 degree panoramas, so that moving around becomes
    seamless. I think I've even seen some that allow 360 degree
    movement around all axes. Does anyone know of any software
    that allows you to create and view panos in this manner?
     
    Doug Jewell, Jul 18, 2008
    #7
  8. MJW

    PixelPix Guest

    I will mention this one because they are kind enough to sponsor my
    site. ;-)

    http://www.easypano.com/

    Cheers

    Rusty
     
    PixelPix, Jul 18, 2008
    #8
  9. MJW

    Mark Thomas Guest

    Check. I'll take a look later today, and have a go.
    The best bet for any panorama is to go manual focus and exposure, to
    ensure there are no issues with exposure differences, or focus changes.
    I normally swing the camera around and watch the exposure and then set
    it, or if it is a really contrasty scene, I may even shoot it twice at
    two different exposures and HDR some areas - PTGUI can do this
    autonmatically, but I haven't yet tried that feature out.
    For most scenes, not being nodal won't be a big problem unless there is
    a lot of foreground stuff. Just using a tripod and carefully levelling
    the scene properly (again I normally do that by eye and then rotating
    the camera thru 360) will give a good result 98% of the time. Again, if
    you go down the PTGUI route there are also 'smartblend' or 'enblend'
    add-ons that can help with any remaining parallax probelms.
    Talk to others - obviously I like ptgui (not too expensive, powerful but
    can be complex.. lots of web-based tips and tutorials helps, though!),
    but there are other good programs out there. And give the free
    autostitch a try, some swear by it.

    I'll pop back later when I've had a look at those images.
     
    Mark Thomas, Jul 19, 2008
    #9
  10. MJW

    MJW Guest

    Thanks Mark, for taking the time! I have d/loaded
    a trial of PTGUI & had a go myself.

    www.members.optusnet.com.au/mjwyllie/testpano1.jpg

    I must say that i'm pretty happy with the job it
    has done ( you will have to hit the zoom, cause I
    didn't resize it to fit the page).

    Now, I will buy a copy of this prog, but am unsure
    about which copy to get. Does the pro versions
    features justify the cost? All I want to do is
    stitch scenes like this one. Not sure if I would
    ever experiment with HDR etc.


    --
     
    MJW, Jul 19, 2008
    #10
  11. MJW

    Mark Thomas Guest

    No worries, happy to help.
    Not sure if there is much point me posting my ratty little version then!
    As you can see from that, it does a nice job. I had a quick
    default-settings go with your reduced size ones and got a similar
    result, except:
    - obviously it is smaller and only part of the full scene
    - it had a very minor glitch with the fence-top being misaligned (only
    by about 3 pixels) on one join - it would have been very easily fixed
    with an additional control point, but then i saw this post.. so I didn't
    do anything else.
    I haven't kept up with the program to know what the differences are - is
    the HDR thing the only difference? - I thought there were some other
    features...

    If it's *only* HDR, I wouldn't bother unless you are likely to have a
    lot of difficult panos. You could always 'pre-hdr' each image, and then
    stitch afterwards.

    I would be swayed to the Pro version if the standard doesn't include the
    ability to output the PSD/layers file (so you can then really throw
    Photoashop at it afterwards). Even though I have only used that feature
    once, it was *very* useful. I had a quick look at the website but
    didn't immediately see a list of what you don't get in the base version.
    And sadly now I have to run - got a busy weekend, so might not reply
    for a coupla days...


    Coupla days, mate, coupla days... (O:

    (OT - bonus points for identifying where that stupid line comes from)

    Just before i vanish, there are links everywhere with tutorials on it,
    but you may wish to start here:

    http://www.johnhpanos.com/pttute.htm#gui

    it's from an older version, but it gives a useful rundown.

    Then, when you get completely flummoxed by how to use vertical or
    horizontal control points, try here:

    http://www.panomundo.com/panos/howto/workflow_stitching_pgui.html

    - the important tips are:
    - make sure you *are* adding a vert/horizont point - the little dropdown
    resets if you look away..
    - don't put the two points in the same image!
    - keep the distance between them short.

    Easy once you know how.. but none of those things seem intuitive to me.


    Happy to offer more tips and tricks later, just ask..
     
    Mark Thomas, Jul 19, 2008
    #11
  12. MJW

    MJW Guest

    Ok, for when you get back.

    www.ptgui.com/features.html

    Very interested in what you think!
    Con the fruiterer? Comedy Company?
    Thanks for everything so far....


    --
     
    MJW, Jul 19, 2008
    #12
  13. MJW

    Mark Thomas Guest

    Phew. That was a long weekend..!!
    Ah, how did I miss that? OK, having browsed over that, I would
    *probably* just go with the standard version, even though the Pro may do
    a slightly better job of correcting non-matching exposures and
    vignetting... Seems to me if you are doing them right (ie manually),
    the exposures should really match well enough that the gentle fade
    should be sufficient (and of course you can always pre-adjust an image
    somewhat if it is causing a problem).

    I noticed the exif on your images *did* show they were identical
    exposures.. ? so either the light was fluctuating, there is some
    vignetting going on, or perhaps the variation might be from a shutter
    travel inconsistency or some odd sensor issue. Did you have a polariser
    on, perhaps? They can cause issues.

    It's no big deal, but would be worth watching and finding out more.

    Anyway, your mileage etc... Let us know which way you go.

    Did you give Autostitch a try?
    Yep. Points awarded. T'was indeed "Con Dikaletis" (Mark Mitchell) - I
    used to love watching Con - as a kid we a had local fruiterer who was
    quite a close match!
     
    Mark Thomas, Jul 20, 2008
    #13
  14. MJW

    MJW Guest

    Ha, sounds pretty hectic. What did you do?
    Yep, have ordered the standard version today. If
    it doesn't do what I want, I can just upgrade to
    the pro!
    No polariser just sun rising in the morning! I
    think though, that PTgui shows that there is not
    really a problem with the source images, maybe the
    Canon-stitch prog isn't that good?
    I loved Kylie Mole! "She goes, she goes, she just
    goes!" It was a blast when Kylie Minogue appeared
    on an episode with her! :)

    Thanks again, Mark....


    --
     
    MJW, Jul 21, 2008
    #14
  15. MJW

    Mark Thomas Guest

    And here's another, but ridiculously small, panorama:

    http://www.marktphoto.com/examples/port_lincoln_fire_2001.jpg

    In a strange way this leads me to criticise my lame organisation of my
    slide collection. May I explain...

    I took a series of images in 2001 (I think) when a huge bushfire raged
    near Port Lincoln/Tulka in SA - you can see the enormous smoke plume
    causing its own weather pattern.

    The eight or so images were taken on slide film, and at the time I did a
    quick scan of them and amateurishly stitched them in Autostitch, no
    other processing. Can you tell? ((O:

    But I only kept a reduced version, didn't even keep the full-res scans,
    as I was going to re-do it at full size later, including fix up the
    colour/contrast, straighten it up, etc. Then I forgot all about it
    until now, when I was going through some slides. And I got all excited
    about re-doing it.

    But I can only find two of the slides, Dang!! I think I know where the
    others are buried, but I can't be bothered right now, so that lousy
    thumbnail is all I have. Oh well, at least the two I found so far are
    of the smoke plume..

    Hopefully I will be back with a big and much better version later!
     
    Mark Thomas, Jul 24, 2008
    #15
  16. MJW

    Doug Jewell Guest

    And that is quite an amazing looking plume. I look forward
    to the final image when you eventually find the slides and
    time to do the job properly. You are a braver man than I to
    commit a bunch of slides to a pano.
     
    Doug Jewell, Jul 24, 2008
    #16
  17. MJW

    Jeff R. Guest

    I'd like that.
    That's a great image.
     
    Jeff R., Jul 24, 2008
    #17
  18. MJW

    Mark Thomas Guest

    Yes, it was a very eerie and horrible sight. You can't help but think
    about the life lost in such a fire - in this case it was 'only' animal
    life and several houses, but a few years later another wild fire raged
    in the region resulting in several tragic deaths.
    So do I! I am praying I didn't stumble over the other images and not
    notice the fact that they were from the fire. I might have tossed them
    away.. eeek!

    Ah well, such is life. If I can't find them, I will redo the section I
    have at a much larger scale.
     
    Mark Thomas, Jul 24, 2008
    #18
  19. MJW

    Noons Guest

    Mark Thomas wrote,on my timestamp of 24/07/2008 7:38 PM:
    excellent. those shots of bush fires can be
    absolutely majestic!
    been playing with panos as well, gotta spend
    more time with them if I can stop ferrying kids
    to and fro soccer games...
    hopefully you'll find them!
     
    Noons, Jul 24, 2008
    #19
  20. MJW

    Mark Thomas Guest

    Thanks!

    Having just had a bit closer look at the slides... I may have a bit of
    work to do (assuming I can even find the others). I don't know what
    sort of film it was (and it's in those welded plastic frames so I don't
    really want to take it out), but it has rather unpleasant colour/tone,
    especially in the foreground. I do remember having an odd roll of
    Konica slide film around that time - I liked Konica print film, but
    their positive film sucked somewhat..

    Anyway I just did a low-res scan, so herewith a bit larger version of
    the smoke plume, to give a better idea of what it looked like to the
    naked eye - forgive the color, dust spots, etc:

    http://www.marktphoto.com/examples/Scan-080724.jpg

    I hope I can find the rest so I can re-do it all and make something
    decent of it..
     
    Mark Thomas, Jul 24, 2008
    #20
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