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Author Topic: Software for stiching and focus stacking  (Read 4032 times)

BernardLanguillier

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #20 on: June 29, 2017, 07:23:07 AM »

APG will preserve the color space of the source files.  Feed it AdobeRGB, the resulting panorama will be AdobeRGB, etc.

Just read this and indeed this is also my understanding.

UI is suitable for me for what I do with APG. For images captured near the nodal point of the lens, it is very close to perfect most of the time, so I spend very little time in the UI personally.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: June 29, 2017, 07:34:17 AM by BernardLanguillier »
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David Good

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #21 on: June 29, 2017, 12:12:07 PM »

After trying most of the offerings for panos last year I went with PTGui for it's choice of projections and the ability to add control points manually. I preferred it's interface to APG but they likely delivers similar results.

Dave

BernardLanguillier

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #22 on: June 29, 2017, 09:53:06 PM »

After trying most of the offerings for panos last year I went with PTGui for it's choice of projections and the ability to add control points manually. I preferred it's interface to APG but they likely delivers similar results.

In fact I also use PTgui a lot for various reasons, but APG is way superior to find control points in low contrast images. In a different league isn't an exaggeration.

This is critical when trying to stitch images with a lot of cloudy skies, water,...

Thank you.

Cheers,
Bernard
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David Good

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #23 on: June 30, 2017, 04:42:38 AM »

In fact I also use PTgui a lot for various reasons, but APG is way superior to find control points in low contrast images. In a different league isn't an exaggeration.

This is critical when trying to stitch images with a lot of cloudy skies, water,...

Although I don't shoot a lot of panos I will definitely give APG another look, thanks Bernard,

Dave

BartvanderWolf

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #24 on: June 30, 2017, 08:28:13 AM »

In fact I also use PTgui a lot for various reasons, but APG is way superior to find control points in low contrast images. In a different league isn't an exaggeration.

This is critical when trying to stitch images with a lot of cloudy skies, water,...

But moving clouds and water are usually bad places to assign control points to. That's why I tend to use an indexing rotator, which allows to rapidly shoot a sequence with almost identical Yaw steps, which PTGUI can then use to place the tiles without reliable features in the correct spots (dragging manually/visually into place also works). It also helps with repetitive patterns that might get placed in the wrong positions.

Cheers,
Bart
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 08:42:27 AM by BartvanderWolf »
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #25 on: June 30, 2017, 09:35:24 AM »

Bart: Grateful if you could explain what is an "indexing rotator"; I haven't heard of such a thing.

Bernard: I was unimpressed with my first attempt trying Autopano. I fed it an easy couple of images and I could see that where it did the stitching there was a misalignment which showed up easily at 100% magnification - if I could see it so clearly, so should a reliable application. Mind you, Lightroom couldn't begin with these images for reason that baffle me - the photos were dead-easy for such a task. I'm going to play around with both again using another pair of photos - perhaps there is pilot error, I don't do much of this.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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kirkt

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #26 on: June 30, 2017, 10:51:42 AM »

Bart: Grateful if you could explain what is an "indexing rotator"; I haven't heard of such a thing.

...

A task-specific pano head often will contain an indexed pan axis that controls the angle of pan rotation in specific, controlled increments.  I use a Nodal Ninja pano head - it comes with inserts that permit me to change the indexing, depending upon the focal length (i.e., FOV) of the lens I am using to capture the scene.  If I use a 15mm rectilinear lens (like the Zeiss Distagon T* 15mm f/2.8 ZE) then I can capture a set of images (360 degrees of pan) with sufficient overlap in about 6 shots (not including the zenith and nadir) - the indexed head insert I use sets the head to pan at 60 degree increments.

Etc.

This is good practice when shooting panos because, instead of having to rely solely on point or feature matching, you can reliably make a template for the stitching software to apply as a starting point, knowing that you are feeding it a set of images taken with a particular lens with a particular FOV and a specific increment between images.

You can use online pano calculators to figure out what kind of indexed pan increment you need for a specific sensor (i.e., crop factor), lens (focal length or FOV) and image overlap (maybe try to shoot for something like 25% overlap).

Pano applications that give the user the ability to make templates for the unwarping and alignment of image sets is a huge time saver - you can make your initial stitch on a set of small JPEGs to work out alignment issues and then apply the final template to full-res, large TIFFs.  This way the program stays responsive while interactively working out the stitch on small proxy images.  Particularly useful for HDR stitching.

In the case of relatively featureless panos, where point or feature matching may fail, templates that are made with specific knowledge of the lens, sensor and overlap used to acquire the image set will be stitched accurately with no need to rely on finding points to match between images.  Sometimes this may be the only way, short of manual alignment, to get a particularly featureless pano set to stitch to a useable composite.

kirk
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 10:58:22 AM by kirkt »
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #27 on: June 30, 2017, 11:03:53 AM »

That's clear and helpful. Thanks Kirk.
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #28 on: June 30, 2017, 01:32:31 PM »

Bart: Grateful if you could explain what is an "indexing rotator"; I haven't heard of such a thing.

Mark, I use the Manfrotto 300N (3414) Panoramic Head (got a good deal on it locally):
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/286876-REG/Manfrotto_300N_300N_3414_Panoramic_Head.html
I have an ArcaSwiss clamp (from RRS) mounted immediately on top of this rotator, to hold my RRS multi-row pano gear.

When the pano-layout is mostly level, I mount the rotator on an EZ-Leveler II which is directly mounted on the tripod mounting plate. The EZ-Leveler offers enough tilt capability to accurately level the horizontal rotation plane with the tripod on the non-level soil. This allows keeping the center of gravity of the pano gear low for stability, and avoid the need for a tripod head (which would add height and weight).

There are also alternatives rotators available from Chinese sources, like from Sunwayfoto:
https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/827724-REG/Desmond_Photographic_Distributors_DDP_64M_DDP_64M_Indexing_Rotator.html

These rotators have a small enough (5 degrees) index to accommodate 200mm lenses with a bit of tile overlap.
Rotators allow shooting fast sequences even if the camera is squeezed in a corner of a room without space to check the viewfinder. It also prevents skipping an overlapped image, and the predictable amount of rotation helps with stitching of featureless regions in a larger scene. No more missed shots, and a productivity booster.

Cheers,
Bart
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Mark D Segal

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #29 on: June 30, 2017, 03:30:51 PM »

Thanks very much Bart - most helpful.

I may have something usable for this purpose in my toy closet - a Camranger that does auto rotation. I was taken up with the idea at one time and bought one, but haven't really made much use of it. I should go back to it and explore whether it would suit this purpose.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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kers

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #30 on: June 30, 2017, 07:27:08 PM »

Thanks very much Bart - most helpful.

I may have something usable for this purpose in my toy closet - a Camranger that does auto rotation. I was taken up with the idea at one time and bought one, but haven't really made much use of it. I should go back to it and explore whether it would suit this purpose.

The autorotation feature does not work very well- reliable...
sometimes 20 sometimes 30 degrees, at least what i noticed.
But i respect the camranger; it works very well with most of the features even with an old iPhone4

That said, i never used a rotator, never needed one and i make a lot of pano's.
But  yes, it has a purpose with telelenses, not leaving gaps and in combination with clouds; but do not use tele's so much.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2017, 07:31:43 PM by kers »
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BartvanderWolf

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #31 on: July 01, 2017, 07:25:48 AM »

That said, i never used a rotator, never needed one and i make a lot of pano's.
But  yes, it has a purpose with telelenses, not leaving gaps and in combination with clouds; but do not use tele's so much.

A rotator is not absolutely necessary, I could achieve many panos without one, but at a slower pace (having to visually check for ample overlap if the viewfinder can be used, or which a remote viewer on a tablet/phone).

I also use the indexing rotator with 360 degrees VR shots with a Fisheye lens. It allows fast operation (e.g. when traffic is halted at the traffic-lights). I just take 4 shots at 90 degre rotation angles with the camera pitched down 20 degrees below the horizon in portrait orientation while walking around the tripod to keep myself out of view, and 1 shot pointing straight up for the 'Zenith' shot covering almost all of the sky in a single shot. If needed, a shot of the ground/surface below the tripod (the 'Nadir' shot) from a different position can be added to remove tripod shadows and the missing piece of the scenery below the tripod mounting plate.

Speed of operation can be important, and an indexing rotator helps with that. Also, the piece of mind, not missing one tile in a multi-row shoot can mean a lot, e.g. with rapidly changing light conditions or avoiding people who could get in the shots (sometimes multiple times at different locations).

Cheers,
Bart
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Wayne Fox

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #32 on: July 01, 2017, 06:14:38 PM »

That said, i never used a rotator, never needed one and i make a lot of pano's.
I also make a lot of panos, and find a rotator indispensable.  Once set up, I can shoot a pano in seconds and am assured that my overlap is consistent and precise.  I donít have to look through the camera to figure out where to rotate to.  I can also repeat a pano precisely enough to do things like focus stacking and HDR because the rotator is accurate enough that the images will align.  So I shoot a series for a pano, change focus, shoot it again.

At this point I just leave my rotator on all of the time. 

Kevin Raber

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #33 on: July 02, 2017, 07:53:59 AM »

This site has a ton of resources on this topic. Go to the homepage find the magnifying glass, type stitching in and in 23ms you'll have 321 results.  Do the same for Panorama or anything else related.  Focus stacking has a good number of hits too.
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Paul2660

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #34 on: July 02, 2017, 09:33:29 AM »

Late to the party on this one,

I use LR when ever possible as I mainly shoot single row and usually more times than not with a wide angle lens.  I have Ptgui (hate the interface, just me I guess) and Kolor.  Neither tool has a final warp as LR does, i.e. boundary warp.  For my work when LR came out with Boundary warp, I was sold.  Some issues however with LR.

1.  Currently LR works less than stellar with IQ100 raw images, and if you have images with low exposures LR will often add a harsh magenta color.  Same issue on HDR combos with IQ100 files (from Raw).
2.  LR seems to work best with raw, but you have to remember not to do any image work prior to the pano merge as LR just strips this off.
3.  LR consistently overexposes panos where you are close on highlights.  Actually sometimes not even close to blowing them out in the raw file, but LR just pushes them over the edge to pure white.  Same raw exported to CC work fine no over exposure. I have opened a few issues
     on with Adobe, but this issue goes back to day one and as usual Adobe IMO tends to only make one pass at most of these LR tools.
4.  CC doesn't have Boundary warp, and the content aware option IMO is worthless as Content aware can be most of the time unless it's pure sky.  Yes you can select all and warp later, but in CC warping can easily cause loss of resolution where as in LR B Warp doesn't.
5.  Ptgui  always has problems merging solids, like a blue sky taken in 5 or 6 segments, (again for me), even with the separate plugin for exposure I still often get dark lines at the edges of sections.  Works better with a sky with clouds for me.
6.  Both Ptgui and Kolor give you options for the necessary interpolation which I like, but neither have any warping which to me is a bit lame now.  Both programs could use updates, Ptgui is quite old now per the latest update
7.  LR allows you to combine HDR dng's into a pano which is a nice feature, however you still have the issue of totally blown high lights.
8.  PTgui and Kolor both have more options for the pano creation and some times the strange ones will work better.

I still tend to start with LR, then move to Ptgue lastly Kolor.  Kolor claims with their latest release to have fixed some of the exposure blending issues but IMO the program still has a lot of issues when blending a pure or close to pure blue sky.  Most of the time, around 70 to 80 percent LR can get it done, and for me I don't see that many issues with wides.  I tend to use wides in all my pano work, 14mm to 24mm in 35mm and 35mm to 55mm in MF. 

What strikes me the most is LR is very close to IMO a perfect tool, but for the issue of blowing out the highlights and the problems with the IQ100 files which I don't expect a fix for anytime soon.  It's nice to be able to take 4 to 6 raw files, convert them to a pano dng, then use the LR tools on the image, before final edit in CC if necessary.  I would love to see Capture One get a similar feature  LR works OK with tiff output from C1, however for some reason LR many times can't see the lens info from C1 output tiff and thus has trouble with the pano creation and I can still not find a way to add Phase One info to tif files in the optical area of LR. You will get a warning when you try to use LR on C1 P1 tiffs that LR would work better if the optical info was available.  This does make a difference BTW will all the pano software as they need to know the lens/sensor info.   I know C1 outputs this info but many tools can't see it. 

Paul Caldwell

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Mark D Segal

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #35 on: July 02, 2017, 10:08:29 AM »

Very interesting information Paul. The issue you see with your Phase One 100MP photos could - perhaps - be on account of the camera profile needing some reworking. Adobe should have a look - those guys are normally very good and totally experienced at this, so surprising if that's the case.

As for LR's pano stitching capability, on the whole, much as I use LR for 99.5% of my work, for this particular function I'm less than enthused. The number of times it tells me it can't merge the photos when I can see exactly how to do it manually really makes me wonder whether this tool is ready for prime time. When it does work, it works beautifully, but too often it does not when I think it should.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Peter McLennan

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Re: Software for stiching and focus stacking
« Reply #36 on: July 02, 2017, 11:13:07 AM »

When it does work, it works beautifully, but too often it does not when I think it should.

And, sometimes, when you try the exact same input images in the PSCC stitcher, it works fine.  Go figure.
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