Is there anything the new Panavue Image Assembler can do that PT Gui cannot?
Probably not, except save you heaps of time. I should try PTGui but I'm put off by the difficulty of this program that everyone seems to admit.
As a speed experiment, I've just timed how long it takes on my new computer to load and stitch 13 x 92.6MB 16 bit images, which result in a file size of 1.1GB. (These are 35mm negatives scanned at 3500 dpi).
The total time from the loading of the first image till the final stitched image appeared on the screen, including time spent on the 'find camera position automatically' option, which appears to be a substitute for 'lens definition', was 16 minutes. Yes, that's sixteen. Sixteen minutes to stitch a 1.1GB image. And what's even more remarkable, the stitch is flawless.
However, I admit that this was an easy stitch because there's nothing in the near foreground to cause serious parallax errors. It's a scene of an escarpment, waterfall, rainforest and coastline.
An interesting new feature of IA is the ability to save a stitched image in multi-layer PSD format to manipulate each individual image in PS later, if things did not work out quite right. This sounds to me like something to be avoided. Better to get the stitch right in the first instance, but for those advanced Photoshop users (I don't consider myself advanced) this feature might prove to be very useful. However, it seems Photoshop 3 PSD has a serious file size limitation. My 1 GB image is too big to save in multi-layer PSD. Following is an extract from Panavue's site on this feature.
The Professional Edition of ImageAssembler allows you to save your resulting images as multi-layer PSD files. This allows you to do post-production retouching in Photoshop. When you open a multi-layer PSD resulting image in Photoshop, you see each source image as a separate layer. In each of these layers, the blending is saved as a mask. You may use all of the Photoshop tools to modify the colors of any of the images, to move one image with respect to another, or to change the stitch line or blending width. Probably the most useful feature is the ability to modify the stitch lines or the blending widths by working on the masks. You may make a mask visible, then add to it with the pencil or the brush tool, or remove from it with the eraser tool. Photoshop's rich set of features allows for unlimited control of the blending.