Quality, quality, quality! Here’s the final release of Autopano Pro and Autopano Giga 3.5 panorama software, which mainly focuses on the quality of the stitching. Our main goal is to make Autopano work better out of the box, on more cases than before.
If you are a version 3.x user, you can use your registration code in Autopano Pro/Giga 3.5 to unlock the demo mode. Following Kolor Update Policy, 3.5 update is free for all version 3.x users.
If you’re using Livepano in Panotour Pro 2, you can use version 3.5 of Autopano Pro / Giga but you’ll need to save the project file as an old format (File menu > Save as old format).
Video: Discover autopano pro / autopano giga version 3.5[iframe width="615" height="376" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/37dJyfUkYmo?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen]
Comments and change log
This final release of the new Autopano Pro / Giga engine in version 3.5 is a major upgrade of internal parts in autopano stitching engine. It raises the quality of stitching in several areas and you should see the difference.
New detection and validation engine
To be able to get a perfect stitch, we need to detect and validate controls points on all images you put in the software. This analysis has to be done cleverly and fast as you don’t want to wait too much. So we worked a lot on detection algorithms.
- Automatic detection settings. To raise the quality, we decided to make some decision automatic rather than manual as before. For example, on quality detection. In v3.0, the quality of detection was a user decision, but now, it is automatic ( or still manual if you decide it ). The automatic mode is better as according to the number of images, focal, exif or not, we can decide for you the right setting for the best result. You should not have to care about these settings anymore. If you still want to manipulate them, just go ahead, there are still there, but the default mode is now automatic.
- Ransac improvements. This algorithm validates control points on images. It has been improved with new models so that the control points produced are now more widely spread over the overlapping zone. The whole system has also been improved to get more and better control points.
- Multiple lens type stitching. We improved the way to detect and validate control points in several cases. And now, it even works when mixing several lens types ( fisheye with rectilinear ). This is a new an unique feature that has never been seen before.
New Optimizer Engine – Easy and important topics
This might be the most visible change in this autopano release. You’ll see several new tabs when entering the control point editor. At the same time, with the improvements made, you’ll probably need to go in the control points editor less than before.
What has been done in the optimizer in Autopano Engine v3.5?
- Lines should be aligned. The whole system has been rebuild to be faster while being more accurate. The main goal was to get you the perfect stitch automatically. It forced us to study several topics like optimizer convergence, lens distortion estimation, focal estimation, sensor and lens alignment, viewpoint correction, etc. The whole optimizer has been fine-tunned to get you that goal in most cases. You should see that with your own images if you render them at 100%. If not perfectly aligned, then there is a reason behind. We found out that several cases we had that we believe were perfectly shoot were not. This new version highlights nicely any small parallax issue in the editor. But thanks to anti-ghost rendering engine, you cannot see them in the produced panorama.
- RMS values. This value is the standard way to measure if a panorama is well stitched or not. Or you’ll probably see that values of RMS in version 3.5 haven’t really changed whereas the quality has increased a lot ( if you compare visually both 100% rendering from 3.0 and 3.5 ). This is normal as we changed the way RMS is measured. So RMS=4.0 in version 3.5 is better than in version 3.0. Nevertheless, there are quite comparable, but if you found higher RMS panoramas now, don’t assume the panorama is worth. Most of the time it is better.
- Control point location. As this version also have a new detection engine, the optimizer has been improved so there are more control point at the end and on the whole overlapping zone. It is important to keep that aspect of full coverage of the overlapping zone. It is only this way that you get the best stitch. If you compare control point location between 3.0 and 3.5, you’ll see that in the overlapping zones, the area covered by all control points is far larger in 3.5.
- Viewpoint correction. This feature has always been a good feature in Autopano Giga. But we lacked the way to enable it only on some images and not on all of them. This has been done and it is easily accessible through a right click on an image, enable viewpoint correction on that image. This is nice to patch quickly the nadir using oblique shooting.
- 1000mm focal length tip. You have a flat scanner and a big document. Several scans that you need to stitch together. In the 3.0 version, the tip was to set focal length to a high value (1000mm). It is not needed anymore. This case works automatically now.
- Parallax error handling. As everything has evolved in the engine, the response of autopano v3.5 in presence of big parallax error cases is different. It tends now to behave more robustly according to common sense: align objects that are far nicely but because of that, it raises parallax errors in near objects. With previous version, it was more balanced, some parallax issues far away and some parallax issues on close objects. We don’t know if it is better or not yet. Feedback is welcomed on that aspect.
Papywizard / VRDrive2 new engine
With the old XML import for Papywizard, we could still have some issues coming from differents causes, but also because we introduced the new optimizer in v3.5 series. But now, we have:
- Depending on the robotized head you were using, we found out that the XML recorded and the ground trust was a bit different for the pitch value. If we respect the pitch value of orphan images, it is not enough to have a regular grid. We found a new algorithm to have a perfect grid while trying to respect the XML value. The results are better this way and globally, the orphan images management is just really better.
- Gigapixels are often done using robotized heads. The issue with such giant images is the fact that you have a lot of blue images and sometimes, our detector is too good and finds between these images some links which happen to be dust on the lens ( Yes, we can detect that ). When using papywizard import, we are now more resilient to dust and it should not happen anymore.
- Both Papywizard and VRDrive2 benefit from the new advances in the import wizard. Of course, the new optimizer also helps a lot to get better results as the optic parameters are calculated better too.
There are also some other new features in this release. Let me highlights some of them:
- ISO cutting mode. In autopano 3.0, you have the anti-ghost algorithm that finds for you the right zones where to cut between images. This algorithm works by analysing the content so that you don’t have any ghost in produced panorama. This mode is still here and it has been renamed “smart”. With the new engine, you also have a second cutting mode called ISO. This mode doesn’t analyses content anymore. The cutting zone is fully determined by 2 aspects : It tries to keep pixels which are close to centre of images. It tries to keep pixel around green pins and remove pixels around red pins. If you compare that mode with a real masking solution, it is really the same but automatic according to pins. If you have banding issue in the sky with the smart mode, try this one, it will be better while keeping a sharp output.Note: this mode is really efficient when you need to stitch video and that was the main goal for developing it. Nevertheless, it appears to be really nice on image also and not only for video.
- GPano XMP support. Yes, we support these metadata’s now in the generated panorama as soon as you have an image format that supports XMP ( jpeg or tiff currently). We support orientation and field of view for full or partial panoramas.
- Fisheye projection mode. A new projection is available in the projection modes. It is a pure fisheye projection on which you can adjust the field of view. It is nice to have to generate fisheye image that can be stitched again.
- .pano format in full XML. The project file has evolved a lot during the engine revamp and we now have a full XML file format which is more easy to manage over version release. So you won’t be able to reopen 3.5 .pano file with older version. If you need to do that, we added a ‘save as old .pano’ export so you can convert this .pano XML format to an old one. Of course, some aspects cannot be transfered like many parts in the optimizer settings which are totally new.
Beside some translations that are missing, the 3.5 branch of autopano engine is now done and we are working on the version 3.6 that will bring a new plugin.
Fixes since 3.5.0 RC1:
- 0002984: [Image I/O] Updated cameras.txt & lensid.txt
- 0003166: [translation] French translation check
- 0003390: [Image I/O] lensModel of ImageDef not read from .pano