Friday 24 August 2012
Here is a new alpha version of Autopano 3.0 image-stitching software that brings interface enhancements, an Import plugin for the VRdrive II motorized head, the compatibility with RAW files of the latest cameras on the market and bug fixes.
Please read the change log below as it gives interesting details on this update and the application evolution.
As a reminder: anyone can try Autopano 3.0 in the demo mode, and users having a legitimate registration key of version 2 can use it in the alpha and beta versions of Autopano 3.0.
This version is an improved version of Autopano engine v3. It also takes into account customer requests for an easier UI in Autopano.
A lot of small changes have been made to ease the work in the editor. Here’s a quick list of them:
- The layer editor is synchronized with the panorama editor. This is quite nice because now, you have a direct synchronization between the layer editor selection and the editor itself in both ways. Select an image in the editor, it selects the line in layer editor. Easy. It is really an improvement over the old behavior and allows new actions, like deleting an image directly from the control points editor.We also added some new features in the layer editor like the ability to copy, paste location of one image to another image, or to move the current selection to a new layer in a single click.
- If you hold the shift key when selecting an image, you select the whole stack composed with this image, it is easier for moving stacks as a whole instead of moving the images one by one.
- In the Info window, you now have an accurate evaluation of the overlapping percentage of the panorama. This is often a good-to-know information about the panorama.How to read this value? Imagine a 2-image panorama : 0% means no overlapping at all. 100% means both images are overlapping in full. 50% would be something like the edge of one image is at the center of the second.Note: the value can go over 100% if you do bracketing. With a 3-bracket panorama, you should have a value around 340%, 300 coming from bracket et 40% of real overlapping between different location.
- Improved Panini projection. You now have access to the horizontal field of view that was hidden before. This allows to get a larger view. We didn’t allow to get the maximal theoretical value because there is really too much distortion in that case, nevertheless, now, you can go beyond the first version.Note: You have to be aware that maximal horizontal field of view depends on the distance parameter. If you change the distance, the max changes. It is often a good way to get a larger field of view.
- Constraint-based masking and stack: we added another way to put a constraint on each image composing a stack with two new button dedicated to this action.
- When using move mode for image or full panorama, you can also hold the shift key to force motion only in one direction ( horizontal or vertical ). For panorama centering, that’s nice.
Seitz VR Drive II support
Seitz VR Drive II has a build-in mode that drives directly cameras, it is called the HDR mode. It setups for you the number of brackets, exposure, etc. Moreover, the VR Drive II also creates a Papywizard XML file. So, it seems adequate for us to create a super easy wizard that does everything out of VR Drive II. Now, in the Import module, you have a new plugin designed for VR Drive II HDR mode. Compared to the standard Papywizard plugin, it introduces in the main page an option to let you select from within the plugin the kind of output you want: tonemapped or true HDR. Behind the scene, it has been optimized to follow the way the head organized the shoots for an easy wizard.
We changed how RAW decoding is done in this version of Autopano: be aware that decoded RAWs will be a little darker now than before. Here’s the explanation:
If you used to decode manually-exposed RAW files within Autopano, there were an automatic level done over the images during the RAW decoding. Then, the output images didn’t have the same exposure anymore, which could be an issue for the stitching. We removed this option from DCRAW engine and now you have a stable exposure. The drawback is that decoded RAWs look darker than before. Our previous design was to be able to have a decoded RAW exposed like the JPEG if produced by the camera, but it is not really possible anymore.
The good point with that change is that bracketing of RAW to produce HDR is now better. If you do bracketing with a large amount of eV between the shots, you end up with really dark images. With that changes, they stay dark and also don’t introduce anymore noise because of this RAW decoding auto level.
Other changes in this version:
- We support all new RAW formats from new cameras available in the market ( Nikon D800, Canon 5DMark3, etc ).
- When doing a Gigapan or Papywizard panorama, as the number of images can be fairly large, it could happen that the name of the produced images was wrongly numbered because it reached a 9999 value (the camera starts again the filename with 0000 ). In this case, you needed to rename the images before importing them because we used alphabetical order. Now, we use timestamps instead of alphabetical order when it is possible. It solves this issue.
- Is an image missing in a panorama? Just drag’n'drop it from a group to the panorama. Easy way to add an image to the panorama.
Using during beta stage
We believe in our community and in our customers that support us since a long year. The quality of a software application doesn’t come only by the quality of the developer ( come on, still a bit ), but from the quality of the communication between you and us. So for the v3, we decided to do the following:
- You can try all alpha, beta of Autopano Pro/Giga for free during the pre-release stage of the products. You can even remove the watermark as soon as you have a legitimate v2 key.
- All betas are limited in time. This Alpha 2 version will expire end of October.
With this approach, you can already start to use v3 in production work ( at your own risk, of course ). I hope that you will enjoy the v3 and report a lot of feedback on our forum about it.
Roadmap to the release
We are now concentrating only on reported bugs (no new feature will be introduced until the release version). There are 2 open bugs that still need some attention. First one is about GPU use on some computers. As we are using it a lot now for the real-time editor, it stresses a bit some old computers and in some cases, it doesn’t display anything on the screen ( issue 1396 ). Another topic is that some tools have a validation action that doesn’t seem to do anything but if you don’t use it, the panorama switches to its previous state. This is a design issue we need to adjust for the next version (issue 1457).
- 0001250: [Neurone ( optimisation )] distorsion model settings not kept – resolved.
- 0001347: [Editor] Display average overlaping percentage in help window – resolved.
- 0001380: [Neurone ( optimisation )] Optimization with orphan images – resolved.
- 0001420: [Cortex ( rendu )] Pannini projection cropping the zone – resolved.
- 0001403: [Import plugins] VRDrive 2 import plugin – resolved.
- 0001388: [Import plugins] Parsing error in Papywizard plugin – resolved.
- 0000454: [Import plugins] Using timestamp for sorting gigapan input images – resolved.
- 0001450: [Unclassified] Theta min/max inversed – resolved.
- 0001439: [Editor] Horizontal squeeze on rectilinear projection – resolved.
- 0001444: [Image I/O] KGFL 4.0.0 integration – resolved.
- 0001446: [Import plugins] Neutralhazer protection is on – resolved.
- 0001419: [Editor] Too approximated crop in pannini – resolved.
- 0001385: [Cortex ( rendu )] Single row detection template – resolved.
- 0001237: [UI behavior] move help text of each tools – resolved.
- 0001319: [UI behavior] create new graphics resources – resolved.
- 0001428: [Cortex ( rendu )] %f does not work in rendering name – resolved.
- 0001425: [UI behavior] same picture can be dropped several times in same group – resolved.
- 0001390: [Unclassified] first start seems not stable (Import, GPU…) – resolved.
- 0001245: [Editor] Drag’n'drop images from a group to a panorama => add images to that panorama – resolved.
- 0001224: [Editor] Delete picture in CP mode – resolved.
- 0001374: [UI behavior] “Hide” system menu is not translated on Mac – resolved.
- 0001200: [Editor] Expose move horizontal / vertical only in panorama mode – resolved.
- 0001387: [Cortex ( rendu )] graphcut constraints – resolved.
- 0001397: [Editor] Pannini squeeze range – resolved.
- 0001287: [Cortex ( rendu )] Mode mask and stac – resolved.
- 0001069: [Editor] In move mode, move a stack in a whole instead of moving individual images – resolved.
- 0001409: [Editor] Can save a pano with only picture – resolved.
- 0000084: [Editor] Selection des images via l’editeur de layer aussi ( refletÃ© dans l’editeur au-dessus ) – resolved.
- 0000865: [Editor] Copy / Paste Image location in contextual menu of layer editor – resolved.
- 0001345: [Editor] Select some image in the layer, right click, move to new layer – resolved.
- 0001350: [Editor] Layer editor : right click on image, copy /paste image name – resolved.
- 0001398: [Cortex ( rendu )] Editor visual jump when changing projection mode – resolved.
- 0001394: [Synapse ( detection )] Crash on close all group when a group is detecting – resolved.
- 0001391: [Editor] settings not saved – resolved.
- 0001389: [Unclassified] Plugin apply on only 3 images – resolved.
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