Hi, I am ±new here and found the APP forum the Merlin/Papywizard way 2 weeks ago. Had great support from members overthere, chapeau !
Never used APP before, I am a PTGui user but I see a lot of nice features in APP. (2.0) I have read the manual and no alpha mask images can be used for input. Why is that ? because I want to mask things like tripod/head and sometimes parts of the images I don't want to be used.
Maybe this Q is done before (no doubt) but couldn't find it. Please don't reply with ton's of links, a simple answer will do :-) Thanks!
This entry relates to the question by bigwade in this thread.
I have used the demo version of APP for a couple of days now and I like what I have seen. The program is clearly written by professionals that know what is needed to make the panorama creation process as simple as possible but still allow the user to have full control of the process.
I have experience of using Pano Tools Assembler, Hugin and Photoshop to make panoramas. In most cases the finished panoramas need some manual trimming to make them perfect.
With APP complex images with lots of details near the edges of the source images do not always create perfectly aligned results. In spite of the blending algorithm doing a remarkably good work, some annoying glitches can sometimes be seen. These can be quite disturbing if they occur for instance in the middle of the horizon.
I usually correct this kind of problems by creating a layered psd file of the panorama. Using layer masks I then try to find a place where the match between the source images is as good as possible. APP allows creation of layered psd files but I find correcting the panorama using these a bit cumbersome.
In the layered APP images it is not very intuitive to see where exactly the seam between the source images is placed. The fine trimming of the panorama would be very much easier if the layers would contain masks corresponding to the seams defined by the blending algorithm. The exact location of the seam between adjacent images could then easily be moved by editing the mask of a layer.
The layered image (with all layers enabled) would also look much nicer with masks since the corners and edges of the layer images, usually darkened by vignetting, would not be visible.
I hope APP will consider this improvement in future versions.
APP needs some way to show which image is in which location. The photoshop tiles are nice, but they're small and I guess wrong a lot, especially when scrolling.
A mask would not help this issue, and would add a lot of data to our already hugh psd/psb files.
How about another layer that has a line around the location of each image with the number in the center? Sort of like when you view all the images in the move images editor and select all the images. Note that this layer would be mostly transparent, it would just be the lines, and the circle in the center with the layer number on it.
I think adding masks would very quickly become overkill for larger panos, increasing file size and required RAM amount dramatically.
hankkarl I agree fully here, I always wanted this, it just makes looking for stitching errors easier since I will just use the outlines layer to scan for ---\___ , and your idea to add numbers is very good.
...but this should be in the "Future" thread, as bigwade's question was completely different :]
I agree about the size of the psd file. I mostly take panoramas consisting of at the most 30 images and just suffer the penalty for the size of the file. I use the the layered psd file as a temporary file meant for fine adjustment only. I save a flattened version of the corrected file and delete the psd file after the corrections.
The reason I prefer the masks is that I adjust one seam at the time. I hide all other layers except the ones needed for the seam. I then make one of the layers semitransparent (ca. 75 %) which makes it easy to see where the two images align perfectly. I then use quick masks and with the brush I move the seam to this position. I save the new mask in case further corrections are needed. I then move to the next seam and repeat the process for the two images involved. All seams do of course not need to be adjusted, just the ones with problems.
There are cases when even this procedure doesn't help. Sometimes the images do not align due to lens distortion. Although I use PTlens to correct for the barrel and pincushion distortion, the match may not be perfect. This happens especially near the corners of the image. In most cases the seam can be hidden in irregular areas (trees, bushes, grass etc.) and APP seems to do a mervellous job in this.
Another source of mismatch is taking hand-held panoramas. I have a pano head but I don't always carry it with me. The parallax error usually shows up annoyingly in electric or telephone lines against the sky. These problems can almost always be corrected by distorting or warping one of the image layers in Photoshop.
I know the procedures I described above sound very cumbersome for those who are not familiar with masks and layers in Photoshop. I use recorded actions for the procedures, however, which makes the process quite simple in practice.
I am aware that the procedure I describe is a serious overkill for most panorama photographers. After having found some annoying glitches in my large panorama prints, however, I decided to carefully check and correct every panorama before printing it.
Since I only have the demo version and have tested it with just a few panoramas, I have not taken the effort to figure out how to use the APP produced psd layers as efficiently as possible. I would be very interested in hearing how you experienced APP users use the layered psd file to correct glitches.
Sorry, I noticed the off topic sign only after having sent my submission. Is it possible to move this discussion to the "Future" thread or somewhere else since I would like to continue this discussion.
My suggestion about layer masks clearly belongs to the Future section but fixing stitching problems does not. Can I create a new thread or ask someone to do so? Since I just joined and have not read all the entries and topics, I don't know the praxis. Can someone help me out, please.