Pre(or post)-autopano Advice for Bright Lights Washing Out an Area  

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jeradg
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Pre(or post)-autopano Advice for Bright Lights Washing Out an Area

by jeradg » Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:25 pm

I have successfully stitched together a pano that includes this image, but the entire ceiling section that includes this overhead light is washed out. I am wondering what some techniques you all might use pre-APP import or if you would attempt to correct it after-the-fact. I have the RAW and I will probably be reshooting the room anyways, so any tips for a way to handle the light/ceiling from camera set-up to photo editing tools would be appreciated.


Last edited by jeradg on Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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by jeradg » Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:32 pm

Here is the pano stitched from the camera JPEG that shows the washed out area. Shot F3.5 and SS 1/2.5



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by hermer-blr » Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:34 pm

Bracketing is the answer.

You can try, while developing your raw file to develop it with several different exposures and see if the resulting underexposed image is OK. Otherwise, as you have the possibility to shoot again: use bracketing.

Autopano can handle exposure fusion; otherwise, you can use an HDR processing software (photomatix is the most commonly used and acclaimed in this respect) prior to importing your images into Autopano.
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by jeradg » Thu Jun 07, 2012 4:58 pm

hermer-blr wrote:Bracketing is the answer.

You can try, while developing your raw file to develop it with several different exposures and see if the resulting underexposed image is OK. Otherwise, as you have the possibility to shoot again: use bracketing.

Autopano can handle exposure fusion; otherwise, you can use an HDR processing software (photomatix is the most commonly used and acclaimed in this respect) prior to importing your images into Autopano.

When developing the different exposures with RAW, would I process all of the images for the pano in the same way before stitching? The issue I have is that much of the pano is sufficiently lit, and if I adjust them all, it messes everything up. If I only adjust that one image (actually multiple that cover that spot), then that area doesn't match the rest of the ceiling areas.

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by klausesser » Thu Jun 07, 2012 6:51 pm

jeradg wrote:
hermer-blr wrote:Bracketing is the answer.

You can try, while developing your raw file to develop it with several different exposures and see if the resulting underexposed image is OK. Otherwise, as you have the possibility to shoot again: use bracketing.

Autopano can handle exposure fusion; otherwise, you can use an HDR processing software (photomatix is the most commonly used and acclaimed in this respect) prior to importing your images into Autopano.

When developing the different exposures with RAW, would I process all of the images for the pano in the same way before stitching? The issue I have is that much of the pano is sufficiently lit, and if I adjust them all, it messes everything up. If I only adjust that one image (actually multiple that cover that spot), then that area doesn't match the rest of the ceiling areas.

Hi!

You need to combine overexposed images (which show the shadows well) and underexposed images (which show the highlights well) with average-exposed images to cover the full range of values.
To do that i prefer to use a HDR-application like Photomatix first before stitching. Photomatix provides tone-mapping - which is ideal to choose and position tone-values to achieve the best results
when saving them as 8bit/TIFs or, even better, 16bit/TIFs.

This way you can achieve an extremely wide tonal-range with perfectly balanced highlights and shadows.

Only then - after processing HDR/mapping - you should import the generated TIFs into APG for stitching.

best, Klaus
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by DrSlony » Thu Jun 07, 2012 9:17 pm

The answer to blown highlights, life, the universe, and everything, is RawTherapee. In fact you should always develop your raws first in a dedicated raw processor before stitching them. What Autopano does best is stitching, but the raw developer implemented in AP is just rudimentary - and for good reason. In order to get the most out of your photos a dedicated raw developer at the start of your workflow is indispensable.

No need to bracket a scene that is just barely beyond the dynamic range of a single raw, it's a waste of time shooting, stitching and postprocessing.

If you make the raw available, I can quickly prove it.

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by hermer-blr » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:01 pm

To DrSlony:

I agree with you that there is much more information in a raw file than in a jpeg (recently, I saved a panorama from a mess thanks to the raw files) and that there is a lot of options to create a tif file from a raw. There are however circumstances where bracketing is necessary.

Consider, for instance, a church with its very strong highlights next to statues resting in a deep shadow.

One of my recently processed panorama is "Times square by night", with its many advertisements. Most of them were blown in the normal exposure picture; but I could recover all of them thanks to the low exposure picture.

But, yes, shooting RAW is definitively a "must". And, yes, this is not the job of APP to convert raw files.

I do not know RawTherapee; I use Nikon capture NX2 instead (I had to pay for it).
Last edited by hermer-blr on Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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by klausesser » Fri Jun 08, 2012 1:56 pm

DrSlony wrote:No need to bracket a scene that is just barely beyond the dynamic range of a single raw, it's a waste of time shooting, stitching and postprocessing.

You indeed don´t need bracketing for going "just barely beyond" the dynamic range of a single RAW.

On the other hand it´s not correct saying it so globally. There are many different types of cameras providing many different capabilities dealing with RAW.
Where the point of "just barely beyond" is . . that´s another question hardly to estimate on site. And: what kind of bracketing do you speak of? 3-step? 7-step?
9-step? 12 or even 21-step? ;):cool:

So - if there´s an opportunity to shoot bracketed using at least 3-step using RAW: better do it! You CAN NOT gather a comparable dynamic range in any other way.
The next to this - but even that can´t reach 3-step bracketing with RAW@ -2/0/+2EV - is true 16bit RAW with a digiback in one shot.

I´m shooting with MF digibacks and also D3x and 5D2 - all using RAW.

The definitely best of all RAW converters in my eyes - and i tested all of them intensively on Mac and PC - is CaptureOne.

best, Klaus
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by DrSlony » Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:29 pm

hermer-blr wrote:There are however circumstances where bracketing is necessary. Consider, for instance, a church with its very strong highlights next to statues resting in a deep shadow.

You seem to imply that I said not to bracket - but I did not ;]

klausesser wrote:There are many different types of cameras providing many different capabilities dealing with RAW. Where the point of "just barely beyond" is . . that´s another question hardly to estimate on site. And: what kind of bracketing do you speak of? 3-step? 7-step? 9-step? 12 or even 21-step?

If that preview is from JPEG, then we can see that not much was clipped and I'd wage that the ceiling can be completely recovered from his Nikon D5100 raws. Probably not the light cover, but who'd want that to be anything but white?

Artisan S. wrote:But what I do is use my RAW Converter (SilkyPics in batch mode just to loose vignetting and lens distortion) and convert to TIFF, that is processed in RAWTherapee for sharpness and color (all in batch with the same set of parameters for each frame) into a 16 bit TIFF and that is then send to Autopano Pro.

Dear lord, why?
RT can fix vignetting in three ways: using a flat field photo, using Adobe's Lens Correction Profiles (available when you install the free Adobe Lens Profile Downloader) or using sliders manually.
It can also fix lens distortion in three ways: using Adobe's Lens Correction Profiles, using Auto Distortion Correction if your camera supports that, or using sliders manually.

I always shoot raw. I see no point not to. Having a sports car but driving it only in first gear would be a strange thing to do, likewise having a DSLR but shooting in JPEG is a waste.


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