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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:21 pm 
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Can it be said that APG 3.5.0 is the best of the best stitching software on the world market and the best APG version ever created....??

My answer to that I would have to conclude as a BIG YES!.. After a million tests and sharing my images with Kolor over these past few month during the development of APG 3.5.0, discovering issue after issue that needed to be resolved.. Many question were needed to be asked and as many answers to these questions were also needed...

For a long time I struggled with APG, so I kept going back to PTGui.. There is no doubt that PTGui is a wondrous software application but.. APG 3.5.0 is a miracle software application.. =D

In order for anyone to use APG effectively, the NNP must be set perfectly.. But its a lot more than that.. There are many factors that need to be taken into consideration when setting up your hardware to capture the perfect pano sphere. I would suggest that if you are having issues with APG 3.5.0 that it is NOT APG but rather a process you are doing that is causing the issues.. I can almost guarantee this... :rolleyes:

APG 3.5.0 is more than just a stitching software application, it is a feature rich application providing so many opportunities to achieve stunning results.. The new ISO feature is just one and many new features and others like the Full Auto, where it can be said that APG 3.5.0 finally does work "Out Of The Box". Improved features like the Smart Blend is also just awesome now.. APG is not just a software application to produce great pano spheres, it comes into its own when creating amazing Gigapixel Panoramas too, where there is nothing better on the world market..

I am not in the habit of promoting software that does not perform.... Over these past few years I do not feel that APG was the best of the best since it had so many annoying issues.. I am sure many users have fond some of these issues at times.. But over these past few months, APG 3.5.0 has finally delivered the goods..

I would encourage anyone who has not tested APG 3.5.0 out, to do so. If you have issues there is a great Kolor support team, and many forum members who are skilled with APG and are also here to resolve any issues you might have..

Saying all that.. I am still pushing for even more improvements in the workflow of APG. For one, I really hate the LDR/HDR feature embedded in the software.. I would like to see this feature as a separate application but its not going to happen anytime soon so I need to nag a lot more.. ;) I feel that if APG has it very own fusion/LDR/HDR application to support it, it would please many users.. I am not saying that APG does not perform in this area, I am just pointing out that in my opinion, it is far better to process the bracketed images first, and then stitch them....

There are a heap more new features being added to APG 3.5.+. All aimed at facilitating the stitching process. I know that APG 3.5.0 has been a huge thing at Kolor over these past few months.. I have given them many headaches but Kolor has never become annoyed with me.. Lionel has been amazing and so has Alexandre... Software like APG 3.5.0 cannot be taken for granted.. It has to be remembered that it has been developed by people putting in a huge incredible effort, which as resulted in in my view the best APG version ever created..

Destiny..


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 12:54 pm 
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From a stitching and editing point of view I would agree but I still think there is work to be done in at least 2 other areas;

1. Improve the masking tool to replace these green and red markers with a better system of image coverage (like PTGUI)

2. There is still no improvement on the processing of bracketed sets with regard to alignment and anti-ghosting (compared to Photomatix which has an even better system in v5.0)

I suspect very few people use APG bracket processing in their "HDR" workflows so I will get back on my high horse again and say Kolor should either remove these facilities completely or get them working up to the level of Oloneo or Photomatix. It still comes over as a negative aspect of the whole product's image

Martin


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:22 pm 
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Hi Marin.. I would totally agree with you with the HDR feature.. I have suggested many times that this should be removed totally.. I have found this feature to be very hardware dependent.. My iMac will not cope with this feature as it is at all.. Therefore I have recommended that a new application be created where it can deal more effectively with the Fusion, LDR and HDR .. where it works more like Photomatix where preset can be saved.. At the moment, its all far too hit and miss.. If the bracketed processing software was Kolor's own, it should work very well with APG..

I guess I started to this tread to highlight the big achievement Kolor has made with the new APG 3.5.0, but to also allow other users to point out what still needs to be fixed..

I guess also more than anything, I am pointing out the key improvement Kolor has focused on with the new APG 3.5.0 and that is in stitching quality.. This is what Kolor has focused on with APG 3.5.0.. This is really what I am recommending as a huge leap forward in improved quality of stitching....

It is hoped that others like you point out what still needs attention.. Every users has there own needs..

Destiny...


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 4:27 pm 
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marzipano wrote:
From a stitching and editing point of view I would agree but I still think there is work to be done in at least 2 other areas;

1. Improve the masking tool to replace these green and red markers with a better system of image coverage (like PTGUI)

2. There is still no improvement on the processing of bracketed sets with regard to alignment and anti-ghosting (compared to Photomatix which has an even better system in v5.0)

I suspect very few people use APG bracket processing in their "HDR" workflows so I will get back on my high horse again and say Kolor should either remove these facilities completely or get them working up to the level of Oloneo or Photomatix. It still comes over as a negative aspect of the whole product's image



Putting heavenly choirs aside and being honest:

I mean APG 3.5.0 is a VERY good working stitcher - in my eyes one of the two best ones.
I definitely assist you regarding the masking tool - sometimes it works ok and other times it doesn´t.
Very much depending on the images. "The other" stitcher´s masking relally is better controllable.

Regarding stitching stacked bracketed sets i think it´s much better now in stitching them. Regarding the "HDR workflow":
well - all is said already.

All in all it´s a great tool - as said: in my eyes one of the two stitchers it´s really worth to work with.

best, Klaus


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:29 pm 
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Hi !
After testing 3.5Beta, do you think blending has been improved ? I thought that 3.0.8 was seriously lacking in that area, when the input images had vignetting (I use sometimes legacy optics, that do have vignetting - and LR correction before sending them to APG is a bit of an unnecessary and clumsy step). MS ICE did significantly better in that area, and I hate to say that because MS ICE is such a primitive tool otherwise.
Opinions ?


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:43 pm 
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miska wrote:
Hi !
After testing 3.5Beta, do you think blending has been improved ? I thought that 3.0.8 was seriously lacking in that area, when the input images had vignetting (I use sometimes legacy optics, that do have vignetting - and LR correction before sending them to APG is a bit of an unnecessary and clumsy step). MS ICE did significantly better in that area, and I hate to say that because MS ICE is such a primitive tool otherwise.
Opinions ?



Good question . . i need to evaluate this.
I realized some time ago that early versions - around 2007 - of APG didn´t have the same issues with vignettings when blending. But that was with Smartblend -which had other issues . . :cool:

Vignetting *should* get compensated easily by the color correction - that was what it did perfectly in "the early days".
I realized several times that PTGui compensated it with stitches where APG failed to.

I didn´t test 3.5 with that . . will by weekend´s time.

best, Klaus


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:16 pm 
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Yes, I remember the good old days of smartblend. It was actually THE reasons I switched from PTAssembler to Autopano. At the time, Autopano provided flawless blends, even if there was vignetting (or other problems) with the original images. Also the automatic control point detection was much better.
Since then, Autopano has accelerated tremendously, workflow is great, but I feel that at some point, the blending quality went significantly down, and vignetting showed its ugly face again :-(
I sure hope it has been seriously improved in 3.5 ! I am impatient to hear your testing results Klaus !


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:47 pm 
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klausesser wrote:
miska wrote:
Hi !
After testing 3.5Beta, do you think blending has been improved ? I thought that 3.0.8 was seriously lacking in that area, when the input images had vignetting (I use sometimes legacy optics, that do have vignetting - and LR correction before sending them to APG is a bit of an unnecessary and clumsy step). MS ICE did significantly better in that area, and I hate to say that because MS ICE is such a primitive tool otherwise.
Opinions ?



Good question . . i need to evaluate this.
I realized some time ago that early versions - around 2007 - of APG didn´t have the same issues with vignettings when blending. But that was with Smartblend -which had other issues . . :cool:

Vignetting *should* get compensated easily by the color correction - that was what it did perfectly in "the early days".
I realized several times that PTGui compensated it with stitches where APG failed to.

I didn´t test 3.5 with that . . will by weekend´s time.

best, Klaus

I believe that the initial focus for 3.5 has been detection and stitch quality.

I don't think colour correction has received the same level of attention yet.

I don't think anything has yet been done about vignetting correction, but I may be wrong.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 10:00 pm 
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You are right Andrew.. APG 3.5.0 improvements were mostly focused on improving the stitching and for me I have to say Kolor has succeeded, but I have been a real pain to them over these past few mouths.. I am sure that even with the NNP perfect, pervious versions of APG did not perform as well as PTGui.. I am certain of that. I have testing and retested my NNP setting and used so many options in the end it drove me to being obsessive about getting it right.. This pano, and many similar images where used by Kolor to do a heap of testing by them... This attached pano I can honestly say was the eureka moment for me when the stitching finally worked as I wanted it to.. However, I am still checking on the blending, tones and colours... This pano is five bracketed shots, dropped into APG 3.5.0, detect hard links and Exposure fusion.. Done!.. I think you can say that this pano was processed "Out of the box"....

I am sure now Kolor has focused more on one specific area, begin the quality of stitching, they can now focus on other areas of concern.. Blending being one of them... What might be fine for their eyes, might not be fine for others eyes and each set of images output very different results depending on cameras settings, but also, what I think might look great might not look so great by other users.. For quality of stitching the pano is perfect, so Kolor as succeeded but for blending.. I am not 100% convinced on that but it still looks great... I used a higher than normal ISO here since our home was very dark yesterday with the stormy clouds.. When I can I will try again with a low ISO to see how that goes..

Destiny...
Edit.. .Opps, I cropped the pano at the wrong ratio.. Its now 2:1...


Attachments:
APG-3.5opp.jpg
APG-3.5opp.jpg [ 504.39 KiB | Viewed 666 times ]


Last edited by Destiny on Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:00 pm 
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This is just for checking on blending... I noticed that even thought there seems to be a bit of vignetting issue, which might be called this at the windows, however, there is much more detail at the window using APG 3.5.0 than with PTGui.. PTGui seems to have blown out the lighting a lot more in this area.. However, I am more happy with he evenness of blend with the PTGui pano but.. when you view it as a VR Pano, you really do not notice this so much.... I therefore feel that the blending here is more natural when using the APG 3.5.0 than with PTGui.. But saying that.. I am not entirely sure I like it.. As I said, I really need to capture this space when there is more light and I can use a higher ISO... It really does make a big difference..

Destiny..


Attachments:
APG-PTGui.jpg
APG-PTGui.jpg [ 1.06 MiB | Viewed 670 times ]
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2014 11:56 pm 
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mediavets wrote:
I don't think colour correction has received the same level of attention yet.
I don't think anything has yet been done about vignetting correction, but I may be wrong.



I mean (!) it´s better now - but i didn´t test it with my 85mm which i had issues with a year ago in APG . . but no issue at all in PTGui . .
So i doubt it was the lens - at least not only the lens. I never had issues with this lens before - it´s a 1,8/85mm and i use it @8 and 11.
So issues with vignetting can´t be significent i mean. Otherwise PTGui must have had issues with it also.

best, Klaus


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:30 pm 
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It is no surprise the comparision with PTGUI is made. When comparing one panorama at a time this is not unexpected.
However, I for one often process series of panoramas and then APG shines because the whole process before rendering is multi-pano.
This function already makes APG of a different league on it's own and no need for me to even consider PTGUI

So back to the original post, comparing APG with previous versions.
I like the editor and the markers, I can very quickly do a lot of work. I made a lot of suggestions in the past about the markers and still stand behind these suggestions, but as I say, I can fix any problem in the panoramas the photographers that work with me are sending me. But they all shoot according to patterns and techniques I testes (with them) and that really makes the difference. So yes, APG won't solve any user error, but will do so within a limited margin.

Improvement can still be made by better using all CPU-cores while detection and rendering and specially using all GPU-power in editing mode.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 1:24 pm 
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Destiny wrote:
Can it be said that APG 3.5.0 is the best of the best stitching software on the world market and the best APG version ever created....??


No, this can't be said! Sorry, but I'm quite disappointed with this beta version 3.5b2 of APG !

Autopano GIGA is designed to create GIGA-Panoramas, as it's name suggests. The strengths should not be placed on the stitching of faulty small spherical panoramas with some Fisheye images and a lot of nodal errors because the creator does not know how to do it.

The strengths should be placed on the correctly and fast stitching of many hundreds or thousands images and then especially on a perfect blending over the whole Panorama, so that it is usable.

But APG 3.5b2 still has the same errors as they are in V2.5 . The blending and color correction system produced right in the panorama various blending errors and still has this green-red and dark-light shift from left - top to right - bottom (with every combination of anchor points and settings).

Two years earlier Alexandre has said , the version 3 of APG will have an improved color correction system. Then came version 3 without these improvements and it was said that they will improved it in version 3.5 . Now we have version 3.5 and this Errors are still exists and APG is still simply unusable to create big GIGAs.
What a pity!

In my opinion, Kolor makes no favors when they listen to the complaints of a few who do not know how to avoid nodal point errors. The stitching of correctly created images was very good already in version 2.0.

_________________
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Martin


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:10 pm 
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lumelix wrote:
Destiny wrote:
Can it be said that APG 3.5.0 is the best of the best stitching software on the world market and the best APG version ever created....??


No, this can't be said! Sorry, but I'm quite disappointed with this beta version 3.5b2 of APG !

Autopano GIGA is designed to create GIGA-Panoramas, as it's name suggests. The strengths should not be placed on the stitching of faulty small spherical panoramas with some Fisheye images and a lot of nodal errors because the creator does not know how to do it.

The strengths should be placed on the correctly and fast stitching of many hundreds or thousands images and then especially on a perfect blending over the whole Panorama, so that it is usable.

But APG 3.5b2 still has the same errors as they are in V2.5 . The blending and color correction system produced right in the panorama various blending errors and still has this green-red and dark-light shift from left - top to right - bottom (with every combination of anchor points and settings).

Two years earlier Alexandre has said , the version 3 of APG will have an improved color correction system. Then came version 3 without these improvements and it was said that they will improved it in version 3.5 . Now we have version 3.5 and this Errors are still exists and APG is still simply unusable to create big GIGAs.
What a pity!

In my opinion, Kolor makes no favors when they listen to the complaints of a few who do not know how to avoid nodal point errors. The stitching of correctly created images was very good already in version 2.0.


Whilst I am fully in agreement with the idea of making continuous improvements to colour blending and support for large gigapixel images, I would have major concerns about your comments about photographers whose technique is less than 100% perfect

I for one am not in the habit of taking tons of equipment with me every time I go out but I usually have a small point and shoot camera on my pocket (Canon Powershot S100 in my case) for use at "any time". One of the nice things about APG is that even if your technique is not 100%, you can still get very good results with the stitching (even if long hours with the APG editor plus PhotoShop are sometimes needed as well)

If Kolor went down the route you are hinting at, and non-pro photographers found it impossible to get decent results then they would go for a different product instead. My guess is that the APG user base would drop dramatically and those pro's who still wanted to buy it would end up paying over 1000Euro instead of 199. The reason Kolor can still charge that price and hopefully make a decent return is because of sales volumes and my guess is that a lot of that volume comes from "average" photographers like me

regards
Martin


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:22 pm 
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For me, Autopano should be a tank. I really am not interested in Gigapixel images, but rather a robust way of doing a large number of panos of "small"-size (typically, I have only 3-10 images to stitch, but have 50-200 panos to stitch). So I really like the automatisation of APG, being able to batch process a large number of images. But I hate to have to manually tweak some panos, because the lens happens to vignette, I did not happen to have a tripod and get parallax errors or something else went bananas. Therefore the tank analogy: it goes everywhere, and gets the job done.
Processing speed is not that important to me, because I can make a batch, let it run the night and it will be done. Important is that I don't lose my time tweaking 100000 settings to get a pano right, and that I can launch big batches.

Perhaps there needs to be a branch at some point, with gigapixels going to one direction and small panos in another. Or perhaps options that do not work in a gigapix mode.

I suspect that some developments cannot be done because gigapixel needs to be supported, and that is bad for those of us not doing gigapixels.

SO: fix the vignetting issue, pleeeaaaaaaaaaase ! :-)


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 3:51 pm 
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marzipano wrote:
Whilst I am fully in agreement with the idea of making continuous improvements to colour blending and support for large gigapixel images, I would have major concerns about your comments about photographers whose technique is less than 100% perfect


Hi Martin
I agree with you, even small hand-held panoramas must be supported. And I do not mind that Autopano also corrects the error by less experienced photographers, that's ok. I make also many mistakes ;)

But we have two different products with APP and APG.
And if it's not possible to create big GIGA-Panoramas with APG, then it's unusable for what it's named: GIGA.
Stitching was ok since Version 2.5, but with the blending there were still errors, and so with this new 3.5b2.
If this will not improve, APG isn't usable for creating GIGA-Panoramas, for what some of us choose APG.

I'm now waiting more than 2 years and check and test all the new Versions and do a lot of bug reports. But when the blending for GIGAs will not improve in this new Version 3.5, I'm not longer interested by Autopano.

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Martin


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:14 pm 
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Let's split the discussion here.

APP should concentrate on hand held shot panoramas and panoramas that were made with less then perfect viewpoint and settings.
APG can then concentrate or add doing the right thing for (huge number of) photos that were shot from a perfect viewpoint and perfect settings.

As the titlle says APG lets discuss here how APG should process photos that were shot in a close to perfect way.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:58 pm 
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HansKeesom wrote:
Let's split the discussion here.

APP should concentrate on hand held shot panoramas and panoramas that were made with less then perfect viewpoint and settings.
APG can then concentrate or add doing the right thing for (huge number of) photos that were shot from a perfect viewpoint and perfect settings.

As the titlle says APG lets discuss here how APG should process photos that were shot in a close to perfect way.


AFAIK APP and APG use the same 'engines' and always have done.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:27 pm 
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mediavets wrote:
HansKeesom wrote:
Let's split the discussion here.

APP should concentrate on hand held shot panoramas and panoramas that were made with less then perfect viewpoint and settings.
APG can then concentrate or add doing the right thing for (huge number of) photos that were shot from a perfect viewpoint and perfect settings.

As the titlle says APG lets discuss here how APG should process photos that were shot in a close to perfect way.


AFAIK APP and APG use the same 'engines' and always have done.


APG = APP + something extra.....


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 9:45 pm 
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Hi...

Have you ever tried to use the Lens Correction Plugin where it cleans up the vignetting effect...

Destiny..


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2014 11:08 pm 
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Quote:
Have you ever tried to use the Lens Correction Plugin where it cleans up the vignetting effect...


No, because I think (may be I am wrong) the plugin relies on EXIF data to do a correction. My legacy lenses do not have EXIF data. Of course I could profile each lens, remember what aperture I used and do that. I am not saying there is no way to solve my problem by myself - there is, but I find it's clumsy (I could remove vignetting in Lightroom before exporting to APG). I just say the blending should take care of that without any external info, just by having overlapping pictures. It probably not even hard to do, at least for small panos.
See a nice talk here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VAc7rjnjr3Q
and go to 12:50min to see the bit about vignetting correction in a panorama software. It's actually a nice video in itself, AlexandreJ also explains stuff after the first speaker is done.


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