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Not stitching rows in a panorama  [SOLVED]

by stoyanmar » Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:16 pm

Hi guys,

I'm a new APG user. Here is my setup:
1. Merlin stand
2. T&C handheld controller
3. Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 camera usually shooting @400mm or @300mm (35mm equivalent)
4. APG 4.0 beta (same happens in 3.7 release)

Today I shot a couple of panoramas, just to make sure the stand and the controller get along nicely. However, when I input the resulting XML file (through the Papywizard plug-in, not sure if this is correct) and the 228 images, I am getting some links between images missing. While this is quite understandable for those of clear sky, I can't figure out why it's not linking the rows properly. In this case it is splitting the panorama in subpanoramas one or two rows high...

I am attaching a screenshot to illustrate.

Do you think the reason could be insufficient overlap or something else I am missing as a rookie?

Stoyan
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APG4.JPG
Screenshot illustrating subpanoramas

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by mediavets » Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:26 pm

Is the matrix of images complete, are there the same number of images in every row?

Are you sure you have configured the controller correctly to match your camera/lens combination?

The XML file and Import wizard should handle the 'featureless' blue sky images that's the whole point of it.

While learning I suggest you start with a smaller matrix of images shot at lower resolution, and perhaps a shorter focal length, so that every iteration takes less time, both shooting and processing, until you are getting consistent results.

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by stoyanmar » Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:07 am

Yes, the matrix is complete - 6 rows with 38 columns. The controller calculates that automatically based on the lower/left and higher/right corners of the matrix I define before the session.

The camera/lens setup is a bit more complicated that I estimated. Here is why:

The camera is a "compact" - e.g. it has all the DSLR features and size but the lens is not changeable. The focal distance is 9.12 mm/wide (25 mm equiv.) to 146 mm/tele (400 mm equiv.).

In the controller setup when I input the correct sensor size - 13.2 x 8.8 mm, and the above mentioned lens data (e.g. 146 mm), the overlap is way beyond the expected 20% that the controller suggests by default. In my estimation the overlap is more like 50%.

So, I tweaked the lens data and instead of 146, I have entered 110 in the example with the screenshot.
What's more puzzling is that with shorter focal lengths, e.g. 73 mm (200mm equiv.), the overlap is "normal", e.g. close to the 20%. And at the maximum wide position (9.12mm) the overlap is almost non-existent.

So, it turns out the controller calculation is not correct. Perhaps it takes into account a constant typical for the DSLR cameras, which is obviously wrong for non-DSLR cams.

As a final thought, if it was the overlap that is not sufficient, I guess it would create trouble with the horizontal stitching altogether. However, horizontal stitching is just fine, except sky of course. I guess with no particular detail, the software is not able to get any (or enough) "control points".

Stoyan

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by mediavets » Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:43 am

I don't know how the Touch Controller 'interprets' the sensor and focal length data, I use the Papywizard software.

I would have though focal length should be entered as 35mm equivalent?

Is there a data entry for crop factor?

I suppose it's possible that it doesn't 'understand' compacts as opposed to DSLRs no doubt Josef and/or Klaus will tell you.

.............

Regarding 'featureless' images....the whole point of utilising the XML data file and the Import wizard is that this should enable APP/APG tpo position those images well enough - control points or no control points - so that there are no holes in the stitched pano.

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by stoyanmar » Mon Feb 16, 2015 12:11 pm

I don't think I should enter the focal length as 35mm equivalent. Otherwise why should I need to describe the sensor size?

In the user's manual from the website there is "crop factor", however in my version "3.s" there is no such data entry. Perhaps he has removed it from this version as Josef knows what kind of camera I have.

This is the case - indeed the featureless photos are positioned in the correct order due to the XML but they don't fit perfectly in the holes. Probably this is due to some perspecive correction that APG is doing to the rest of the images but it can't do on these as there is nothing to calculate upon. This is not a big deal. I can fix those with a little manual movements. I just want to have it stitch my rows together as this involves moving an entire row up or down, plus it's been "optimized" so the row is not perfectly straight anymore...

Stoyan

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by klausesser » Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:31 pm

mediavets wrote:I don't know how the Touch Controller 'interprets' the sensor and focal length data, I use the Papywizard software.

I would have though focal length should be entered as 35mm equivalent?

Is there a data entry for crop factor?

I suppose it's possible that it doesn't 'understand' compacts as opposed to DSLRs no doubt Josef and/or Klaus will tell you.

.............

Regarding 'featureless' images....the whole point of utilising the XML data file and the Import wizard is that this should enable APP/APG tpo position those images well enough - control points or no control points - so that there are no holes in the stitched pano.


Facts:

Of course you need to tell the controller the focal-length and the sensor-size.

It calculates the angles and steps from BOTH values.

From reading the focal-lenght and the sensor-size in "px-x" and "pix-y" the controller knows all it needs to know.
Do not forget the overlap - it´s @20% per default . . maybe other values are preferable.

Needs testing.

Klaus

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by klausesser » Mon Feb 16, 2015 1:47 pm

stoyanmar wrote:This is the case - indeed the featureless photos are positioned in the correct order due to the XML but they don't fit perfectly in the holes. Probably this is due to some perspecive correction that APG is doing to the rest of the images but it can't do on these as there is nothing to calculate upon. This is not a big deal. I can fix those with a little manual movements. I just want to have it stitch my rows together as this involves moving an entire row up or down, plus it's been "optimized" so the row is not perfectly straight anymore...



Using the xml-import with "featureless" images you better use "skip optimization".
Otherwise the optimizer will try to find CPs to optimize where it wouldn´t´t find any.

Using "skip optimization" leads to almost corect placing the images - here the mechanical/electrical precision
of the head is relevant.

After positioning by the xml you nevertheless need to optimize and fine-tune CPs - but not on the "featureless" images.

So you need to exclude them from optimization.

In the documentations you can find strategies to deal with that.

For example here: http://www.kolor.com/wiki-en/action/vie ... zard_Cases

Here you have lots of "featureless" images for which no CPs can get detected. They´re placed by the xml.

Klaus

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by stoyanmar » Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:56 am

Very good resource, Klaus, thanks! Unlike the manual, this case study is quite understandable.
I am still doing some tests with various focal length settings, one of the tests yesterday was perfect, but the shooting speed dropped to 13 sec/shot since I increased the focal length setting to 129 instead of 120 (fast, 8 sec/shot).
Stoyan

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by mediavets » Tue Feb 17, 2015 11:36 am

stoyanmar wrote:Very good resource, Klaus, thanks! Unlike the manual, this case study is quite understandable.
I am still doing some tests with various focal length settings, one of the tests yesterday was perfect, but the shooting speed dropped to 13 sec/shot since I increased the focal length setting to 129 instead of 120 (fast, 8 sec/shot).
Stoyan

As I recall beyond a certain focal length you will get roughly half as many shots per minute (everything else being equal) because of the way the control over head positioning works, it's something along the lines of if the incremental angular movement between shots is less that a certain value the head drives in super slow mode all the time.

The Merlin/Panogear mount was designed to move astrotelescopes sloooowly rather than cameras quickly.

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by klausesser » Tue Feb 17, 2015 1:17 pm

stoyanmar wrote:Very good resource, Klaus, thanks! Unlike the manual, this case study is quite understandable.
I am still doing some tests with various focal length settings, one of the tests yesterday was perfect, but the shooting speed dropped to 13 sec/shot since I increased the focal length setting to 129 instead of 120 (fast, 8 sec/shot).
Stoyan


When you change the focal-length you need to tell the conroller!! Which means you need to type in the different focal first via your PC to store it in the controller.

You can´t simply change the focal-lenght on a zoom and expect a good stitch . . . =D :cool:

As Andrew already mentioned: the Merlin basically is an Astro-mount - no problem being slow.
For pano-photography it need to approach the next position fast and then moves slowly to the final values on teh last
few millimeters.

This works ok up to around 105mm lenses. Above that focallength the head al the time moves in the slow-mode.
That´s what makes it very slow then.

The reason is that the Merlin is an inexpensive head with inexpensive electronics, motors and gears. You cannot expect it to work as fast AND precise as the other - much more expensive - heads do.

Klaus.

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by stoyanmar » Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:18 am

Hi,

Of course I am not changing the focal length of the camera. I am always shooting at 146mm (400mm equiv.).
I am only tweaking the controller presets. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

The speed drop occurs beyond 125 mm in my experience. It has nothing to do with head price or precision - it is simply a matter of angle changes between shots - if the value goes below 125 then it is OK to move the head at the fastest possible speed, while after 125 it can not as it will miss the spot. Josef has done a great job here!

Anyway, after two good days of testing here is what I came upon:

Let me remind you, the actual focal length is 146 mm. However, in order to get 20% overlap, I have to input 110 mm into the controller setup. This is OK, I can do some math for the smaller focal lengths.

Also, to recap, anything below 127 mm (in the controller setup) makes a panorama with good horizontal stitching but with poor vertical stitching. However, at 127 mm the actual overlap is more than 60% which I don't like as the shooting time goes well beyond acceptable.

Thanks to Klaus (that pointed me to a good reading) I began tweaking the Shot Setup parameters during the import in APG. By default, when there is a focal length conflict between the XML and the actual EXIF data (in my case 110 mm vs 400 mm) the wizard gets the EXIF data. In this case the import doesn't do well with the row stitching.

By performing some trial and error tests I got to the point that I can import flawlessly the 110mm panorama if I manually set the focal length at 375 mm (rather than 400 mm).

I can't explain why this works, but it works for me. Perhaps APG is relying heavily on focal length value, and it seems that 375 mm produces a fine result.

I've got a couple of other questions:
1. Is the Neutralhazer plug-in included in APG as I can't tell from the comparison table on the website? If yes, how do I use it?
2. Is it normal when I import a panorama to get a full 360 degree space and the actual 120-degree panorama is located in such a funny way that its left part is shown on the far right of the scope, so I have (every time) to move it manually a bit to the right in order to view it correctly? (see the attached screenshot)

Thanks for your help so far!

Stoyan
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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by klausesser » Thu Feb 19, 2015 12:08 pm

Hi!

"Tweaking the controller presets" . . . . they have a rason being the way they are, you know . . :cool: ;)

The speed of moves has very much to do with the price and the precision of the head: moving fast AND precisely matching the correct position means a big effort for motors and gears as well as for the precision of the electronics.
That´s beyond any doubt a matter of costs in the end.

I´m afraid you misunderstood a vital point: when you HAVE a focal length of 146mm you need to SET this focal-length in the controller.
By knowing the sensor-size the controller calculates the value of the aequivalent focal-length and uses it for positioning.
That´s because you need to "tell" the contoller your exact sensor-size when you initialize it the first time onyour PC.

Please DO NOT other calculations aside from what the controller does for you - as said: there are good reasons it works
like it does.

You seem to have a tendency for "tweaking" this and that . . . =D :cool: - believe me: in this case it´s very uncool!

Stick to the advises which Josef and i give in the descriptions! They got evaluated for years now - and they proved as
working very well.

No need to re-invent the basics of panorama-shooting, Stoyan . . . ;) :cool:

"Neutralhazer" afaik needs to be licensed seperately.

Klaus

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by stoyanmar » Thu Feb 19, 2015 1:40 pm

Klaus,

With all respect to your experience and knowledge, don't get me wrong, let me clarify:

1. There are NO presets to tweak on the controller itself. Maybe I didn't use the proper term. I call "presets" the lens/sensor data that I have to enter in order for the controller to work at all. These values (the lens only) is what I actually tweak.

2. Let me repeat my initial statement - there are two problems with inputting the real lens value (146 mm):
a) the image overlap is up to 80% - way too much for ANY panorama shooting even for a rookie like me.
b) there is still conflict between the XML data (146 mm) and the EXIF data (400 mm) since the camera writes the 35mm eqivalent in the EXIF data, whereas I am supposed to put the real focal length in the controller setup. If this is wrong, please let me know.

So, sorry if it looks like I am the "tweaker maniac", but I am just trying to make the setup running without bothering Josef too much. He is probably too busy as he didn't reply to my e-mail dated 15.2.2015 anyway.

Stoyan

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by mediavets » Thu Feb 19, 2015 2:10 pm

Perhaps the issues are related to the fact that your camera is a fixed zoom lens 'bridge' camera rather than a DSLR?

http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/panason ... dmc-fz1000

The Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 can shoot in many resolutions and aspect ratios:

Max resolution 5472 x 3648
Other resolutions 4864x3648, 5472x3080, 3648x3648, 3888x2592, 3456x2592, 3840x2160, 2592x2592, 2736x1824, 2736x1824, 2432x1824, 1824x1824, 1920x1080
Image ratio w:h 1:1, 4:3, 3:2, 16:9
Effective pixels 20 megapixels
Sensor photo detectors 21 megapixels
Sensor size 1″ (13.2 x 8.8 mm)
..............

The effective sensor size may then presumably be different depending on the aspect ratio chosen for shooting? This would I guess affect the calculation used by the controller to determine the shooting position co-ordinates to provide a certain % overlap?

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by klausesser » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:02 pm

stoyanmar wrote:1. There are NO presets to tweak on the controller itself. Maybe I didn't use the proper term. I call "presets" the lens/sensor data that I have to enter in order for the controller to work at all. These values (the lens only) is what I actually tweak.


Ok - what do you mean saying "tweak"?

stoyanmar wrote:2. Let me repeat my initial statement - there are two problems with inputting the real lens value (146 mm):
a) the image overlap is up to 80% - way too much for ANY panorama shooting even for a rookie like me.


Can you precisely describe what you mean?
Did you set "landscape" or "portrait" correctly? Did you set the sensor-data correctly?

stoyanmar wrote:b) there is still conflict between the XML data (146 mm) and the EXIF data (400 mm) since the camera writes the 35mm eqivalent in the EXIF data, whereas I am supposed to put the real focal length in the controller setup. If this is wrong, please let me know.


Again: did you set the correct sensor-values when you "initialited" the controller on your PC?

stoyanmar wrote:So, sorry if it looks like I am the "tweaker maniac", but I am just trying to make the setup running without bothering Josef too much. He is probably too busy as he didn't reply to my e-mail dated 15.2.2015 anyway.


Josef is on vacation until this weekend.

Can you please send me an XML file you got from the controller?

Klaus

PS: can you please also send me the exact values for focal-length and sensor-size as well as
the info whether you shoot in landscape- or in porttrait-mode?

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by klausesser » Thu Feb 19, 2015 3:29 pm

mediavets wrote:The effective sensor size may then presumably be different depending on the aspect ratio chosen for shooting? This would I guess affect the calculation used by the controller to determine the shooting position co-ordinates to provide a certain % overlap?



Oops - you´re right, Andrew! I didn´t realize that.

So this is a vital information Stoya: for precisely which setting at all did you configure the controller??

Klaus

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by stoyanmar » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:32 pm

Andrew and Klaus,

I have carefully selected this particular camera and I know everything about it of course. I am ALWAYS using the maximum resolution at the native 3:2 sensor ratio, namely 5472 x 3648 pixels = (approx.) 20 Mpixel. Which means that I am using the largest possible portion of the sensor.

Yes, I've input the actual sensor size into the controller setup (13.2 x 8.8 mm).

I am always using the camera in portrait position, and yes, I am always selecting portrait mode for the controller.

Klaus, this is a precise description of the problem:
I am always using the maximum lens zoom when taking panoramas - which is 146 mm as specified by Panasonic, or 400 mm equivalent of 35 mm film cameras.
If I input 146 mm into the controller setup then the pictures taken are overlapping a lot. I mean A LOT. Unacceptable a lot.
By "tweaking" I mean that I am putting lower lens values instead of 146 mm, but always keep the other values - sensor size, portrait position with no changes. By trial and error I have come to the conclusion that if I use a value of 110 instead of 146, I get approx. 20% overlap, which corresponds to the 20% overlap in the controller menu.

Anyway, even without any tweaking, APG warns me of focal length conflict between the XML (146 mm) and the EXIF data (400 mm). That conflict would be alleviated if I was supposed to put the 35mm equivalent into the controller setup OR if the camera were writing the actual focal lens into the EXIF data. However, I don't think any of these is possible so I just keep ignoring the warning.

The good news is that I got APG to stitch correctly in the following scenario:
1. Actual focal length when shooting = 146 mm
2. Focal length in controller setup = 110 mm
3. Focal length in "Shoot setup" tab of the Papywizard plug-in = 375 mm

So, this approach works at this point. Probably it would be best if the controller would calculate proper rotation degrees with the real 146 mm value but this is something that depends on Josef when he returns.

Stoyan

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by mediavets » Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:52 pm

Glad you have found a configuration that works. Can we see the result of one of your successful shoots?

It's a while since I played with the Papywizard Import wizard, but I thought that if the focal length recorded in the XML and EXIF were different this was detected and you are offered the option of which to use in the Wizard?

Papywizard configuration is different. It doesn't ask for the sensor dimensions in mm., instead it asks for the sensor aspect ration, sensor res. in MP, and crop factor., as well as focal length.
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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by klausesser » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:12 pm

stoyanmar wrote:Andrew and Klaus,

I have carefully selected this particular camera and I know everything about it of course. I am ALWAYS using the maximum resolution at the native 3:2 sensor ratio, namely 5472 x 3648 pixels = (approx.) 20 Mpixel. Which means that I am using the largest possible portion of the sensor.

Yes, I've input the actual sensor size into the controller setup (13.2 x 8.8 mm).

I am always using the camera in portrait position, and yes, I am always selecting portrait mode for the controller.

Klaus, this is a precise description of the problem:
I am always using the maximum lens zoom when taking panoramas - which is 146 mm as specified by Panasonic, or 400 mm equivalent of 35 mm film cameras.
If I input 146 mm into the controller setup then the pictures taken are overlapping a lot. I mean A LOT. Unacceptable a lot.
By "tweaking" I mean that I am putting lower lens values instead of 146 mm, but always keep the other values - sensor size, portrait position with no changes. By trial and error I have come to the conclusion that if I use a value of 110 instead of 146, I get approx. 20% overlap, which corresponds to the 20% overlap in the controller menu.


Ok. You can set the desired amount of overlap on the controller when you start to shoot. Did you check that?
(I don´t remember whether that is this way also with the Merlin-version of the T&C.
On the Panoneed-version there´s set 20% overlap per default (which is ideal) - but i can choose other values.

stoyanmar wrote:Anyway, even without any tweaking, APG warns me of focal length conflict between the XML (146 mm) and the EXIF data (400 mm). That conflict would be alleviated if I was supposed to put the 35mm equivalent into the controller setup OR if the camera were writing the actual focal lens into the EXIF data. However, I don't think any of these is possible so I just keep ignoring the warning.


Set "take focal lenght from XML"

stoyanmar wrote:So, this approach works at this point. Probably it would be best if the controller would calculate proper rotation degrees with the real 146 mm value but this is something that depends on Josef when he returns.


I´m quite sure it works correct when it gets the correct values - several hundreds of happy users, including myself, prove it . . something seems strange here . .

Klaus

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by klausesser » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:16 pm

mediavets wrote:Glad you have found a configuration that works. Can we see the result of one of your successful shoots?

It's a while since I played with the Papywizard Import wizard, but I thought that if the focal length recorded in the XML and EXIF were different this was detected and you are offered the option of which to use in the Wizard?

Papywizard configuration is different. It doesn't ask for the sensor dimensions in mm., instead it asks for the sensor aspect ration, sensor res. in MP, and crop factor., as well as focal length.



Andrew - he uses the T&C controller. The PW-import in APG works very well with the XMLs from the
controller (at least it does with Panoneed-shoots).

Telling the import to take the focal-values from the XML usually works fine.

Klaus

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by klausesser » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:18 pm

klausesser wrote:
mediavets wrote:Glad you have found a configuration that works. Can we see the result of one of your successful shoots?

It's a while since I played with the Papywizard Import wizard, but I thought that if the focal length recorded in the XML and EXIF were different this was detected and you are offered the option of which to use in the Wizard?

Papywizard configuration is different. It doesn't ask for the sensor dimensions in mm., instead it asks for the sensor aspect ration, sensor res. in MP, and crop factor., as well as focal length.



Andrew - he uses the T&C controller. The PW-import in APG works very well with the XMLs from the
controller (at least it does with Panoneed-shoots).

Telling the import to take the focal-values from the XML usually works fine.

Klaus


What irritates me massively is the overlap . .

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by klausesser » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:20 pm

Hi Stoya!

Again: can you send me an XML file from the controller?

Klaus

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by mediavets » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:25 pm

klausesser wrote:Andrew - he uses the T&C controller. The PW-import in APG works very well with the XMLs from the controller (at least it does with Panoneed-shoots).

Telling the import to take the focal-values from the XML usually works fine.

Klaus

OK.

What would you expect to be recorded in the XML for focal length, the focal length entered in the config. of the controller or something else?

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by klausesser » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:41 pm

mediavets wrote:
klausesser wrote:Andrew - he uses the T&C controller. The PW-import in APG works very well with the XMLs from the controller (at least it does with Panoneed-shoots).

Telling the import to take the focal-values from the XML usually works fine.

Klaus

OK.

What would you expect to be recorded in the XML for focal length, the focal length entered in the config. of the controller or something else?


The controller´s focal length.

That´s why i asked Stoyan to post the xml-file.

The importer afaik wants to read the EXIFs. That sometimes leads to different values.
So it´s definitely preferable to take the XML´s data.

Klaus

PS: the controller works completely independent from the camera-EXIFs.
Last edited by klausesser on Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Not stitching rows in a panorama

by stoyanmar » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:45 pm

Hi Klaus,

Yes, I am attaching the latest XML that I produced a couple of hours ago. Also, I am attaching a rendered panorama from APG that is the actual result from this XML and the corresponding shots (scaled down to 20% just to keep the upload manageable). As I mentioned, I have imported the XML/shots with 375 mm focal length in order to get the stitching right.

I don't say there is something wrong with the controller, I believe you there are many happy users. Just probably most of them are using DSLRs which is not my case. And, just for the record, I am a happy user too, by the way. I am just sharing some bumps along the road, I am not moaning or something...

If I make APG to take the focal length from the XML (110 mm or even 146 mm) the result is so distorted as if someone is trying to stitch many fisheye photos together.
Attachments
400mm20%.jpg
XML.rar
(1.18 KiB) Downloaded 39 times

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