Advice for a beginner  

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LSM1604
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Advice for a beginner

by LSM1604 » Wed Mar 09, 2016 4:40 pm

Hi everyone,

I was wondering if someone could advise me on how best to set up AutoPano Pro for my project please?

Equipment:
  • Canon EOS 750D
  • Sigma 8mm Fisheye Lens
  • Nodal Ninja NN4 Panoramic Head with RD16 and EZ Leveller II
  • Manfrotto MK055XPRO3 Tripod

Software:
  • AutoPano Pro
  • PanoTour Pro

The Brief:
Produce a panoramic tour of the interior of an industrial building (pipework, valves, pumps, motors, tanks etc) at my place of work similar to how Google StreetView works. Make the process from start to finish as easy, fast and as automated as possible. Images are not to be edited manually. Produce quality results without using incredible amounts of storage space (tour will be accessible to multiple users over a fast Ethernet (100 Mb) network). Panoramic tour must be playable in HTML5 format and not Flash.

My Work So Far:
  • Purchased the equipment
  • Set up the panoramic equipment
  • Produced some test shots
  • Created sample panoramas in AutoPano Pro
  • Created sample tour in PanoTour Pro

I will be taking panoramas in multiple locations within this industrial building (over 100 locations), and time will be of the essence. Therefore having the photo taking process as simple as possible will be key. Ideally, I would like to shoot the photos in green mode, but I understand that this is not going to be feasible due to the relatively low amount of light in the building (sodium lighting - not good). In green mode, the camera tries to deal with the poor light by adjusting the ISO up to 6400 in places, therefore losing a large amount of detail. Because of this, I have decided that Program mode seems to be a good choice as I can control the ISO speed (ISO 200 for all shots), and let the camera control the aperture and the shutter speed to achieve the optimum exposure. If I had more time to take each panorama, I would choose to shoot in Shutter Priority, but I won't have time to adjust the shutter speed at each location.

I have also decided to bracket my shots, and this will either be at 1 stop or 2/3 stop for each shot taken. The camera take 3 shots (correct exposure, over exposed, under exposed) These brackets will all be added into AutoPano Pro to stack.

All photos are being taken in JPEG at maximum quality.

With the equipment I have, I started off taking 5 images in the sweep (0 degrees), a zenith (+90 degrees) and a nadir photo (-90 degrees) (7 images per panorama). However, I have decided that I don't require the nadir photo as it does not add much to the end result, and I don't have time to mask out the tripod. Removing the nadir has left my images still showing a small amount of the tripod arrangement, so I was thinking of adjusting the angle on the panoramic head to +5 degrees?

I'm not sure if this is making much of a difference to how AutoPano Pro deals with the images added when it group them, but I create a new folder in the camera for each panorama I take. The software deals with this incredibly and always group each panorama (bracketed or not) perfectly every time.

Another point of note is the focus, I have the camera set on Autofocus and have the focus set up to the centre zone (I was having problems with the 19 point auto detect).

I will happily take any advise on the above, to help speed up the process or produce even better results. I want to set the camera up once and take all of my panoramas without changing a single setting.

OK, now that I have rambled on, I will ask for some further advice on AutoPano Pro! As I mentioned previously, I would like the process of detection and rendering as automated as possible, and produce consistent quality results without going over the top on file size. Not much to ask, I know ;)

Detection settings:
  • Auto color correction
  • Auto Render
  • Auto Save

Panorama settings:
  • Default projection - Automatic
  • Default crop - Clamp to panorama project
  • Color correction by layer:
  • Gamma
  • Exposure
  • Default regroup - By stack

Render settings: Now this is where I struggle to get my head around things!!
  • Size - 100%
  • Interpolator - Bicubic
  • Blending Presets - I don't have a clue what to select here! I have exposure bracketed images (3 per photo), I shouldn't have moving subjects.
  • Format - Once again, I do not have a clue what to select! The images are to be taken in JPEG, but what do I select the format as? I will not be using Photoshop or any other image editing software.
  • Format Depth - I assume this will be defined by the format selected?
  • Quality - Does this make a massive difference? I have it set on 12, but will I see much difference if set to something else?
  • DPI - default setting is 72, should I put it to 300??
  • Exported Data - I only have panorama selected, I'm not particularly interested in having each bracketed layer exported individually.

OK that's AutoPano Pro discussed. Would someone be able to help me on the best way to set this up please, especially the Render Settings.

Now for PanoTour Pro. I understand that this isn't the correct board to post this bit, but I thought it would make sense to add this bit into this thread as it will explain the process from start to finish?

I am happy designing the tour, adding hotspots, floor plans etc. But I would like some advice on the Build section if possible?

As I have previously mentioned, I would like the tour to be in HTML5 format, and not Flash, so I have not ticked the "Enable Flash Fallback" option.

HTML Template is set to fullpage.html

With the Tiles section, this is the bit that confuses me again! I would like as much quality as possible (allowing users to zoom into the panorama and see the full resolution). I have made an assumption and have the generation method set to default, multiresolution ticked, and the JPEG quality set to 12. Is this correct, or are there any adjustments I should make?

Does anyone have any advice for me on any of the above please? Taking the photos (the settings in camera), using AutoPano Pro (detection, panorama or render settings) and using PanoTour Pro?

Apologies for the very long message, I just wanted to explain as much as possible, and any help would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks,
Liam

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mediavets
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Re: Advice for a beginner

by mediavets » Wed Mar 09, 2016 10:38 pm

LSM1604 wrote:I will happily take any advise on the above, to help speed up the process or produce even better results. I want to set the camera up once and take all of my panoramas without changing a single setting.

Welcome to the forum...

IMO this is a an unrealistic notion, if you want to produce a quality result.

The conventional wisdom is to use all manual settings - shutter speed, aperture, White balance and ISO and focus - when shooting panos.

As a beginner IMO you are expecting too much to achieve high quality results quickly with minimal effort and no post-processing.

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Re: Advice for a beginner

by LSM1604 » Thu Mar 10, 2016 11:26 am

Hi,

Thank you for your reply.

There are a number of factors why I just can't spend the time messing about in each location trying to set up the camera in manual to achieve results.

As explained previously, the building which I am planning to produce the tour of is an industrial building, and the same type of lights (sodium) are used throughout the building. Therefore lighting situations should be relatively consistent, despite being dull and orange.

From my understanding, I should be shooting at a fixed ISO and as low as possible in order to reduce grain in the finished product (as people will need to zoom into the panoramas). Would this be correct?

What issues will I expect to get if I am using Program mode? Surely the camera can do a pretty good job at adjusting the shutter speed and the aperture to get the correct exposure on each shot, especially if I control the ISO? Apologies if I am sounding rather naïve.

Unfortunately, I am unable to take test photos in the location required. So I would like to be prepared as possible before I start.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated :)

Thanks,
Liam

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mediavets
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Re: Advice for a beginner

by mediavets » Thu Mar 10, 2016 3:05 pm

LSM1604 wrote:Unfortunately, I am unable to take test photos in the location required.


IMO taking test shots is the only way you can determine settings to be used.

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Re: Advice for a beginner

by LSM1604 » Thu Mar 10, 2016 5:38 pm

Unfortunately the area is inaccessible until I need to take the shots for real, and will only be accessible for a short period of time. This is why I have done some practice shots in a similar building, although not the exact same conditions.

As I mentioned, I am pretty happy with the shots that I have taken so far.

I am more interested about the settings I need to put into AutoPano Pro, mainly for the render. I am taking bracketed images, and do not want to have to do any post processing.

Thanks,
Liam


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