On first glance, your message would appear to belong in the Support forum because it asks for clarification about the software's operation; however, in this case, you are commenting about features only available in the Beta versions so it probably belongs in the Development forum, because the Support forum is only for the released versions. The Future Requests forum is for requesting new features or enhanced operation, so I'm pretty sure the message does not belong here, but I am not any sort of moderator or list owner, and will leave it alone.
Aside from your observation that the Link Editor is difficult to learn how to use effectively (where I would characterize it more as some panoramas are difficult to fix and you really only have to know that you should use Optimize after adjusting things), many of your observations agree with mine, though I have never used PanoTools so can't speak to the differences between the two, nor am I some expert in APP, just a reasonably satisfied user waiting for the current release candidate to have all the bugs removed, but there are some things to comment about:
I usually use the Delete Control Points icon in the Link Editor to remove SOME of the control points that appear to be in the wrong places just before using the Add Control Points icon to have it compute new ones in the little areas I've selected. Or sometimes I delete all existing control points and then add all my own, but if I want to remove a wrongly linked image, I would just delete an entire link rather than deleting all the control points, although either way would work, as you say.
If you want to add control points (using geometric analysis?) across just two specified images, you can bring up the image pair in the link editor and use click-drag to highlight each image entirely (as opposed to two small areas that seem to correspond), and use the Add Control Points icon up top (the one with a red plus amidst a cloud of pluses) to have APP figure out what corresponds between the two. I am not recommending you do this for the same reasons as you may not want to do overall geometric analysis because you may get many bad control points, but it can be useful, sometimes.
Optimization adjusts the image positions of the entire panorama to minimize the global Root Mean Square (RMS) of the panorama, which could change even with a single change in a control point, so yes it is a global thing. Individual images are never locked in place compared to others, so moving one image in relation to the rest of the pano is not really how you want to think about what's happening.
Depending on what's been done with links and control points, optimizing can completely change the geometry of the panorama so it does forget the existing manual adjustments to yaw pitch and roll as they may no longer apply, and for the same reason, you must usually redo the auto-level as well as respecifing what are at least three verticals to fine-tune unwarping the horizon. I say this because I typically get a curved horizon after optimization. After optimization, the center of the panorama also is likely a different spot. So, in general, if you find yourself messing with rotation and straightening alot, then do all your control-point editing and optimization, first, and then straighten and rotate things...because optimization forgets anything that depended on the previous geometry. About the only thing it doesn't forget, which I wish it would, half the time, is the crop box, since I tend to see lots of transparency after an major optimization, and have to remove and reapply the cropping. Obviously cropping before tweaking control points is not the most useful thing, either, usually.
I typically would use Clean Bad Control Points after adding my own control points or after using geometric analysis to add control points, just to cut down on the computations at later stages. However I generally don't clean control points at every link adjustment because what are bad control points at one point may be good ones after I've reoptimized. It really just depends on how messed up things are and if you have to do alot of tweaking to get things right.
It is probably not a good idea to use Geometric Analysis to add control points if the images aren't very well matched, because, as you say, you will likely get bad ones, but depending on how lazy you are or if you just want to see if the computer can do better than you, it can sometimes be fun and sometimes useful to set the control point adding settings to not replace old with new but just add to existing control points, and then do several cycles of: Add with Geometric Analysis, Optimize, Remove Bad Control Points, so see if things improve or get worse. You can always roll back a few steps in the history if things are steadily getting worse. You probably don't want to do this with a large panorama as it will take quite a bit of time to recompute new control points based on geometry when there is quite a bit of image overlap. I also will have to take your word for it that Remove Bad Control Points is panorama wide, as I've barely used it, and recently on just a two-image panorama.
I am also mystified by the Auto-Fine-Tune icon, since it doesn't seem to do anything for me, either. I have not used APP long enough to know what it used to do, if it did do something in the past, or if I haven't quite set things up correctly to have it do anything.
I also have wondered what increasing the number of control points between two images does. I would guess it either does nothing, or more likely gives that image pair more weight in the overall optimization...I haven't thought about it hard enough, nor read through all the messages and wiki to convince myself one way or the other.
Last edited by ssprengel on Tue Nov 28, 2006 1:39 am, edited 1 time in total.