Wouldn't you consider them all obsolete with a polygonal masking tool?
Not really. Still want to select my options in the right mouse menu and to see what the area is that my tools are affecting
I did use more markers than needed because one never knows how many are needed. When I used less, placed as the documentation describes, there were patches appearing where I did not want them. I'd rather spray 50 clicks in 20 seconds and be sure, than spend many minutes trying to find those magical fewer spots.
I guess I am a bit spoiled by my Titan GPU, which btw now comes in a 12 GB version and also a dual GPU version (12 GB Dual core version is 2600 euro only ;-) ). I mostly edit 3 panoramas at the same time, round robing style, and often spend less then 10 minutes on each panorama to get them done, sometimes less then a minute. Is that because of the pattern my photographers use, is it autopano, is it my technique...
The algorithm examines the clicked pixel and masks the contiguous area. What it deems to be the area is never revealed to the user - the documentation hints that it's an area of uniform color and, as I understand it, bordered by a high contrast edge. You can keep placing single points and waiting for the final preview to update, hoping each time that your idea of an "area" is the same as the program's, but in the end it's still a guessing game.
It would be nice if autopano would show us the area of effect of a certain marker. The problem could be that they cannot do so for sure at the moment you place the marker as only after doing the preview it is known. That is inherent at the technique Kolor problably uses, using markers to give a pixel from one photo more weight because of a green marker closeby, then a pixel of another photo with or without a red marker nearby. Kind of flexible z-ordering. Works fine for me, as long as their is plenty of overlap between photo's, good exposure and as less CA as possible.
It is not you I seek to convince about the validity of requesting a masking tool that lets us mask a human-defined area instead of a point.
With the risk of getting Klaus in my neck ;-) , I think there are only few situations where you need your solution because markers masking does not work. In those situations using photoshop will do the trick.
Funny thing is that both you and Klaus seem not willing to upload a set of photos that show a situation in which one would really need such masking. Makes me think it is more theoretical then practical.