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Autopano - Tutorials - Quick Start Guide

Foreword

Autopano is an image-stitching application that make the creation of panoramas much simpler and efficient. It includes a lot of basic and advanced features designed to ease your work.
Equirectangular panoramas (360 x 180) can also be used to create virtual tours using Panotour or Panotour Pro. This part is explained in our home page and in our documentation section.

We would recommend downloading the demo versions of our softwares, and testing them to make sure they meet your needs. There are very few limitations to the demo versions, which you can find listed here.



Shooting a panorama – the basics

It is important to know that the creation of panoramas requires a specific shooting technique, using adapted equipment to compensate what could cause some stitching errors after.

  • A DSLR (Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax) or any other Hybrid camera (also known as mirrorless camera like the Fujifilm X-T1, Olympus OM-D E-M, Sony Alpha 7s and many others) and a fisheye lens will let you shoot a panorama (which starts at just 2 pictures) or a full spheric panorama (360 x 180 equirectangular picture) with 4 to 8 pictures depending on the focal length (with about 20% overlapping areas).
  • A 8 or 10mm fisheye lens (for instance Samyang 8mm f/3.5, Nikon 10.5mm f/2.8, Canon EF 8-15mm f/4) is a great choice to shoot the interior of apartments, monuments, cityscapes and landscapes or when you don't have enough setback distance. You can also use a lightweight standard zoom lens (for instance 18-35mm, 20-40mm, 18-70mm) or any other zoom/telephoto lenses (for instance 18-125mm, 18-200mm, 70-200mm, 300mm, 400mm) according to the distance between you and the scene. When you shoot using a zoom, you should not change the focal length to avoid stitching problems afterwards. That being said, any camera (compact, bridge, or even a mobile phone) is able to shoot a basic panorama.
  • The use of a panoramic head is recommended (a spherical mount, which allows you to rotate in the x, y and z axis. You can try to shoot hand-held a distant landscape by rotating in the x axis. If you aren't planning on shooting close objects, you do not need to set the nodal point (ideal rotation point).


Very useful links:



Your first Panorama with just a few clicks

Adding your pictures

You can add pictures in Autopano by browsing a folder Browse folder icon and Autopano extracts all the images before sorting them in groups, by selecting your pictures manually Select images icon or simply with a drag and drop.
Groups window


Double click a picture to display it (the EXIF button displays an information tab containing EXIF data of the images).


Image properties

This tool lets you check image parameters (from the EXIF data). You can change these parameters if Autopano has not correctly recognized your camera and lens types. This is important if you get weird results!
Image properties


Launch detection icon Detect

This launches the panorama detection for the current group. You can also launch the detection for all groups using All groups Launch detection for all groups icon (bottom left corner).
Panorama window


Once the detection is finished, you can see your panorama(s) on the right window (see above). You can double-click the panorama or click on Edit button to open the Panorama Editor.


Panorama editor

Panorama editor window


Here is a quick overview of the tools :
Panorama editor toolbar

A: Save project
B: Undo/Redo
C: Projections - This tool lets modify the projection of the current panorama (spherical or equirectangular, planar or rectilinear, pannini, cylindrical, mercator, little planet, hammer, orthographic, fisheye and mirror ball projections)
D: Geometry Correction - 90° rotation to the left or right, modify Yaw Pitch Roll, vanishing point, automatic horizon, vertical lines, crop and auto-fit. (Read more here)
E: Images mode - This tool lets see how the source images are located in the panorama (Read more here)
F: Move mode - This section describes how to move the images within the panorama (Read more here)
G: Control points editor - The control point editor lets you manually correct the links and control points (Read more here)
H: Masking tool - (Autopano Giga Autopano Giga only) The Masking tool allows you to define objects to keep or to remove on the panorama (Read more here)
I: Color Correction - The following tools are used to correct the colorimetry (Gamma, exposure, color, vignetting, gradient and HDR - Read more here)
J: Render tools - This window lets you preview the final rendering and set (or re-set) the rendering options for the exporting of the panorama (Read more here)
K: These settings have an effect on the quality of the preview and operation of the editor (Read more here)
L: Click on this icon to activate this tool, then click on the icon of your choice to view information about its use.


Most useful tools - Quick overview


  • Images mode: Lets you check positions, overlap, parallax then also to remove images if necessary with a right-click on the picture number, or by selecting the image and pressing Delete on your keyboard.


Images mode illustration

Tip: To quickly check if your stitching is good, hover the mouse over two overlapping areas, and scroll with your mouse wheel. If the image doesn't move, the stitching is good.


  • Move mode: Lets you move or rotate individual images within the panorama, or the whole panorama, so that they can be correctly positioned. You can also modify the image's location value (Yaw-Pitch-Roll) and use the Guess position tool which will let you find the position of the images without links.


  • Control points editor: Lets you manually correct the links and control points in order to obtain an optimum placement of your images. Using this tool will display the mesh of the panorama and let you view the links between images, and open the Control points editor window where you can view in detail the links and common points between two images.

Ctrl points windows
A color code informs you about the quality of the links:

Good quality link (RMS lower than 5): Good quality link.
Average quality link (RMS between 5 and 10): Average quality link.
Bad quality link (RMS more than 10): Bad quality link.
Modified and unoptimized link (the RMS value is not very important): Modified and unoptimized link.


From the Control points editor window, you can add control points by selecting a picture in the upper left window and selecting one of the images it's paired with in the bottom left window, or pair your own images by selecting two images from the upper left window. Just draw with the mouse in the left picture and do the same in the right picture. Then, optimize.
You can also remove control points by selecting them with the mouse in both pictures.


  • Masking tool (only in Autopano Giga)


An automatic calculation of the Anti-ghost blender indicates what it must keep or not (moving objects). But this tool also lets you decide which object(s) you want to keep or to remove on the panorama.
The seams (click on the preview icon Preview at the bottom of the window to display them) will refine themselves in real time according to the decisions you are taking with the masking markers.


Seams


You do not need to cover the entire object(s) you want to keep or remove. Only a few properly placed markers are needed.
Bad markers positions Good markers positions


  • Color correction


This tool will let you make some corrections and adjustments (if needed) like Exposure, color tone, vignetting, gradient...
Disabled icon No Correction: None of the automatic mechanism is used to equalize brightness or color
LDR correction icon LDR Correction: Used to equalize brightness, contrast or color
HDR correction icon HDR Correction: Used for the harmonization of panoramas when the differences in brightness are much larger. *
Reference image Reference image: It is the reference for the correction of other images. The anchors of the other images will therefore be influenced by the contrast, exposure and tone of this anchor.
* This icon (HDR) is only available if your images contain Exif data for the aperture and shutter speed.

Right-click on an image (on the number) let you put a single anchor on it and/or open a contextual menu showing color corrections (right clicking on the panorama puts anchors on every image).


  • Render


You can click the Preview icon Preview icon to display a real rendering equivalent to a rendering done after a cropping and a computing of the rendering size.
Then, before you render your panorama(s), you are able to set (or re-set) the rendering options in the render windows:

  • You can adjust the panorama’s output size with the cursor (percentage of the maximum size), by entering the desired width and height in pixels (Output size section)

Output size setting

  • You can choose the output format, encoding, compression quality and resolution (Format section)

File format

  • You can specify the folder in which the panorama will be saved and the file name (Output section)

Destination folder

  • You can let other settings as default.


Finally, click on Render.




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