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Support / FAQ - PTGui Stitching Software

PTGui [PTG]: Create HDR panorama - PTGui Pro is required. . Thus, we have the following relationship: EV = log2. N2 t.) + log2. S . Overlapping also helps to minimize ghosting effects because it can give reference to the same space. Feb 12, Dave Coffin for his support in the field of HDR imaging and the freeware RAW The overall relationship between perceived and recorded color moving objects produce ghosting artifacts in the final HDR image. Hence, of the low cost commercial panoramic software packages (like PTGui® Pro and. What is the best way to take images for HDR stitching in PTGui Pro? Can I retouch an HDR panorama, e.g. to remove ghost images of moving people?.

Similarly, varying the sensitivity iso also changes the amount of noise in the images, and the camera's noise reduction algorithm may behave differently. Therefore, ideally the only parameter that should be varied is the exposure time.

Support / FAQ

Internally, PTGui Pro groups the source images by exposure and creates a panorama for each group of identically exposed images. If a certain exposure time would be used for only one image, PTGui Pro would consider that single image to be a full blend plane. That single image would be HDR merged with a full panorama from another blend plane, resulting in ugly artefacts since the blend planes do not fully overlap.

Also, PTGui Pro will try to find out whether the source images are bracketed exposures, by looking for a repeating sequence in the exposure values. So every image should be taken at the same set of exposures, and preferably in the same order. Most SLR cameras have an automatic bracketing function, which makes this easy. When auto bracketing is enabled, multiple images are taken in sequence, with varying exposure times. It is important to set the camera to Manual 'M' mode: And the nice thing about HDR is that you don't have to worry much about 'proper' exposure, since bracketing ensures that everything will be exposed properly anyway!

HDR Panoramas with PTGui Pro - PTGui Stitching Software

You do need to find out which aperture and which range of exposure times to use in M mode. This can be done by temporarily switching to Av mode; choose an aperture and look at the exposure times your camera chooses when you point it at the highlights and the shadows in the scene.

Copy the same aperture setting to the M mode, and choose an exposure time somewhere inbetween the indicated values for the highlights and shadows. Unfortunately many digital compact cameras lack the M mode.

This makes it nearly impossible to properly photograph HDR panoramas with a compact camera; you will probably need an SLR camera. As with any non HDR panorama, don't forget to lock the camera's white balance!

A tripod is recommended, but not required. If the images were taken from a tripod, PTGui can 'link' the images, which causes the images in each bracketed set to be overlaid exactly.

If the images were taken hand held however, the link feature should be disabled, and PTGui will attempt to align the images within each bracketed set as well. In the darker exposures, the sky is exposed properly, while the lighter images are exposed for the foreground. PTGui has detected that the images are bracketed exposures because the exposure times follow a repeating pattern: Linked source images are treated as a single image: In this case however, the images were taken handheld and may not be aligned exactly.

The true HDR workflow first creates a high dynamic range panorama from our source images. Next, this HDR panorama is tone mapped into a regular low dynamic range image suitable for display or print.

On the other hand the Image Fusion workflow directly creates the tone mapped panorama from the bracketed source images, skipping the intermediate HDR panorama. We will show both workflows, starting with 'True HDR': After analyzing the images and generating control points, the panorama editor shows the aligned images.

Note that the panorama editor shows the warped source images, not yet merged to HDR. Since the bracketed exposures are stacked, only the topmost images are visible, in this case the ones with the longest exposure time. By switching the panorama editor to the 'Edit Individual Images' mode, the other images can be inspected using the numbered tabs. As output components, choose both 'HDR panorama' and 'Tone mapped panorama': Tone mapping settings can be adjusted in this window: The RAW file records the data straight from the camera's sensor, which needs to be demosaiced and processed further before it can be used.

Therefore RAW files should rather be seen as a digital 'negative' which first needs to be developed to get the actual image. This preserves the image quality and full dynamic range of the source images. Be sure to convert all source images in a panorama using the same settings, otherwise color or brightness differences may remain visible in the panorama.

These programs do not actually change the RAW file; instead they write the modifications to a so-called sidecar.

The sidecar file contains closed proprietary data and cannot be read by other software. Therefore, if you need to make changes to RAW file or need finer control over the conversion, use a dedicated raw converter and save the images to 16 bit TIFF format.

Finally, since all RAW files are different it's possible that dcraw does not yet support your camera. If you have access to a newer version of dcraw, it's possible to use this in PTGui by configuring the 'Location of the dcraw executable' field. PTGui uses the open source dcraw application for decoding raw files. See Supported Cameras on the dcraw web page for a list of cameras supported by dcraw. PTGui can only read raw files supported by dcraw.

If dcraw does not support your camera, use a dedicated raw converter to convert the images to 16 bit TIFF. What does 'Apply Template' do? This copies the settings of another project to the current project, except for the images and the control points. A template can be any PTGui project.

The template selection dialog will by default open in this folder. The 'Apply Template' button on the toolbar shows a drop down list of all templates in the configured template directory, for quick access. Templates can be useful for a quick initialization of a project lens settings, rough alignment of imagesalthough this is usually not necessary since the Project Assistant can figure out the alignment of the panorama by itself.

Another use for templates is when you have an exact reproducable setup high quality panoramic head with fixed angles. In this case you could copy all settings of a previous project and there would be no need for placing control points and optimizing.

By default, applying a template copies all settings from the template to the current project except for the source images and the control points. Apply Template does not copy the control points from the template. By default applying a template copies all settings from the template except for the actual source images and the control points see Q3.

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Control points are never copied since they are specific to the source images. For example a control point could originally point to the corner of a building in the template project, but in another project the same coordinates may be in the middle of plain blue sky.

In other words the control points are meaningless outside the context of the original images. If you just need a project to be stitched exactly like the template project, control points are not needed at all. Control points are only used by the optimizer to determine the best image parameters. The stitcher only uses the optimized image parameters and ignores the control points. Therefore it's sufficient to apply the template which copies the image parameters and proceed straight to Create Panorama without running the optimizer.

What kind of computer hardware do you recommend for use with PTGui? PTGui does not require any special hardware, even for stitching large panoramas. But if you're looking for high performance we recommend a PC with the following specifications: RAM is relatively cheap these days and data in RAM can be accessed at least x faster than data stored on disk.

Especially when stitching large gigapixel panoramas, using an SSD for temporary storage will give a huge reduction in stitching time. PTGui is multi threaded so it will run faster on processors having more cores. Currently, the following metadata is copied to the generated panorama: Original date and shooting date of the first image in the panorama Exposure data: Other EXIF data is currently not copied to the output file.

Can I stitch images from a shift lens with PTGui? First of all, you don't need a shift lens if you have PTGui! Shift lenses are often used for architectural photographs: Shift lenses compensate for this effect by shifting the optical axis of the lens relative to the center of the image plane.

The result is a photograph where parallel lines remain parallel. The same effect can be achieved in PTGui: Now drag the panorama upwards or downwards until parallel lines in the scene are parallel in the panorama. You may need to increase the vertical field of view using the slider to the right of the panorama. If you do want to stitch images taken with a shift lens in PTGui, change the following parameters: Switch to Advanced mode by pressing the Advanced button in the side bar In the Lens Settings tab, select 'Individual Shift Parameters' for all images for which the lens was shifted Run the optimizer by pressing F5 Regardless whether a shift lens is used, or the panorama was shifted in the Panorama Editor, you will end up with some black space below or above the panorama.

This can be removed by dragging yellow crop lines from the edges of the panorama in the panorama editor. The process is shown in detail in part two of our Video Tutorial. Where does PTGui store its settings? The configuration file for PTGui is: When moving a PTGui installation to a different computer, it's sufficient to move only this folder to the new computer.

What is HDR?

PTGui does not use the Windows registry. In particular for large panoramas, or on multi core computers, not the processor but the hard disk may be the speed limiting factor. Also, with a suitable graphics card much of the processing is offloaded to the GPU. If you are looking into increasing stitching speed, see Q3. After optimizing, PTGui shows me the average control point distance. What distance should I aim for? The control point distance indicates how well a control point pair aligns in the panorama.

When the distance is zero, the two points of a control point pair overlap exactly. One should aim for the lowest control point distance possible, but the actual lowest distance that can be achieved depends on many factors.

In general if your images were shot properly using a tripod with calibrated panorama head, a control point distance well below 5 should be achievable. Most remaining misalignments can usually be masked by the blender. An average distance higher than 5 usually indicates a problem, see Q5. It's particularly important to look at 'outliers': Use the 'Delete worst control points' function in the Control Points menu to remove such outlying control points. By default this is enabled if the control point generator has not yet been run for the project.

This allows you to quickly generate a panorama in batch: The batch stitcher generates control points and stitches the panorama in one go. After generating control points and aligning the images the batch stitcher overwrites the project file with the modified version. Since the Batch Stitcher will modify the project file, problems could occur if the project would remain opened at the same time in the main PTGui Pro window: For this reason, PTGui Pro will close the project after sending it to the batch stitcher if the Batch Stitcher is configured to modify the project.

This ensures that only one instance of the project is open. A warning message is shown before the project is closed but the warning is no longer shown if 'don't show this again' had been selected. In previous version of PTGui, a temporary copy of the project would be sent to the batch stitcher. This creates a copy of the current state of the project in a temporary file, which is sent to the batch stitcher for stitching.

When stitching has finished the temporary project file is deleted by the batch stitcher. PTGui asks me whether I would like to re-initialize the project. What does this mean? If PTGui fails to properly align your images, the following question may appear: Possibly the current misalignment of the images causes the optimizer to get stuck.

Re-initialization of the project may help in such a case. Would you like to re-initialize the project and try to optimize again? Then it will attempt to figure out the image positions from scratch and subsequently reoptimize the project. In particular in cases where the optimizer got stuck in a so-called local minimum such an initialization from scratch can be the solution. This function can be triggered manually using the Initialize and Optimize in the Project menu.

Can PTGui create those interactive photos where the camera is rotated around the object? These are commonly called 'Object Movies'; they cannot be created through stitching and therefore PTGui does not support this. A software package for creating object movies is Object2VR. The batch stitcher of PTGui Pro can not only stitch projects, but it can also set up a new panorama project by generating control points, aligning the images, etc. It will do so if instructed by the 'Do Align Images and save the modified project' checkbox in the Project Settings tab.

If the project or template is already set up completely and the panorama should only be stitched, make sure that the above checkbox is unchecked. No, PTGui will load the raw files as they came straight from the camera, any modifications are ignored. In Photoshop RAW files can be edited, but the changes are written to a 'side car' file with the. The settings in the side car file are specific to the algorithms used by Photoshop and cannot be used by other applications.