Stitching the Images

back to this Tutorials Main Page

Even though Photoshop offers some rudimentary panorama stitching function, I am using something way better. Here is what you need to download to get the job done:
Autopano - A software that automatically figures out how to align the images (extremely helpful to make the whole stitching job as painless as possible).
Enblend - Makes the images fit seamlessly without any manual effort.
We are going to use Enblend and Autopano as Plugins to PTAssembler, so don't worry if the websites confuse you with command line parameters. We are not going to use it this way.
PTAssembler - A graphical user interface for the fantastic Panorama Tools Library (a free mathematical library for Panoramas and Mosaics). Just follow the installation instructions on the Website of PTAssembler. PTAssembler is available as a 30-day fully functional Shareware. You should really chose to register the software as it is very inexpensive for its advanced functionality. There are free alternatives, like Hugin, but if you ever run into problems stitching an image (if Autopano has trouble with large skies or other rather featureless portions), you will quickly come to enjoy the ease of PTAssembler. Additionally Max updates his software very quickly.

Other commercial tools are very expensive (like Stitcher) or offer very limited functionality (like Panorama Factory - no TIFF, only single row). The advantage of doing it my way, is that you can run everything fully automated, but you can still have full control for fine tuning as you become more advanced.

Lets open up PTAssembler now and go to File->Preferences->Plugin.

Here you will tell PTAssembler the location of Autopano and Enblend. You may reduce the /size:1500 to /size:1000 for faster results. The enblend parameters are:

-v verbose
-a assemble non overlapping images prior to blend
-m 300 use this much memory
I am using 300 on my laptop (512MB ram) but I am using 2500 on my desktop (1GB ram).

Edit: Actually Windows can only manage 2GB per process, so you should set a number below 2GB or enblend fails to run.

Enblend heavily swaps files on your HDD if it needs more than the specified memory. In my laptop I only have 512MB and I do not want Windows to have to jump back and forth between the Windows Page File and Enblend Swap files. On the desktop computer, I have multiple HDD. They all have a portion of the Windows Swap File. Therefore I expect faster performance when using the Page File (hence I tell Enblend to use more RAM than I physically have).

Now open up PTAssembler. Here is what it will look like. Click the "Add" Button and load your 8-bit images. Autopano only supports 8-bit images, therefore we need to do this step.
Once the images are loaded, simply click the "Auto-Create" Button and watch how smart the software is.
A DOS window will open:

and Autopano will do its job. Then you will see a window like this:

We do not want to stitch the final panorama, since we want to make some more adjustments and use the 16-bit images, but we do want to see if Autopano worked (So we click on No). Now Panorama Tools will do some Work and then we get a preview of the final panorama:

Don't worry about the black borders, we are simply going to cut them away. We can see that Autopano found out what image goes where in the final image but we also see where the seams are (They won't show in the final image anymore, after the next steps).
Lets make some final adjustments:


PTAssembler Step 5 Adjustments

Since we are going to use Enblend, we set the Feather Parameter to 0 (don't forget this). As the Output Format we choose TIFF / Enblend. This will automatically start Enblend and blend your images (make the seams disappear). Now we click on Auto Size Parameters one more time and then go to Step 2 (see button).
We will see the Settings Window.
As Interpolator we choose either Sinc256 or Sinc1024 for best quality.
In case you skipped the RAW step and shot JPG, or if your camera does not support RAW, you may have ended up with different white balance settings across your images or even worse with different brightness levels.
Here you have the chance to fix some of this by using the Color/Brightness Corrections buttons (do a preview first to see if it worked - Step 5).
Now we are ready to go to 16-bit. Save the project.
(File->Save Project). Go to your windows explorer and replace the 8-bit images with your 16-bit images. Make sure they have the same file name.

Now go back to Step 5 (see Picture to the left) and simply click the create button.

I recommend getting a beer now as this will take some time.

After a while, you will find a large file xxx_enblend.tif in your output folder. This file looks just like the preview image. Crop away the black borders and you will have your final output (see left).
As you can see, there are no more seams visible in this stitched image.
Now you can do all your post processing you normally do on RAW converted images, like sharpen and color enhancements.
Finally lets convert the color profile to sRGB and save it as a jpg file. As you can see, the final output is about 73.2 Megapixels large. And all of this was done with a 8.2 Megapixel Camera. You can go much larger than this, although I find that for most applications (printing) it does not make much sense.

 

Go to Part 2 and see what to do with your images.

Thank you!

This tutorial is just what I was looking for! Thank you for outlining the steps in including Enblend in PTAssembler.

BTW, your Washington photos are killer!

Best,
Ben

another program..

saw the programs you work with.
I have been working with a commercial program called PTgui.
it's easy, automatic and great.
check it out.
if you want to see samples that I made with ptgui check out
http://www.flickr.com/photos/tremont/

laters

Roy

Temont

I think I tried both when I started but somehow I liked the user interface of PTAssembler better. If PTGui has a test version I will do a comparative study and post my results.

PTAssembler v3.5 betas

Have you looked to whether the PTAssembler v3.5 ( beta ) changes your workflow in any significant manner ??
The script files are more successfully exposed, so that may allow for alternative workflow.

btw: Please provide an example of the filenames you use for successful 8->16 bit substitution for the final processing. Are you editing the batch script ?? Or naming 16-bit .TIF files with .JPG extension ??

Coincidentally I just

Coincidentally I just downloaded 3.4 yesterday. I didn't know there was a 3.5 beta.
The most noticable difference is how PTA has matured.
I am still using the same workflow, but since Smartblend can handle 16-bit TIF and isn't limited by size anymore, I am using Smartblend instead of Enblend now (as the name suggests, it is smarter).
About replacing the files. I simply make a 16b directory, put the 16b files there and after I saved the project copy them from there in the main directory (overwriting the 8bits).
I could also write a perl script to just swap point the saved project file to the 16b directory, but I am too lazy (got too many things to do). If you have one, I'll put it up here.
Some time ago I changed my workflow to ProPhoto RGB. I explained a little bit of the reasons in my Workflow Tutorials (esp. Tutorial 4). During the preview, the pictures will now look rather dull (since most programs cannot handle ProPhotoRGB), but the stitching process does not affect the colors and when I load the file in Photoshop it looks just fine.

I find this program

I find this program perplexing. I did one photo (combo of two) and it worked amazingly - first time. But every time since them, it has produced the most bizarre results. I was hoping that this would be a fairly automatic process because I neither have much money or much technical skill. And after the first time I was estatic. But since then, I can't figure out what I am doing different.

Why don't you contact me

Why don't you contact me through the contact form. I will reply back and you can send me your project files. I will check them out for you. The program is amazingly simple and it really does all by itself, but you need to follow a few rules when you take the photos: Taking Pictures for Panorama Stitching One of the most important rules is to plan for sufficient overlap. There is no reason to blame the progam, it works like a charm. Send me the files and I will let you know whats wrong.

Sorry. I was the one that

Sorry. I was the one that posted on Dec 5 but suddenly had some more important personal issues to deal with. How can I send you the files and/or get in touch with you directly?

No problem

Just use the contact link (in the header of the website), to send me an email. I will reply back from my email account.
No need to apologize. We all have important issues to take care of.

PTAssembler homepage sample

Hi Andre,

Thank for this guide. Till I read it I did not manage to stich any images with the PTAssembler (v3.0).

However, I already have not got to stich the PTAssember homepage sample (http://www.tawbaware.com/ptasmblr_sample.zip). Is it not possible with the 3.0 version?

I will thank any clue...
(Please, copy the answer also to my email)

Thanks,

Agi
--

Stitching Tool

Hi all,

I want to ask about stitching images, is there any stitching tool that i can develop in Visual Studio 2008? i mean the stitching tool that have a SDK that i can use to develop in .Net. kindly please give me some advice is there is anyone know about it.

Thank you in advance for the help,

Thanks and Best Regards,

Michael

Hello Michael, I would try

Hello Michael,

I would try to contact the developer of Panorama Tools:
Helmut Dersch
but if I remember correctly, there was some patent dispute with RealViz some years ago, who had patented some of the routines and sued Helmut who pulled the plug on his tools for some time.

Andre

I am curious to know what is

I am curious to know what is the underlying software/programming language that the PTAssembler is built on.

You should go to the

You should go to the developer website and ask him directly. I don't know the answer.

YOU ARE WOME LADYS AND

YOU ARE WOME LADYS AND GENTELMENS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
graco duoglider

I think I tried both when I

I think I tried both when I started but somehow I liked the user interface of PTAssembler better. If PTGui has a test version I will do a nexium vs prilosec comparative study and post my results.

want to ask about stitching

want to ask about stitching images, is there any stitching tool that i can develop in Visual Studio 2008? i mean the stitching tool that have a SDK that Vicodin dosage i can use to develop in .Net. kindly please give me some advice is there is anyone know about it.

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