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  #31  
Old 12-03-2011, 07:50 AM
BadAndy BadAndy is offline
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A few related notes...

I sent a donation to the author of VR5 and have found him to be very helpful and appreciative.

I haven't bought Pano2VR yet but probably will, or will hope the wife knows I want it. It is also supposed to produce iThingy output. Since I don't have an iThingy, can anyone tell me how Pano2VR's iThingy output compares to VR5?

And now that my workflow may be accumulating additional steps and software packages (until now just PTGUI, Photoshop CS2 and Canon Photo Pro), I'm thinking about trying to step up image quality a bit. I shoot with a Canon 20D which tends to yield soft panos because it's only 8MP and because Canon tends to be very conservative with sharpening. I'd like to make my output a little more crispy and professional.

So I'm thinking, I've always been impressed with CS2's Save For Web JPEG output quality and size. So why not have PTGUI produce cube faces in TIFF, optionally touch up nadir in Pano2VR, resize and sharpen the cubes in CS2, produce JPEG in CS2 (for presentation with VR5), then since supposedly Apple may not be supporting VR in QT for much longer, skip production of .MOV and feed those cube faces to FPP as well.

Any thoughts? Is there a better path to quality? Does FPP work better with cube faces or .MOV or does it not matter?

For those curious to see some of the panos:
http://bytebrothers.net/albums/panoramas

Refrain from commentary about the nadirs! :-)

Thanks,
B
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  #32  
Old 12-04-2011, 02:50 AM
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Trausti Hraunfjord Trausti Hraunfjord is offline
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Hi Andy.

The nadirs which I am not supposed to comment on... will be the first thing I comment on

Using PS and cubefaces, makes the nadir patching EXTREMELY simple and easy to do. CS2 can absolutely be used, but CS5 with "Content Aware" mostly does the job so well that no time is wasted (if the area surrounding the tripod is of the same material and not having patterns or different coloured/sized tiles or some such).

Did CS2 have the patch tool available? I don't remember... but am pretty sure it did... with that you should be able to do a good patching of the nadirs.

Some people use nadir caps, displaying their copyright information or avertisement for their services or with a client's logo... there are many ways to skin a cat as it is said, and skinning a nadir cap has many ways as well.

If you want to use a nadir cap, it can be done with a single click when using Flashificator (the GUI for FPP) as seen here: http://www.screenr.com/mBXs
The nadir cap application happens at time marker: 1:04

The nadir cap in the video was simply a crappy one I put for demonstration purposes... it could be ANYTHING you construct, and it could be any form you'd like.

I recommend using cubefaces. They are the fastest way to have a project to be ready... the mov files take extra time in parsing, but can show the loading process gradually (tiled)... which may lead people to be more patient about the downloading time... an issue that is still to be taken into consideration due to download speeds not being the same all around the world.

You might also want to check out Damir's www.iosvr.com there is a free version available for testing (fully functional, but with a "demo version" plastered over it. It is the best you can get.

Trausti
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  #33  
Old 12-04-2011, 05:42 AM
BadAndy BadAndy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trausti Hraunfjord View Post
The nadirs which I am not supposed to comment on... will be the first thing I comment on
Don't you mean "only thing"?

Anyone who wants to chime in on the workflow/quality issues, please do.

I have CS4 available to me, which according to a little Google-ing may have the Content Aware tool in it. CS5 is not in my budget at this time. I'm not aware of any patch tool in CS2 beyond the usual pattern stamping, etc. Until this moment I had no awareness that a Content Aware tool existed, thanks. Either way PS was not really in my normal workflow, which was generally DPP to process the Canon RAW to TIFF, then into PTGUI to .MOV to be wrapped in FPP. Only time I intervened with PS was to fix some tragic problem like schmutz on the CMOS.

When it comes to nadirs PTGUI really blows.

I appreciate the FFC plug but if I'm going to start patching my nadirs now I'm going to do it right in the cube faces so I don't have to worry about the forked presentation paths (PC, iCrap).

iosvr looks really nice but is in the same budget ledger column as CS5.

Interesting point about .MOV vs cubes re partial presentation during loading. But after considering that for a moment I present you the flip side of that argument. You have no idea how many times I've seen people start trying to click and drag while Flash was still showing the loading scale, then getting frustrated by the pokey response and the black holes. Maybe some finger twiddling time would be less annoying after all?

The bandwidth issues are a shame. I'm trying to limit most of my panos to about 5MB but to really look sweet it seems like I need to double that.
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  #34  
Old 12-04-2011, 09:55 AM
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Not the "only thing"... since I did also address the cube faces vs. mov files use.

iOSvr is only at $99 ... which is a far cry from the PS CS5 $999 (full) or $349 for the update version from PS CS2. ... and no, there is unfortunately no "Content Aware" feature in CS4.

Personally I use the following software... listed from camera to display:

1. Photoshop (converting from raw to tiff, fixing CA, colour cast and exposure issues if any.
2. PTgui pro for stitching (using smartblend as an additional aid ... can't be beaten by the other blenders.
3. Photoshop to fix anything that didn't go as planned in the stitching process. I do shoot 2 nadir shots from both sides of the tripod position, so I don't have to worry about nadir patching. Additionally I can use Photoshop plugins such as the ones available from Topaz, to enhance the appearance of the equirecatangular image.
4. PTgui for converting the equi to cube faces.
5. Flashificator (FPP) for producing the tour in seconds or ... how long it may take.

Different projects can have different needs, other software can be used for different results, but this is my basic workflow.

You say that your panos are around 5 mb ... you might want to check out the pano projects made by Terry Montague, some of which are found here:

http://flashificator.com/

Under "Advanced Tour Examples #1 #2 #3"

Those panos are in extremely good quality, and do not exceed 5 -6 mb each. If you do things "right" (what is right... is a very floating interpretation), you should be able to get your panos to be much smaller in size, and still contain the same visual quality you have today.

I use PS and PTgui to get the sizes I need/want.

And as to FFC being a plugin... more accurate it would be to say that FPP was a plugin for FFC ... but that's just word gaming. With FFC you can do so much more, so much faster, and not only drop in a nadir cap

The first thing I would recommend you, is to update your projects to the Flash 10 optimized pano.swf engine. The Flash 9 version bends straight lines, and the few panos I checked on your site, were all using the Flash 9 version. Since you have access to the update section of the forums it should be a quick fix.

Hopefully this is of some help.

Trausti
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  #35  
Old 12-04-2011, 10:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trausti Hraunfjord View Post

1. Photoshop (converting from raw to tiff, fixing CA, colour cast and exposure issues if any.
2. PTgui pro for stitching (using smartblend as an additional aid ... can't be beaten by the other blenders.
3. Photoshop to fix anything that didn't go as planned in the stitching process. I do shoot 2 nadir shots from both sides of the tripod position, so I don't have to worry about nadir patching. Additionally I can use Photoshop plugins such as the ones available from Topaz, to enhance the appearance of the equirecatangular image.
4. PTgui for converting the equi to cube faces.
5. Flashificator (FPP) for producing the tour in seconds or ... how long it may take.
Trausti
As for me:
1. Canon Digital Photo Professional for RAW to TIFF 16bit processing
2. PTgui Pro for HDR panoramas stitching
3. Photomatix or HDR Expose for HDR panorama creating
4. Photoshop for finalizing the image (retouching, colors etc...)
5. Pano2QTVR for converting to cube faces
6. Photoshop for retouching nadir cube face
7. FPP (+FFC) for producing VT
8. Pano2QTVR for producing equirectangular image back from cube faces (or .mov file if I need)

As U see, I use Pano2QTVR, (which is for free) 2 times, therefore I recommend it
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  #36  
Old 12-04-2011, 10:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadAndy View Post
Thanks for chiming in with that. Why PANO2QTVR instead of PANO2VR? The product's web page makes it look as if .MOV is only supported as output, not input format. Or do I conclude incorrectly?

FYI the web site says it is no longer directly available and you have to email them to buy a key, but v1.6.6 can still be downloaded from CNET.

PANO2VR does look to be a very useful product. It looks like it will also give me more control over cube face output than does PTGUI. As well, PANO2VR can help me do things like nadir patching, which even after all these years of development seems unnecessarily difficult to do on PTGUI, resulting in many panos which make my choice of tripod rather obvious.

??? It is still downloable there:
http://gardengnomesoftware.com/pano2qtvr_download.php

And yes, as I wrote in previous post, I use this one for creating .mov or cube faces, or even equirectangular images back from retouched (nadir image too) cube faces!
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  #37  
Old 12-04-2011, 06:03 PM
BadAndy BadAndy is offline
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Originally Posted by Virtualguide View Post
Thanks Igor, that was very weird. I went from the home page to the Pano2QTVR page, followed the link at the bottom for Features, then hit the license page link at the top ("if you like to try or buy..."), and found:

http://gardengnomesoftware.com/pano2qtvr_license.php

That looked like a dead end to me. Thanks for correcting me on the link and also correcting me on the free product's capabilities and for explaining your work flow.

@Trausti, I didn't say FFC was a plug-in. Sorry for the misunderstanding. Divided by a common language, we are! One can plug a drain, in which case you need acid or a pipe snake, or one can plug a product which means advertising subtly, sort of like the lead actor in a movie holding up a bottle of Coca-Cola(tm) with the label facing the camera unobscured while the actor expresses great satisfaction.

By the way, the layout of the demo links on flashificator.com are a bit misleading. If I were not paying attention I might have missed #2 and #3. Oh, and the animated patches in the panos are very cool!

Which Topaz filters do you prefer in particular? Any more thoughts on the floating interpretations? CS5 will have to wait.

How can you tell which pano.swf I'm using? I'm fairly certain I have 2.3.1 uploaded to my web site. I see a few versions floating around here. FPP_Complete has an 18KB pano.swf dated 3/1/2009 under "New version 2.3.1" and one 15KB pano.swf and one 18KB pano2.3.1.swf dated 6/25/2010 under "For Flashificator Users". I don't see any pano.swf in the FPP24 archive. It appears I am using the 15K 6/25/2010 file right now.

I find iOSvr's domain lock-down annoying. Not insurmountable but annoying.
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  #38  
Old 12-04-2011, 06:59 PM
BadAndy BadAndy is offline
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BTW I watched a Youtube video about the Content Aware tool and all I can say is "wow" and "that's creepy"...

[EDIT] and getting impossibly tempting since I started trying to patch nadirs and since I spotted some CMOS schmutz on one of my more important panos. Speaking of which, I'm making some very noticable headway on quality vs size.

4.9 MB MOV (10008x5004) in FPP, around 80% quality from PTGUI:
http://rebekahcourt.dyndns-ip.com/al...fview-2011.htm

2.8 MB of 3186x3186px cubes in FPP, medium quality JPGs from CS2 save for web after some light sharpening and curve touch-up:
http://rebekahcourt.dyndns-ip.com/al...s/rooftest.htm

Last edited by BadAndy; 12-05-2011 at 07:56 AM.
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  #39  
Old 12-05-2011, 08:27 PM
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I just uploaded the latest pano.swf file to the update section where you can download it from.

Here you can see the difference between Flash 9 and Flash 10 pano.swf renderings:

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  #40  
Old 12-05-2011, 10:20 PM
BadAndy BadAndy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trausti Hraunfjord View Post
I just uploaded the latest pano.swf file to the update section where you can download it from. Here you can see the difference between Flash 9 and Flash 10 pano.swf renderings:
Wow, never noticed such bendy mess. Thanks, I've uploaded the new pano.swf so things should look better now.
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