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Tutorial "How to batch process large volumes of panoramas"

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  • Tutorial "How to batch process large volumes of panoramas"

    Hello Forum,

    I often use batch processing for my panoramas to reduce the time needed to process large volumes of panoramas.
    I like to shoot my panoramas just like I shoot stills with a small point and shoot camera, click, click, etc. but I really dislike, or better hate, the huge amount of time it takes later to process all the panoramas so that is why I have developed a workflow in the last couple of years to reduce the amount of time I have to spend my life behind the box ;-)

    When I posted a link (*) to a series of batch processed panoramas that I shot at the PanoTools Meeting 2010 in Plymouth I got questions about my workflow. I then realised that a lot of people are struggling with the issue how to process large amounts of panoramas so that is why I wrote this tutorial.
    (*) see the link at the end of this tutorial.

    The tutorial is based on PTGui and a single row of images shot with a fisheye lens.
    If you are using another stitching application or shoot multi row panoramas then you can use the tutorial to get some ideas how to enhance your own workflow.

    ---------------------------------------------- begin of tutorial -------------------------------------------------

    1) Shoot your panoramas on a leveled tripod and a good rotator,

    2) Shoot more images then you normally would do (I shoot 6 images around for each pano while 4 around would be enough), when you use a zoom lens then shoot your images with the same zoom setting,

    3) Shoot an extra round in busy scenes (for the series of 33 panoramas I had to replace 2 panoramas with errors at the seems),

    4) Process the images the usual way (sharpness, brightness, CA removal, color fringing, etc, etc.) and put all images in a single folder.
    Make sure that the number of images in the folder is right and that all images are having a sequence number in the file name,

    5) Load the images of a single pano in PTGui, make sure that you pick a scene that contains high objects.
    In the Optimizer tab you enable the Advanced>> option.
    Add all CP's automatically and add manually as much as extra CP's as needed to optimize this pano as good as possible.
    Optimize for all lens parameters (v a b c d e) and for all image parameters (y p r), for y you set all images except the first image, link the roll and pitch for all images.
    (v=field of view, a b c=lens corrections, d e=lens shift, y=yaw, p=pitch, r=roll)

    6) When you are sure that the template is fine then:
    . switch off the optimize options for parameters a b c (keep v d e),
    . switch off the linking of all images for pameters pitch and roll,
    . switch off the optimize options p r for the first image (keep p r for all other images),
    . optional, when your lens has a fixed focal length and there was no change of temperature during the shoot of the series then it is safe to switch off optimizing for parameter v as well, otherwise and especially when you are using a zoomlens the v option must stay enabled,

    7) Enable in the Project Settings tab the next options:
    . Generate control points,
    . Optimize projects,
    . Do 'align images' and save the modified project,
    . Create the panorama,
    . but only if enough control points found,
    . optional, put "_batch" in the first project name field.

    8) In the Create Panorama tab you set all the usual output settings for size, interpolator.
    For the blender you set Smartblend.

    - - side step
    It is important that you choose Smartblend for blending.
    If you are on Mac OSX you first have to install Wine to make it possible to run Smartblend because this app is "windows only".
    Installing Wine is easy to do, on the PTGui forum you can find more info about it how to do this.
    Smartblend is important because this blender is capable to work around moving objects at the seems, to give Smartblend enough "playground" you need a large overlap of the images, that is why I shoot 6 instead of just 4 around.

    9) Save the template in the folder with all images and give it a name that makes clear what the purpose of it is (f.i. "base_template_for_batch_stitching.pts")

    10) Create the batch templates for the images with the Batch Builder of PTGui with the next options:
    . set Use current project as template,
    . Generate new projects (you then get a dialog box with some new options):
    . . set the option Multiple panoramas per folder with a fixed number of images,
    . . choose the folder with all images,
    . . set the proper number of images per pano.

    With the button Generate Projects you make the projects for all images, when this is done you get the option to send the templates to the Batch stitcher, accept this option.
    The Batch Stitcher will now load the images for the first pano, set the CP's, optimize the template, remove all bad CP's, optimize again, output the equirectangular and repeat this process for all other templates until all panoramas are created.

    As you can see it is not difficult to batch stitch large series ofpanoramas with PTGui.
    It is just as simple to batch convert the equirectangulars in Pano2VR to Flash, HTML5 or QTVR, just set all parameters and output the panoramas with the batch option you find in the menu of Pano2VR.
    Take a look at the fine video tutorials on the website of Pano2VR if you need more info how to do jthis.

    In case something is not clear about the workflow then just let me know by replying to this posting.

    ----------------------------------------------- end of tutorial --------------------------------------------------

    Here is a series of 33 panoramas (out of over 100) that are shot in the town Plymouth, the University and Dartmoor in August 2010, all panoramas are stitched in batch mode with PTGui and converted to panoramas in batch mode with Pano2VR.
    (Flash with redirect to HtmlCss3 for iPad and iPhone, Flash panos are large 3-9 mb)

    I shot the images with a Canon 5D, a Tokina 10-17mm zoom lens, a Nodal Ninja R1 lensring, a Feisol travel tripod, and a ZAPshot wireless remote control.
    The zoom of the lens was set at approx. 12,6mm (tilt 5 degree) and 15,8mm (tilt -15 degree).
    On my lens I have put some small markers for both zoom settings to make it easy to set the proper zoom setting.
    I batch processed the panoramas of both zoom settings seperately.

    If you see errors of any kind then probably the reason is that a few times I have forgotten to set the proper NPP and/or tilt settings of the Nodal Ninja R1 after changing the zoom of the Tokina 10-17mm lens...

    Please no copying/pasting of this tutorial on other forums, it makes it impossible for other people to read the replies, clarifications and updates, it is much better to post a link to the tutorial instead.

    Last edited by Wim.Koornneef; 07-17-2011, 10:00 PM. Reason: (*) Changed output from Flash only to Flash with HtmlCss3 redirect for iPad and iPhone, removed some typos.

  • #2
    Hello Wim,

    Thank you for sharing your techniques with us.
    Much appreciated as there always seems room for improvement.

    Best regards, Hugh.