Status of the Panorama software niche

Discussion forum for Tawbaware's PTAssembler software, Helmut Dersch's Panorama Tools software and any other photography related software

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Steerpike
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Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by Steerpike » Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:42 pm

I was an early fan of PTA, using it to stitch panoramas as far back as 2003. I'm still interested in using it as a tool to achieve wide-angle shots that would be otherwise unattainable (from a typical lens), and I've dabbled in 360 degree stitches. I'm curious to hear what the current state of the market is - I see built-in 'panorama' features in various cameras/camera bundled software, Photoshop, etc. Is PTA and the underlying (PT stuff from Helmut D) still the best there is out there?

Specifically regarding 360 images (or any image that you want to view 'interactively' using a viewer - where the image is larger than the presentation window, and navigation (pan/tilt/zoom) is employed) - what is the current best approach, assuming a mainstream windows environment?

I'm ready to start getting back in the game after a 5+ year life-sucking career diversion ...

johnh
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by johnh » Mon Sep 05, 2011 3:32 am

Steerpike wrote:Specifically regarding 360 images (or any image that you want to view 'interactively' using a viewer - where the image is larger than the presentation window, and navigation (pan/tilt/zoom) is employed) - what is the current best approach, assuming a mainstream windows environment?
What is deemed the "best approach" very much depends on the priorities of the user. All of the Panorama Tools based stitchers are capable of excellent results, but their development has been persued along markedly different lines. The net result is that different users will find one or other product better suited to their particular requirements. For 360x180 interactive panoramas, PTGui can claim to be the generally preferred option. From the outset, its development has been driven by the needs of that particular sector of the panorama market. A glance at the latest statistics available for the World Wide Panorama events (http://timhatch.com/projects/wwp-equipment/) will show the overwhelming dominance of it in this particular field. Even so, this may not necessarily be the "best" product for users operating in a competitive commercial environment, where ease of use and processing efficiency may take priority over absolute quality of results. In short - it's horses for courses.

John

Terrywoodenpic
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by Terrywoodenpic » Mon Sep 05, 2011 11:42 am

From that the position of PTGui is unchallenged and becoming even more so.

It is interesting that there is a similar trend towards NN pano brackets . NN's were not available in the earliest years, but now they account for the majority of named brackets with 39, 37 were unknown and 36 were other brands.

These are all people who Have voted with real money for the software and bracket they prefer to use.

It looks like the choice in tripods depend on other factors rather than just pano making. It will be interesting to see how many people will use Poles in the future.

And in terms of lenses There is very little choice for many people. But those that can seem to prefer the Nikon 10.5
Terry

old decrepit and still taking photographs

Steerpike
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by Steerpike » Mon Sep 05, 2011 5:10 pm

johnh wrote:
Steerpike wrote:Specifically regarding 360 images (or any image that you want to view 'interactively' using a viewer - where the image is larger than the presentation window, and navigation (pan/tilt/zoom) is employed) - what is the current best approach, assuming a mainstream windows environment?
What is deemed the "best approach" very much depends on the priorities of the user. All of the Panorama Tools based stitchers are capable of excellent results, but their development has been persued along markedly different lines. The net result is that different users will find one or other product better suited to their particular requirements. For 360x180 interactive panoramas, PTGui can claim to be the generally preferred option. From the outset, its development has been driven by the needs of that particular sector of the panorama market. A glance at the latest statistics available for the World Wide Panorama events (http://timhatch.com/projects/wwp-equipment/) will show the overwhelming dominance of it in this particular field. Even so, this may not necessarily be the "best" product for users operating in a competitive commercial environment, where ease of use and processing efficiency may take priority over absolute quality of results. In short - it's horses for courses.

John
My overriding goal is to generate output that is accessible by complete non-technical users, and by that, typically, I mean, not requiring any end-user software installation on a mainstream windows platform. The whole java thing became a mess when M$ stopped bundling it; not sure if java is back on the stack, so to speak. Sadly, as much as I dislike 'flash' myself, it seems flash players are as ubiquitous as it gets.

Anyway - PTGui is the best tool for generating 360 interactive panoramas ... I'll take a look! What's the typical 'output' format / method of viewing for the resulting images?

johnh
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by johnh » Tue Sep 06, 2011 7:02 am

The typical workflow is to first generate an equirectangular format image, which is then fed into a generator that produces the files for viewing the panorama on the intended platform(s). There is no one universal format at present that works on all devices. Flash is the most popular, but HTML5 may be the future. Pano2VR, KRPano and Flash Panorama Player are the popular choices. Smart code can detect the capabilities of the viewing system and download the appropriate files automatically. PTGui can itself generate all the files necessary to display a panorama in a fairly basic fashion on a variety of systems. Here is one such example of mine that was generated with PTGui Pro, which you can try viewing on a PC, iPad etc:

http://www.johnhpanos.com/oldwardench-h ... rdench.htm

John

waters
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by waters » Tue Sep 06, 2011 1:13 pm

Terry raises the pole panorama question, which is a very interesting development. The technique is not especially difficult and also results in a panorama with a very small hole to patch. Also, the investment is less and it is easier to set up and may lead to more panoramas.
I use PTGui, but Max has invested a huge amount of time and brainpower into PTAssembler, so would like to acknowledge his contributions!

billp
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by billp » Wed Sep 07, 2011 10:22 pm

Considering the difference in price between PTA and PTgui Pro ($216 - an "indicative" price), I'll stick with PTA at the price I paid Max years ago.

(PTA is comparable to PTgui Pro, not PTgui)

cefoxtrot
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by cefoxtrot » Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:43 am

Steerpike wrote:I was an early fan of PTA, using it to stitch panoramas as far back as 2003. I'm still interested in using it as a tool to achieve wide-angle shots that would be otherwise unattainable (from a typical lens), and I've dabbled in 360 degree stitches. I'm curious to hear what the current state of the market is - I see built-in 'panorama' features in various cameras/camera bundled software, Photoshop, etc. Is PTA and the underlying (PT stuff from Helmut D) still the best there is out there?

Specifically regarding 360 images (or any image that you want to view 'interactively' using a viewer - where the image is larger than the presentation window, and navigation (pan/tilt/zoom) is employed) - what is the current best approach, assuming a mainstream windows environment?

I'm ready to start getting back in the game after a 5+ year life-sucking career diversion ...
Can you give an update on what software you decided on and what your experience with it has been? I am just starting to get into this panorama style of photography, so I am a total newbie. I intend to photograph the inside of large boats and offices, ending up with a 360 degree stitch. Any info you can supply would be greatly appreciated.

Cef

Steerpike
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by Steerpike » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:21 am

Well, work seems to still completely intrude on my life ... so I have not had a chance to pursue this. I will take a look at PT Gui when I get the time.

I'm impressed that the link above (from JohnH) worked perfectly on my windows 7 laptop, iPad, iPhone (but not my Nook color - an Android device :) ).

Does anyone know how Google are creating their 360 panoramas of street views? Obviously, they are as rough as nails, but - pretty darned impressive when you consider you can get a 360 view of some boring backstreet in anytown, USA !

johnh
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by johnh » Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:44 am

Steerpike wrote:I'm impressed that the link above (from JohnH) worked perfectly on my windows 7 laptop, iPad, iPhone (but not my Nook color - an Android device :) ).
Apparently the panoramas display correctly on some Android devices but not others. Flash is needed and not all implementations support it. I confess I had never heard of a Nook color, which I gather is an eBook reader.
Does anyone know how Google are creating their 360 panoramas of street views? Obviously, they are as rough as nails, but - pretty darned impressive when you consider you can get a 360 view of some boring backstreet in anytown, USA !
According to this report ( http://tinyurl.com/cfcmd8m), the street view "camera" carries nine directional cameras to capture the 360 degree views. No doubt the images are batch processed using a template for stitching, since the shooting configuration will remain fixed.

John

cefoxtrot
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by cefoxtrot » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:27 pm

johnh wrote:
Steerpike wrote:I'm impressed that the link above (from JohnH) worked perfectly on my windows 7 laptop, iPad, iPhone (but not my Nook color - an Android device :) ).
Apparently the panoramas display correctly on some Android devices but not others. Flash is needed and not all implementations support it. I confess I had never heard of a Nook color, which I gather is an eBook reader.
John
The Nook Color is an ereader from Barnes and Noble. With the latest Android update, to level 1.4, it has become a full fledged tablet. I'll try some panoramic views on it and report back.

Steerpike
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by Steerpike » Mon Dec 26, 2011 3:02 am

cefoxtrot wrote:
johnh wrote:
Steerpike wrote:I'm impressed that the link above (from JohnH) worked perfectly on my windows 7 laptop, iPad, iPhone (but not my Nook color - an Android device :) ).
Apparently the panoramas display correctly on some Android devices but not others. Flash is needed and not all implementations support it. I confess I had never heard of a Nook color, which I gather is an eBook reader.
John
The Nook Color is an ereader from Barnes and Noble. With the latest Android update, to level 1.4, it has become a full fledged tablet. I'll try some panoramic views on it and report back.
I just applied the latest update (1.4) and it was with that version I tested. The image appears, and starts to move, then freezes and the display turns to what looks like a 'progress bar'. Given the super-high quality of JohnH's sample, and the fact it does actually load and 'play' for a split second, I suspect this is a memory issue (but it did play on the iPhone 4s).

Steerpike
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by Steerpike » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:22 pm

Hello, me again :). I never did find the time back in 2011 to start pursuing this hobby again, but now, in 2017, I am seriously cutting back on work and have a specific project I want to pursue.

Sadly, the link from John H above is no longer live. Once again, I want to generate some 'large' images (that's the easy part - I know how to do that), and allow the viewer to pan/zoom around them (not 360x180, more like 180x100), and do so on phones and windows/mac PCs. Is html 5 now king? is PTGui still a good choice?

johnh
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by johnh » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:22 am

Steerpike wrote:Sadly, the link from John H above is no longer live.
The PTGui-generated panorama can be seen here: http://www.johnhpanos.com/temp/oldwarde ... rdench.htm

However, the PTGui "Publish to website" option is a very basic generator that lacks all the bells and whistles that most people will want. For my own website, I use the KRPano viewer, which produced this version:
http://www.johnhpanos.com/spherical/old ... warch.html
Once again, I want to generate some 'large' images (that's the easy part - I know how to do that), and allow the viewer to pan/zoom around them (not 360x180, more like 180x100), and do so on phones and windows/mac PCs. Is html 5 now king? is PTGui still a good choice?
QTVR has been defunct for quite a while now and html 5 is indeed the current favorite, with flash as a fallback. Pano2VR and KRPano both offer this, and there are others also available - some for gigapixel panoramas.

John

Steerpike
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Re: Status of the Panorama software niche

Post by Steerpike » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:49 am

Thanks for the info. So as I understand it, there are two key requirements for having a 'pan/tilt/zoom' experience; first, you must create your image, which requires you to stitch sources into an equirectangular projection; once you have that, you can then view it in a browser using a 'plug in' player.

The first step can be done with PTGUI, and it would seem also with KRPano and Pano2VR; and also, of course, with PTAssembler. The second step can be achieved with plugins supplied by PTGui, KRPano, and Pano2VR. PTGui can be bought for $87; PTGui pro for $198; KRPano for $129; Pano2VR for Euro99.

So if you are already comfortable with using PTAssembler for the first step (creating an equirectangular stitched image), you still need to shell out for the second step, and the decision then becomes, which offers the best player?

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