Introduction. PTAssembler is a (Windows) panoramic image stitching
software program, able to create single and multi-row panoramic and high-resolution
"mosaic" images. As a software developer and photographer, I have been using
PTAssembler for several years to create my own
high resolution images. PTAssembler
is more complex than many popular "automagic" stitching programs. But, it is
much more powerful and flexible, giving the photographer unparalleled control over
the final result. The automagic programs often deliver "pretty good" results.
With PTAssembler, perfectly stitched panoramas can be created every time.
12 source images (6 images per row), before and after stitching
Overview of panorama creation using PTAssembler. Stitching images together
with PTAssembler gives you complete control over the process. You can choose to
"auto-create" a stitched image with little or no manual intervention.
Alternatively, you can choose a more manual approach to ensure the absolute highest
quality result. And, the two approaches can be also be combined.
PTAssembler can output a final image in JPEG, TIFF, PSD, PSB format,
or "layered" image file(s)
(PSD, PSB or multiple TIFF files) that allows the user to perform the final
blending between adjacent images manually. PTAssembler can also employ "blending"
plugin programs (Enblend, Smartblend, Multiblend) that use advanced blending techniques to
create seamless images under difficult conditions (changing light, moving subjects, etc.)
PTAssembler can also perform "image stacking", to create exposure-blended
and/or focus-blended panoramas (multiple images can be stacked to
create focus-blended and/or exposure-blended images, and these can be further
combined into a panorama). Here
are some examples. PTAssembler comes with its own Image Stacking program,
called TuFuse, but can optionally be configured to work
with others (Enfuse, CombineZM).
PTAssembler offers the ability to create panoramas using a wide range of
standard and exotic projections,
correction for exposure, whitebalance and vignetting problems in source images,
as well as the ability to stitch
images that were taken from different vantage points.
Screenshots. This screenshot shows PTAssembler's control point selection screen.
Many more screenshots can be found in the
on-line documentation and
This screenshot shows PTAssembler's internal viewer/editor screen.
How to create a Panorama with PTAssembler. The easiest way to create
a panorama with PTAssembler is to load the image, and use the "Auto-create" feature.
For more control, and to understand the manual features available within PTAssembler,
please refer to the on-line PTAssembler Tutorial.
Complete documentation is included with PTAssembler, but is also available
Features. As the author and frequent user of PTAssembler, my goal is to make
the process of creating a panoramic or stitched image as simple as possible, by
adding features such as the following:
- Autocreate a final panorama with little or no manual intervention, or retain complete manual control over all aspects of the panorama creation process.
- Support for all standard and a number of unique innovative output projection formats.
- Create seamless, blended output, or multi-layer Photoshop-compatible files.
- Built-in support for creating exposure-blended (i.e. HDR) and focus-blended panoramic images
- Support for numerous control point picker, image stacking, image blending and pre-processing plugins (e.g. Panomatic, Enblend, Smartblend, Enfuse, etc.).
- Graphical editing and adjustment of panorama via preview viewer.
- "wizard" to guide beginners through the process of manually creating a panorama.
- Ability to read EXIF data from JPEG and TIFF files.
- Built-in "auto-optimization" logic to determine best positioning of image files.
- "Auto-Align" feature to perfecly align a stack of images in preparation for exposure or focus blending/fusing.
- Batch processing -- run multiple projects in sequence.
- Work with 'linked' or 'unlinked' lens parameters for maximum flexibility.
- Drag and Drop interface.
- Most features are accessible via keyboard commands.
System Requirements. PTAssembler requires that the Visual Basic 6
runtime files be installed on your system. You almost certainly already have
these files on your computer, but if you get an error when starting PTAssembler you'll need to
install them (See the download section below).
Final Thoughts. At first, PTAssembler may appear to be a complex softare program.
However, when using the "auto-create" mode, the user can usually ignore most of the
advanced (i.e. complex) features available within PTAssembler and create excellent results
most of the time. But, for those who
require more manual control over the artistic process of panorama creation, PTAssembler
offers a wide range of features and capabilities not found in other programs.
As a user of (as well as the creator of) PTAssembler, my challenge to myself is
to achieve a balance between making PTAssembler (relatively) easy to understand
and operate, while at the same time allowing access to complete manual control
over the process, if wanted.
As easy as I've tried to make PTAssembler to use, sometimes we need a little
extra help! Luckily, there are many excellent resources on the web for help:
- The complete on-line documentation for PTAssembler.
- Complete description of all image projections offered by PTAssembler.
- Examples of creating exposure and focus blended panoramas with PTAssembler.
- Detailed information about Tufuse, PTAssembler's image stacking plugin program.
- On-line PTAssembler discussion forum.
- My own tutorial illustration manual operation of PTAssembler | French Language Version in PDF format.
- Joe Beda's introductory tutorial for PTAssembler, Getting Started with Digital Panoramas.
- Andre Gunther's brief tutorial on PTAssembler.
- Try a Google search.
Distribution Status. PTAssembler is shareware...meaning you are expected
to "register" it (i.e. pay a small amount) to purchase the program.
PTAssembler will operate for 30 days without restriction, but some features will be restricted
if not registered after 30 days.
You can purchase a license for PTAssembler on-line.
Special Offer on Panosaurus Panoramic Tripod Head. Registered users of PTAssembler are entitled to a
$20 discount on the price of a
Panosaurus Panoramic Tripod Head.
If you are serious about panoramic photography, the best single investment you
can make is a tripod with a panoramic head. Using a panoramic tripod head eliminates
all parallax errors from your images, which results in dramatically improved
stitched results. I've written a short review
of the Panosaurus, and I now use it for all my
panoramic images. If you decide to register PTAssembler or are already a
registered user of PTAssembler, click here to take
advantage of this offer.
Disclaimer. PTAssembler comes with no warranty and TawbaWare and
the author take no responsibility for
any damages caused by the use of this program.
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