panorama software,virtual tour software
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2005-05-03
#1

Anyone out there who uses Photomatix

Hi all

As a newbie in this forum I compliment all of you. I have read a lot of the topics and what a great forum. As I become more experienced at making panoramas I will try to take part of the debates.

I am considering using Photomatix from hdrsoft.com to improve my panoramas, especially those taken outdoors. I would ilke to know if any of you out there have any experience with Photomatix, and I would love to see some examples, and learn more about how you exactly use the software. One thing is what you read and see at www.hdrsoft.com and an other this is how it really works. I hope some of you can help me with this.

Best regards

 

Morten Andersen - WideEyes - a newbie trying to improve


Best regards

Morten Andersen
- a newbie trying to improve
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2005-05-04
#2

Someone might have mentioned it here before but not quiet sure.

It sure looks promising and simple to use

Perhaps you can get the free trail version and test it with their pics and with your own and see if u like it.

Do let us know what you think. 

 


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2005-05-04
#3

Hi, Morten,

I use Photomatix, and I am rather happy with it. Of the various methods the program offers, I think the HDRI + tonemapping gives the best results. I havent yet used Photomatix for outdoor panoramas, but did quite some indoor stuff. You can see some examples under the following link:

www.photoaround.de/waldschloesschen

Photographed with CP990, Fisheye adapter in F2 mode, 7-11 exposure steps for each shot, stitched with PTGui (Enblend and Autopano), denoised with NeatImage, HDRI + tonemapping with Photomatix Pro. It just did some tests with only 3-5 exposure steps per image, and this also seems to produce good results - with much less work :-).

Regards

Holger


Holger Schulz, photoaround
http://www.photoaround.de
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#4
I've used Photomatix Pro for a while now mainly for creating HDRI files for use in 3D rendering but also for some 2D work. With a little experimentation, I 've had excellent results. Despite being a long time PhotoShop user, I'm not that impressed with CS2's HDR ability.

I go with Holger's comments: definitely HDRI and tonemapping for internal shots. Regarding the number of exposures required: 3-5 exposures can be good but 5-9 *always* gives the best results in my experience.

Another option is Ulead's PhotoImpact. It has HDR functionality too and tends to give a "richer" feel to pictures. On the downside it has less features than Photomatix and sometimes gives poor results with images containing large aras of light colours i.e. beige. However, it's easy to use, very cheap and works well in most circumstances.

The biggest challenge with HDR is not moving the camera / tripod when making the exposure settings. :-)

Mark

Cheers,
Mark
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#5

Holger and Mark,

So if your doing 5 exposure and working with a 3 shot fisheye lens it would be

a total of 15 shots as follows:

exposure #1  and shoot 1,2,3

expsoure #2 and shoot 1,2,3

and so on.  is this correct?

Afterwards, you stitch 5 panoramas (exp 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5)

and then you blend them with photomatix. is this correct?

 

Also, how do you do it so that you don't move the tripod/camera

and so that when stitch them they all stitch the same and so when you blend them

they are all layered perfectly aligned?

 

 


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2005-05-04
#6

Hi, VT360,

I would shoot as follows:

shot 1, exposures -4 EV, -2 EV, 0, +2 EV, +4 EV

shot 2, exposures as above

shot 3, exposures as above.

Then you can stitch the 5 panoramas and blend them with Photomatix. Alternatively you can blend the individual shots with Photomatix before stitching the images created by Photomatix. The latter method is not suggested by Photomatix, but I did it successfully. PTGui with Enblend did have no problems leveling the exposure and tonal differences between the 5 tonemapped images.

If you do the photography as I suggest, then you dont have a problem with camera movement, as all shots to be blended are taken at exactly the same camera position. If you stitch first and then blend the 5 panoramas, you must use a stitcher which works with templates (like PTGui): Stitch your first panorama, save it as a PTGui project, then open your next set of pictures and apply the PTGui project file of the first panorama as a template. Do not optimize or set any control points when using the template.

Hope this helps

Holger

 


Holger Schulz, photoaround
http://www.photoaround.de
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#7

Holger,

Thanks for the details...it all makes perfect sense.


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2005-05-04
#8

I have some experience with Photomatx though not much. I just wanted to add that with a 6 shot DSLR pano, if you stitch before loading into Photomatix your gonna need a lot of RAM. For me with 512Mb I need to blend the individal shots in Photomatix first. It won't open two big pano files.

Glenn


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2005-05-05
#9
Hi VT 360,

EV's differ depending on situation: lots of contrast i.e. a panorama including a bright window looking out of a dark room and I'd bracket for 7 - 9 shots at least +/- 1.5. Less contrast I take less shots with smaller EV increments.

I currently use a remote release on my Canon 20D with Canon 15mm lens to take the exposures which reduces the chance of me knocking something. However, I've just started experimenting with software control using the excellent DSLR Remote Pro program from BreezeSys

(Honesty time: I know Chris Breeze personally and do support work for him occassionally so I'm a wee bit biased. )

DSLR Remote Pro requires a laptop connection too which complicates things on -site but, with a custom script controlling the Canon 20D via the software, I can press a button, sit back and the cameras takes 7 or 9 successive bracketed shots at EV intervals I specify without touching the camera. I also see full screen results immediately.

Until recently I've been HDR'g images in PhotoMatix prior to stitching but am experimenting currently with Realviz Stitcher to stitch one set of images then change image source directories to produce identically aligned panoramas from different sets, each taken at a different EV. I combine the resulting panorama images in either Photomatix or PhotoImpact. As Glenn said, this takes a lot of memory and strains my 2GB machine at times.

Hope this helps,
Mark
Cheers,
Mark
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2005-05-05
#10
BigGreen,  I appreciate the info. Will look into it.
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2005-05-06
#11

Hi all

I love all of your advice, I will try and experiment, and will give some feedback on my experience with outdoor panoramas.

 

Thank you so much

 

Best regards

Morten

 

p.s. ciconia your panoramas look really great.


Best regards

Morten Andersen
- a newbie trying to improve