blog added 15/12/2006

Realviz  this week released a long awaited update to their Stitcher Unlimited 5.5 panoramic software bringing up to version 5.5.2.

The most important changes in the stitching engine can be briefly described as follows:

- Stitcher now handles 3 lens distortion parameters, to account for deviations from the ideal lens model. This is particularly important when dealing with lenses such as the Nikkor 10.5. These parameters represent the coefficients of a fourth-order polynomial radial shift.

- Changed the feature matching strategy to ensure a better distribution of the produced point matches over the image, while focusing on the most significant matches.

- Improved the sub-pixel localization of the feature matches.


I wanted to test this version with one of my panoramas from my standard setup -  the Canon 5D and Canon 15mm FE lens. I have used this test set of images numerous times over the last few months to look at getting the best settings for my panoramas.

One of my previous blog pages covered the issue of enblend and smartblend not being able to blend the zenith and nadir files together correctly, this is an feature issue of these blending routines and nothing that can be fixed by changing their parameters. However, if your stitching pacakge is able to perfectly map the lens parameters and your camera is correctly at the nodal point, then blending package doesn't have to do much work and thus hopefully no stitching seams/errors would be appear.

So here are my results:

1. Results from Realviz Stitcher 5.5 - here a zenith seam appears, not matter what I did with the software I could not get this not to appear, I tried linear, morph, smart, external enblend and external smart blend with numerous changes of parameters. An easy fix in Adobe Photoshop but unwanted extra work.


(right click and choose open image in new window on these image to see larger version)

2. Realviz Stitcher 5.5.2 - render routine linear.

The zenith seam has gone !!! This is good news, but there is bad news, two new stitching errors appear as shown. Look at the blur due to the double overlap of the  glasses on the table. These would not be easy to correct.


(right click and choose open image in new window on these image to see larger version)

3. Realviz Stitcher 5.5.2 - render routine morph

The zenith seam has gone, but there is bad news again, two new stitching errors still appear as shown. These would not be easy to correct.


(right click and choose open image in new window on these image to see larger version)

4. Realviz Stitcher 5.5.2 - render routine smart

The zenith seam has gone, and the other errors too. This is it, at last a perfect stitch. Well done Realviz for sorting out the lens correction parameters.


(right click and choose open image in new window on these image to see larger version)

5. Realviz Stitcher 5.5.2 - render routine  external smart

The zenith seam has gone, and the other errors too. This is it, at last a perfect stitch. Well done Realviz for sorting out the lens correction parameters.


(right click and choose open image in new window on these image to see larger version)

Essentially there is no difference for MS Windows between smart and external smart results, but for Mac OS X users, the external is essential in your workflow the speed of the internal smart routine is very very slow, but the external smart blend is faster code and is also "universal" code and thus runs at native cpu speed on the intel computers and in this test reduced the smart render stage from over 20 mins to 5 mins. A big difference.

So at last Realviz Stitcher lives up to its billing at being able to handle fisheye lens.