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Autopano Pro, first light


ollypenrice
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This is a mosaic-making software package which I bought earlier in the week and have now tried out. So far it's done very well. It was described by Nik Szymanek in Astronomy Now.

Briefly, you load all the component panels into one half of the screen, ask it to 'Detect' the common ground between them, then you ask it to 'Render' an image which can be a 16 bit TIFF and save it in the directory of your choice. And that's it. It does it. You have an editing option which allows you to move the centre of curvature and crop the image, plus lots of other things I haven't explored yet.

My first attempt was with a 6 panel Ha mosaic in collaboration with Tom and Yves.  Autopano doesn't support greyscale files so I simply converted them to RGB for the duration of their occupancy of the programme. This seemed fine. The image in question was slightly tricky because parts of it are extremely faint and have around 15 hours of data, while other parts with not much going on are going to have to put up with 5 hours. You have to draw the line somewhere! I processed the panels and adjusted them by hand till they were fairly similar where they overlapped (though I could have spent a bit longer on this) and bunged them into the programme. In about a minute out popped a totally seamless mosaic, but there's a 'but...'

One small area of the mosaic, at just one area of overlap, was extremely short on contrast and flat looking. Perhaps I should have spent longer getting them calibrated to each other. However, the solution was dead simple. I used Registar to register an orignal panel covering the flat area to the mosaic and pasted in on as a Layer in Photoshop so that I could blend it in again. This took a couple of minutes and provided a perfect fix.

I also tried Autopano with the linear files but this didn't give a workable result. The background values were all over place.

Pixinsight will make mosaics at the linear stage but there is an issue with that as well. The 6 panel mosaic I made this time (which is really more like a 5 panel once cropped) occupies a 150 meg file and would take some processing all in one block. Still, you could crop it into three nicely overlapping sections and process them separately, I guess. But, as ever with PI, where are the darned instructions? I know Harry used some of my data for a tutorial on the earlier mosaic tool in PI but hasn't it changed since then and can't you register the componets to a sky map for perfect field curvature? Using full frame cameras to make mosaics means that the curvature issue is a big deal. A six panel can cover about 11 degrees by 5.

I have some free time coming up so I'll have a good look at PI mosaics. Sara sent me a 'How to' which I'll try to understand.

But Autopano combined with Registar look like doing a decent job together.

Olly

Edit; sorry, ignore the '.al' in the title. Don't know where that came from. Cat on the keyboard again, no doubt... :grin:

Edited by ollypenrice
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Sounds promising Olly - For me the killer would be having to get all the panes to the same levels before I started - I am very bad at that. The instructions I sent you for PI are very easy, even I can follow them and you know how much I love PI!!! I think that you can't beat being able to do everything at the linear stage.

My last mosiac didn't come out perfect though, there was some odd star stretching on the joins, but as you say, overlaying the original pane sorts out any issues! I don't know why I've only just discovered / thought of that on this last mosaic. 

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you should maybe try processing 2 panels at a time,render and save them to a folder,then proceed with next 2 and so on

then go to folder with rendered panels and get programme to stitch the rendered panels together?

i think that helps drop filesize when it does that,maybe enough to a size your processing app can handle

i use paintshop pro also to make a copy of an original dslr picture @5-6mb and saving the copy reduces it down to 2mb

i'm not a perfectionist by any means so i don't know if this degrades quality,to my eyes they look the same

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