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Frequently Asked Questions
ImageAssembler 2

Select one of these help headings:

Frequently Asked questions about PanaVue ImageAssembler

  1. What flags are used for?

  2. Photos look "bumpy" after stitching, is it normal?

  3. I don't know the focal length of my lens and the equivalent film format for my digital camera. How do I set these parameters?

  4. How do I make QuickTime VR movies?

  5. Can I add hotspots on QuickTime movies?

  6. If I move a project from one directory to another, will PanaVue ImageAssembler still find related images?

  7. When I stitch multiple rows of panoramas in an "Image Stitching" project, I have difficulties to get a perfect stitch between the rows. How can I improve this?

  8. I cannot create VR panoramas with QuickTime?

  9. I cannot stitch my images because I run out of memory. How can I work around this?

  10. After installing ImageAssembler I cannot use any TWAIN devices, I get the message: "Source Manager not found"

  11. I want to save the images as jpeg, tiff, bmp or other image file formats, but all I can do is save in .vst format. What is this format, and how can I save the images in the usual image formats?

  12. How many pictures should I shoot to make a 360 panorama with my lens?

 


Q 1 -  What flags are used for?
R 1 - In manual mode, flags are used to show PanaVue ImageAssembler how you want photos or scanned images to be stitched (in the automatic mode the flags are not used, they are disabled). With your mouse, simply click and drag a flag to some common detail lying on the overlapping part of two consecutive images. While it is possible to zoom in on the images to precisely position flags at the pixel level, this is rarely needed since the Flag Assistant can do the fine tuning for you.

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Q 2 - Photos look "bumpy" after stitching, is it normal?
R 2 - This is what is called "warping", and a small amount of warping is essential if you want your photos to stitch perfectly. In a "Photo Stitching" project, warping is equivalent to projecting images inside a sphere.

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Q 3 - I don't know the focal length of my lens and the equivalent film format for my digital camera. How do I set these parameters?
R 3 - PanaVue ImageAssembler provides a very simple way to find these parameters. You can do this in a "Lens Wizard" project. Follow these instructions. Create a new "Lens Wizard" project and add 2 or 3 consecutive overlapping photos in it (as you normally do). Place all the flags with your mouse (the "Flag Assistant" will help you), and execute the project. At the end of the execution, PanaVue ImageAssembler shows you the resulting image and gives you the parameters it used to build that image. You can now save these parameters and use them in a "Photo Stitching" project to stitch all your images!

The focal length and distortion will always be the same for a particular lens, these parameters do not change, they belong to the lens. The tilt angle (i.e vertical angle) of the camera can obviously change from one group of photos to an other. You may read this angle directly on the tripod itself when you shoot a group of photos or run a "Lens Wizard" project to find it.

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Q 4 - How do I make QuickTime VR movies?
R 4 - Every rectangular image can be saved as a QuickTime VR panorama, as soon as it is wide enough with respect to its height. You simply save it and chose QuickTime .mov format in the "Save as" box. But to create a perfect looking QuickTime panorama, follow these two steps. First, use a "Photo Stitching" project to stitch the photos, save the result. Next, use a "360 degrees Wrapping" project to crop and wrap the outcome image from the first step. Save the result as a QuickTime VR panorama.

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Q 5 - Can I add hotspots on QuickTime movies?
R 5 - PanaVue ImageAssembler is specialized in stitching. While it can create QuickTime VR panoramas ready for publishing on the web, it cannot edit those QuickTime movies to add features on them.

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Q 6 - If I move a project from one directory to another, will PanaVue ImageAssembler still find its related images?
R 6 - As long as a project and its images lie in the same directory there is no problem you can move them around. When you open up an existing project, PanaVue ImageAssembler looks if the images are located where they are supposed to (according to the project). If it cannot find them, it then looks in the project's actual directory. If it finds the images there, PanaVue ImageAssembler updates the project with the new image path.

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Q 7 - When I stitch multiple rows of panoramas in an "Image Stitching" project, I have difficulties to get a perfect stitch between the rows. How can I improve this?
R 7 - As you have seen, stitching many rows of photos is a delicate task. To get the best results, we usually try to keep the optical center of the camera at the same location when doing a pan (rotating horizontally) or a tilt (rotating vertically). On a 32mm lens for example, the optical center is 32mm in front of the negative. The camera should rotate around the optical center. This is not an obligation, but it gives best results, especially when shooting indoor. You can find some brackets in the industry that go between the tripod and the camera and will do just that. You can even use playing clay for children and do it yourself.

The other solution is to use a wider angle lens, and to turn the camera 90 degrees to shoot in portrait mode (instead of landscape). Then only a single row might be sufficient.

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Q 8 -I cannot create VR panoramas with QuickTime?
R 8 - First, if you do not have the latest version of ImageAssembler, download the patch from our website. Next, check the help below corresponding to your specific version of QuickTime. Finally, take a look at the "Other reasons" paragraph below.

QuickTime 5 or 6
If you got QuickTime 5 or 6, to check that every component you need has been installed, please do the following.

In Windows' "Start" menu, go to the "Programs" submenu, click on "QuickTime", then on "QuickTime Updater". If there is an update available, you should install the update before continuing. You must be connected to the internet here because the updater will communicate with Apple website.

In the updater window, click on the "Custom" button. You will see a list of QuickTime components. Components non installed are marked as "Not Installed", do not get confused here because components followed by "No" in this box simply means that no update is necessary, but they are effectively installed on your machine.

You should have at least the following components installed on your machine in order to produce QTVR Panoramas: QuickTime VR (QuickTime 5 only), QuickTime Essentials, QuickTime Internet Extras, QuickTime Still Image, QuickTime Authoring. If some of these components are not installed, now is the right time to do it! Simply check the box and press "Update Now".

Other reasons
Here are some other reasons why you could not create a QuickTime:

  • Not enough free space on the hard disk where is located your "TEMP" folder.

  • The size ratio of the image is incorrect, image must be more wide than high (for example the width must be at least two times the height).

  • Too large image size. PanaVue ImageAssembler has the capacity to create images much bigger than what can handle QuickTime. You should try first to create QuickTimes from relatively small images, like images that are less than 1 MB when uncompressed.

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Q 9 - I cannot stitch my images because I run out of memory. How can I work around this?
Under the condition that sufficient memory is available, PanaVue ImageAssembler can usually stitch images up to a total size of 500MB, 600MB or sometimes even more on Windows NT/2000/XP, this maximum size is however lower on Windows 95/98/ME (around 250 to 300MB). This total is defined as the sum of the individual image files in an uncompressed format, and in 24-bit per pixel for color images, or 8-bit per pixel for grayscale images. For example, let say you have 4 images to stitch and each of them has a file size of 125MB in an uncompressed format and in 24-bit color, then (if enough memory resources are available on your computer) you should be able to stitch them because it sums up to 500MB.

PanaVue ImageAssembler use your operating system (Windows) memory. So, you should set Windows to have sufficient virtual memory. When stitching large images the software will internally use more than just the sum of individual images. Set the virtual memory to a high enough value. To stitch big images and take the most out of ImageAssembler, we suggest a value of at least 2 GB. Be sure there is at least 2 GB of free space on the hard disks used by Windows for storing memory (swapping)!

On Windows NT/2000/XP, you can set the  virtual memory in the Control Panel under "System", be sure enough free space is available on the hard disks you specify. Spreading the memory on many different physical disks increases performance. On Windows 95/98/ME, you do not have to change the virtual memory setting in Control Panel/System, however you must be sure there is sufficient free space on the disk where is installed Windows, because by default Windows will use this disk for storing virtual memory.

Note: If you run Windows 2000 Advanced server or Windows XP professional, you may set the /3GB switch in the boot.ini file. The next time you boot, 3GB instead of 2GB of virtual memory will be available to any of your application. This will increase the virtual memory available to ImageAssembler, thus increase the size of image you may stitch.

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Q 10 - After installing ImageAssembler I cannot use any TWAIN devices, I get the message: "Source Manager not found"
You might have this problem if you downloaded the trial version or retail version of PanaVue ImageAssembler 2.05 between December 21, 2000 and January 12, 2001. This problem will not happen on WIndows 2000. Here is the solution, you do not need to reinstall ImageAssembler:

PanaVue ImageAssembler installs only 4 files related to twain communication. We suggest that you manually delete those 4 files: twain.dll, twain_32.dll, twunk_16.exe, and twunk_32.exe. You will find these files in the "Windows" directory (this is the directory where Windows 95/98 is installed) . If for some reason, you also find them in the System directory, delete them also from there (System is a subdirectory of Windows directory).

Then you may reinstall your scanner driver. It will install its own version of Twain. If you prefer, you may install the latest Twain files from this location on the Twain organization website: http://www.twain.org/devfiles/dsm32bit.zip/twgbin.zip this should also fix the problem (unzip, then copy the 4 files in your "Windows" directory).

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Q 11 - I want to save the images as jpeg, tiff, bmp or other image file formats, but all I can do is save in .vst format. What is this format, and how can I save the images in the usual image formats? usual image formats? usual image formats?
ImageAssembler can open and save two types of files, "project files" in proprietary .vst format and "images files" in usual image file formats; jpeg, tiff, bmp, png, ...

Project files describe the project with its option settings and the filename of the images. Projects are saved as .vst files, but they do not contain any image, just their names, to be able to reach and open them.

Image files are standard bmp, jpeg, tiff, ..., formats. In order to save an individual image or the resulting image of a project, you can right click on it and then select "save image as" in the context menu, or you can press on the "Save Image" button on the upper toolbar (not to mix with the "Save Project" button), or the "Save Image As" item of the "File" menu. Any of these methods will give the same result.

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Q 12 - How many pictures should I shoot to make a 360 panorama with my lens?
Please refer to this chart.

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Tips and Tricks

No. 1 - In a "Lens Wizard" project, to ensure the parameters computed are accurate, try if possible to distribute the flags over the overlapping region, placing some closer to the image corners.

No. 2 - On resulting images, use the Sharpen item from the Images menu. Click on that item as many times as desired. If you sharpen too much, try the Unsharpen item from the same menu.

No. 3 - In manual mode, if you cannot find a good stitching point to place a marker, zoom the image to a zoom factor of 200%. It will be much easier to find such a point.

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No. 4 - To assemble a mosaic of photos (a mosaic is many rows and columns of photos), you should proceed in two steps. First, stitch photos by rows using a different "Photo Stitching" project for each row. Save the resulting images. Second, stitch all the resulting images from step one (e.g. the rows) together with an "Image Stitching" project. In this last project, set on the option "Source images are stitched images from a previous ImageAssembler Project".

No. 5 - When you want to stitch a mosaic of photos, for a faster and more efficient work, you can start many PanaVue ImageAssembler windows. One window for each row. In each window you can create a project and position the markers. When ready, start the execution of every window.

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