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Stitch 360 sphere with raw images, and clear skies
3217 23 2022-12-29
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Luggruff
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Hi!

I tried taking a phosphere the other day and the output image from the drone was good, albeit it is a JPEG which means I cannot do any meaningful edits to it.

Trying to stitch the images together myself, 10 images were unusable to both Adobe Lightroom and PTGUI, as they were of a clear sky without any reference points. In PTGUI you can define points between two images, although due to the angles of the shots and the fact that the sky was clear etc. there is no way for me to say what point of the image is related to another one.

Is there maybe another approach I can use in these situations? I mean, the DJI fly app clearly knows which image belongs where, and what position it should be stitched to. Is this a part of the metadata somehow or..? It is kinda mind boggling that I cannot seem to find any software that can figure this out, or that the fly app cannot produce a DNG version instead, so we don't have to go through such endless hoops just to get a final image that is actually usable. I don't know, but a JPEG for me goes right into the trash (also bothers me that I cannot turn of JPEG images and ONLY save RAW files).
2022-12-29
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DAFlys
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Check out this thread -

https://forum.dji.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=261205
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Luggruff
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Tried it now. Unfortunately the software will not run on my machine (Windows 11, i7-12700K, GTX 1660 TI, 32GB RAM). It just opens and closes when monitoring the details in task manager (with or without opening as administrator). Seems that one of the latest comments on the thread has the same issue.

Also tried Microsoft Image Composite Editor suggested by another user there, and it "looks fine" but it surely is not, as it has only used 25 out of 35 images, which means it struggles in the same way as the other software. Also it only produces a composite of 5120 x 1817 pixels, which is hardly enough.

2022-12-29
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gnirtS
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In PTGUI you can save a json template from a good pano to use as a reference of overlap.

In other words, make a 360 that actually does stitch and use that as a template for the clear sky one and it'll use the same overlap locations even without any control point matches.
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cmarines
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When I have a clear sky without reference points, I am using a generic pano sky and stich it with Photoshop. See some of my 360 sphere, you will notice the sky is the same on several.  https://www.360cities.net/profile/criro1999
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Luggruff
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gnirtS Posted at 12-29 05:26
In PTGUI you can save a json template from a good pano to use as a reference of overlap.

In other words, make a 360 that actually does stitch and use that as a template for the clear sky one and it'll use the same overlap locations even without any control point matches.

Cool! Then I will try to make a good one (captured one with a lot of sky yesterday, albeit I still had to manually add points for about 10 pictures) and see. Still the software is 175 dollars which is a bit steep for what now seems like a maybe, and then also this one purpose. Since DJI already knows how it should be stitched, as they do with the JPEG, they really should add an update which does the same, for the RAW output so that we have something worthy of editing. Either that, or start some collaboration with Adobe for example, at least. I can't even select lens profiles in Lightroom for the model.
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Luggruff
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cmarines Posted at 12-29 05:41
When I have a clear sky without reference points, I am using a generic pano sky and stich it with Photoshop. See some of my 360 sphere, you will notice the sky is the same on several.  https://www.360cities.net/profile/criro1999

Cool mate! How do you go about it though? PTGui? Lightroom? Photoshop? I captured a new one yesterday with skies and detail in all shots, and no matter which option and combination of options I choose in Lightroom or Photoshop, the results are nowhere near the output of the drone JPG. They are morphed in a completely different way. With PTGui I still have to select so many manual reference points between images..

Would be really interested to know your workflow for this specific drone (the other models like mini 2 or mini 1 do not have the same angle so it is hard to say that you can just apply the same workflow).

I was a bit shocked that nobody has come out with a good tutorial yet for this that produces a raw composite after about a year of being on the market. Especially without using software that is not common to have (unlike Lightroom and Photoshop).
2022-12-30
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primeshooter
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Be interested to hear if you get a solution. I would say though, that these photosphere things are. A bit gimmicky. Seen one etc, but occasionally could work perhaps.
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Luggruff
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primeshooter Posted at 12-30 03:22
Be interested to hear if you get a solution. I would say though, that these photosphere things are. A bit gimmicky. Seen one etc, but occasionally could work perhaps.

For sure! If we cannot get DJI to produce a RAW output from the get-go, then at least the aim should be to find a consistent way to stitch, that others can apply too. If not, we are just stuck with an oversold feature that in the end has little value (sure, OK quality for Google Maps etc. but that is now. A few years down the line, the image will be so small that it is not possible to view it, as resolutions and pixel density goes up with new monitors). There are not too many differences between the spheres taken each time/for each drone (slight wind condition variations, but I do not believe they would matter too much), so it should be possible to find a way I would like to belive.

As for the use case. Well it depends on the use case of course. My intention is to upload to Google Maps for example, and there it is always nice to be able to look around and get the feel of a place, rather than being limited to someone's photo with limited angles and unknown specifications (focal length, distance, shooting spot and number of shots/angles of the place). To be honest, I see no other use case myself, as I do not find the ones you can post on social media are good to watch, especially considering how much they compress the quality of the image.
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SPLflyer
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Luggruff Posted at 12-30 03:46
For sure! If we cannot get DJI to produce a RAW output from the get-go, then at least the aim should be to find a consistent way to stitch, that others can apply too. If not, we are just stuck with an oversold feature that in the end has little value (sure, OK quality for Google Maps etc. but that is now. A few years down the line, the image will be so small that it is not possible to view it, as resolutions and pixel density goes up with new monitors). There are not too many differences between the spheres taken each time/for each drone (slight wind condition variations, but I do not believe they would matter too much), so it should be possible to find a way I would like to belive.

As for the use case. Well it depends on the use case of course. My intention is to upload to Google Maps for example, and there it is always nice to be able to look around and get the feel of a place, rather than being limited to someone's photo with limited angles and unknown specifications (focal length, distance, shooting spot and number of shots/angles of the place). To be honest, I see no other use case myself, as I do not find the ones you can post on social media are good to watch, especially considering how much they compress the quality of the image.

https://forum.dji.com/forum.php? ... 0&page=1#pid2811645
https://forum.dji.com/forum.php? ... 8&page=1#pid2815483
https://forum.dji.com/forum.php? ... =270023&pid=2825031
https://forum.dji.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=272033
https://forum.dji.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=272144
https://forum.dji.com/forum.php? ... =272303&pid=2834611
https://forum.dji.com/forum.php?mod=viewthread&tid=274412
https://forum.dji.com/forum.php? ... =281528&pid=2932598

It can be quite helpful to use the search function, because almost all questions asked here have already been dealt with in earlier threads and comments. Including various help and solutions. The main requirement for proper stitching is the use of a suitable (inexpensive) program like PanoramaStudio 3 Pro (not: expensive, but complicated and limited ones like PTGui) with the possibility to evaluate the position information contained in the images. Then you don't need to limit yourself to a uniform sky for different panos.

What is possible with a little practice, you can perhaps see here under a small selection of my panoramas: https://www.skypixel.com/users/b ... 9-9c56-3f0497cdf4e2


Testpano_1.jpg
2022-12-30
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cmarines
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Luggruff Posted at 12-30 02:38
Cool mate! How do you go about it though? PTGui? Lightroom? Photoshop? I captured a new one yesterday with skies and detail in all shots, and no matter which option and combination of options I choose in Lightroom or Photoshop, the results are nowhere near the output of the drone JPG. They are morphed in a completely different way. With PTGui I still have to select so many manual reference points between images..

Would be really interested to know your workflow for this specific drone (the other models like mini 2 or mini 1 do not have the same angle so it is hard to say that you can just apply the same workflow).

Stich photos with PTGui as usual. Ignore he current sky. Generates the 360 pano. Then check on web a 360 Pano generic sky (without watermark) JPG, there are plenty. With Photoshop, add the new generic sky on top of your 360 pano, check the horizon alignment. Then shift the generic sky left-right (with Photoshop) to make sure you align the sun position (from generic sky) with the shadow from your real Pano. You can check a zenith sky and make adjustment.
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Luggruff
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cmarines Posted at 12-30 05:33
Stich photos with PTGui as usual. Ignore he current sky. Generates the 360 pano. Then check on web a 360 Pano generic sky (without watermark) JPG, there are plenty. With Photoshop, add the new generic sky on top of your 360 pano, check the horizon alignment. Then shift the generic sky left-right (with Photoshop) to make sure you align the sun position (from generic sky) with the shadow from your real Pano. You can check a zenith sky and make adjustment.

Aight, thanks! Does not seem like I can export as RAW from PTgui, would that be right? Basic light and color is easy before importing to PTGui if I save as JPEG first, although more advanced editing like masking of specific areas etc would be harder before the stitching, and destructive after, if saved as a flat image.
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Luggruff
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SPLflyer Posted at 12-30 04:13
https://forum.dji.com/forum.php? ... 0&page=1#pid2811645
https://forum.dji.com/forum.php? ... 8&page=1#pid2815483
https://forum.dji.com/forum.php? ... =270023&pid=2825031
[Image]

Thank you for that! You should make a collection of these pieces of information somewhere, really.

I spent about 4 days of searching before posting this. I may jave stumbled upon some of it during the searches, although, also a lot of other stuff. So things easily gets lost in the information overload, and overload of irrelevant information needing filtering.

Will definitely try out the software tou suggested (answering on mobile so cannot see the name now, and forgot). Still, it would be fantastic if DJI could offer a raw image stitched (for people that may not need the full control, and that can live with some minor errors as I see you mentioned happens in their jpg's). Or, of course, collaborate with other software companies to help them create solutions tailored better to their drones output of images (order of images for example).

EDIT: Just tried the software now (PanoramaStudio Pro). Seems to work wonders! There is still the hole in the sky, which is fine. There is also a hole in the bottom though, and everything around it seems heavily morphed (much harder to fix). Any suggestions? Maybe you mentioned it in another thread?
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Ms Ivy
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I stitch all my sphere and pano's within the DJI fly-app album for the best results,  and then export them to my google pixal phone that has a VR 360 app on it for viewing 3d panos
Pixal Phones can't be beat when working with RAW VR and HDR images

For posting 360 pano's & Sphere images YouTube has a great option for doing so. if you want to share the experience with your friends  
just my 2 cents

https://vr.youtube.com/
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SPLflyer
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»There is also a hole in the bottom though, and everything around it seems heavily morphed (much harder to fix).«

Normally, after the complete import of the 35 images, there should be no hole in the nadir, because the drone takes a vertical photo downwards. With PS3P it depends very much on the choice of the parameters. To make it easier for you, I have attached below the correctly configured parameter file "PanoramaStudio.INI" (Attention: rename from "ZIP" to "INI" after download!!!). Replace this file with the current parameter file in "C:\Users\User\AppData\Roaming\tshsoft\PanoramaStudio3Pro\PanoramaStudio.INI". PanoramaStudio is then set in a correct way.

When starting the program, of course, be sure to select "Create multi-row panorama" and after importing the 35 DNGs (or 36, if a vertical shot is included!) before the "Align" necessarily click once on "Parameters" and confirm with "OK"! After the "Align" you can still correct slight coverage errors (horizon etc.) under "Edit" with "Change Image Alignment...)". Before rendering, be sure to press the button "360°x180°" (if there is still a hole in the sky!).

Now the panorama should be calculated correctly including a complete ground. As already mentioned, the hole in the sky can also be avoided by an initial vertical shot. How this works, I have described roughly here: https://forum.dji.com/forum.php? ... =281528&pid=2932305 . Just try it out. This vertical shot should then ideally coincide with shot No. 4 in PS3P!

Good luck!

Attention: Rename ZIP to INI!

PanoramaStudio.ZIP

4.17 KB, Down times: 21

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Luggruff
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SPLflyer Posted at 12-30 14:06
»There is also a hole in the bottom though, and everything around it seems heavily morphed (much harder to fix).«

Normally, after the complete import of the 35 images, there should be no hole in the nadir, because the drone takes a vertical photo downwards. With PS3P it depends very much on the choice of the parameters. To make it easier for you, I have attached below the correctly configured parameter file "PanoramaStudio.INI" (Attention: rename from "ZIP" to "INI" after download!!!). Replace this file with the current parameter file in "C:\Users\User\AppData\Roaming\tshsoft\PanoramaStudio3Pro\PanoramaStudio.INI". PanoramaStudio is then set in a correct way.

Brilliant, will try it out tomorrow after some new pictures.

You seem to have this locked down very well, and it would be brilliant to have a collective post somewhere, maybe even a YouTube video. I don't think it exists anywhere as of now (well, for the Mini 3 Pro at least), so I am sure it would help a lot of people find the joy of using it to its full potential - and maybe some to find an undiscovered interest (:
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Luggruff
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SPLflyer Posted at 12-30 14:06
»There is also a hole in the bottom though, and everything around it seems heavily morphed (much harder to fix).«

Normally, after the complete import of the 35 images, there should be no hole in the nadir, because the drone takes a vertical photo downwards. With PS3P it depends very much on the choice of the parameters. To make it easier for you, I have attached below the correctly configured parameter file "PanoramaStudio.INI" (Attention: rename from "ZIP" to "INI" after download!!!). Replace this file with the current parameter file in "C:\Users\User\AppData\Roaming\tshsoft\PanoramaStudio3Pro\PanoramaStudio.INI". PanoramaStudio is then set in a correct way.

Tried it last night with an existing one and quick edit of the lighting (bad exposure to begin with) and the software I used to preview it still gave a nadir in the top and bottom, so I decided to upload and see on Skypixel - which did display it correctly. It seems that it might mainly have been the software I used that simply displayed it wrong:


2022-12-31
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SPLflyer
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Luggruff Posted at 12-31 03:15
Tried it last night with an existing one and quick edit of the lighting (bad exposure to begin with) and the software I used to preview it still gave a nadir in the top and bottom, so I decided to upload and see on Skypixel - which did display it correctly. It seems that it might mainly have been the software I used that simply displayed it wrong:

https://www.skypixel.com/photo360s/new-panorama1-e2703bf3-25c1-4eee-96bc-abd8df008912?utm_source=copied&utm_medium=PCWeb&utm_campaign=share&sp=0

Congratulations! Now a little preparation in DxO PureRaw and a little finishing in Photoshop, Affinity, Luminar, Topaz Sharpening AI and others (white balance, retouching, general enhancement etc.) and the result is perfect. Except for the annoying watermark, of course ;-).

By the way, a very good and slim Equirectangular viewer is the freeware program "FSPViewer", which displays both the fast DJI JPGs and the gigabyte heavy TIFFs of the stitcher without errors.
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gnirtS
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Luggruff Posted at 12-30 08:02
Aight, thanks! Does not seem like I can export as RAW from PTgui, would that be right? Basic light and color is easy before importing to PTGui if I save as JPEG first, although more advanced editing like masking of specific areas etc would be harder before the stitching, and destructive after, if saved as a flat image.

PTGUI cant save out as a raw literally because its an image.  A RAW file isn't an image.
The second any merging or processing takes place to produce a visible image you no longer have a RAW to export.

It can save as uncompressed TIFF or as PSD for layers.

Recommended workflow is basic edits > import into PTGUI as a TIFF file > export as TIFF/PSD for finishing.

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SPLflyer
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gnirtS Posted at 12-31 04:51
PTGUI cant save out as a raw literally because its an image.  A RAW file isn't an image.
The second any merging or processing takes place to produce a visible image you no longer have a RAW to export.

Unlike PTGui (and most other image-processing programs), DxO with PureRaw and PhotoLab can do just that: re-export developed DJI RAWs as DNG RAWs. Which can then be fed as high-quality, denoised and rectified raw data to stitchers that can handle DNGs. Unfortunately only in 8 bit, because DJI records these data also only in 8 bit. At least it is possible to export a 16 bit Tiff Pano in PanoramaStudio 3 Pro, which can be further processed almost lossless. I don't know if PTGui can do the same. And I don't need to know, because PS3P gives me at least the same (if not better) result for half the price ;o).
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Ranjan
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SPLflyer Posted at 2022-12-31 09:35
Unlike PTGui (and most other image-processing programs), DxO with PureRaw and PhotoLab can do just that: re-export developed DJI RAWs as DNG RAWs. Which can then be fed as high-quality, denoised and rectified raw data to stitchers that can handle DNGs. Unfortunately only in 8 bit, because DJI records these data also only in 8 bit. At least it is possible to export a 16 bit Tiff Pano in PanoramaStudio 3 Pro, which can be further processed almost lossless. I don't know if PTGui can do the same. And I don't need to know, because PS3P gives me at least the same (if not better) result for half the price ;o).

Based on your advice I tried stitching DNG raw processed with DXO photolab & it produces 16bit DNG which PanoramaStudio Pro stitches quite well & output to 16bit tiff files which are around 1gb each.

So I don't understand when you said "Unfortunately only in 8 bit, because DJI records these data also only in 8 bit"
2023-8-18
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SPLflyer
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Ranjan Posted at 8-18 21:38
Based on your advice I tried stitching DNG raw processed with DXO photolab & it produces 16bit DNG which PanoramaStudio Pro stitches quite well & output to 16bit tiff files which are around 1gb each.

So I don't understand when you said "Unfortunately only in 8 bit, because DJI records these data also only in 8 bit"

DJI's DNGs have only 8 bits per color channel. This corresponds to a bit depth of 24 bits for RGB (can be read out via the EXIF data). This remains the case even after development with DxO. However, if you have set the export depth in PanoramaStudio to 16 bit TIF, the images will be 'upsampled' to a color depth of 48 bit. This means that the color scale is subsequently 'spread'.
2023-8-18
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Ranjan
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SPLflyer Posted at 8-18 23:51
DJI's DNGs have only 8 bits per color channel. This corresponds to a bit depth of 24 bits for RGB (can be read out via the EXIF data). This remains the case even after development with DxO. However, if you have set the export depth in PanoramaStudio to 16 bit TIF, the images will be 'upsampled' to a color depth of 48 bit. This means that the color scale is subsequently 'spread'.

The Exif data of unprocessed DNG at least shows as uncompressed & 16 bit depth, so not sure where else to check if its 8bit or 16bit.
screenshot_747.jpg
2023-8-19
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SPLflyer
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Ranjan Posted at 8-19 00:05
The Exif data of unprocessed DNG at least shows as uncompressed & 16 bit depth, so not sure where else to check if its 8bit or 16bit.
[view_image]

Mea culpa! I had only looked at the file properties in Explorer and did not notice that only the bit depth of the embedded thumbnail was displayed there. You are right! The original DNG RAW does indeed have a bit depth of 48 bits.
Good thing, the resulting panorama can only benefit from that.
2023-8-19
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