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How to do a 360º x 180º pano: questions
3667 8 2016-8-2
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msjh
lvl.4

United Kingdom
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I have googled this and read a number of posts but still have questions.  So here's the process as I see it.  (Note: I have a P3P; am on Mac/iPad; don't have PhotoShop; do have Litchi; am a registered Google user)

1. Find a suitable location, ideally picturesque (otherwise, what's the point?  ;-)  )

2. Fly drone up to a suitable height for the pano

3. Shoot a series of photographs in (at least) 3 rows; e.g. seven overlapping shots with cam level with horizon; seven at 45º; seven pointing straight down)

    Question:  can I do this in Litchi?  I know I can set it to do one set of pano shots, but that seems to use up all the actions at one waypoint.  Hm.  Stuck.

    Question:  can I do this with DJI GO?

    Question:  should the exposure be manual or auto?  I've seen recommendations for both, one saying manual for consistency, another saying the pano software will fix exposure differences.

    Question:  should these be shot in RAW format?

4.  Go home and create pano (this is just the rectangular picture for the moment).  Obvious tools for me are Google photos which would apparently do this automatically or PtGUI, which I'd need to buy but isn't that expensive.

    Question: Assuming photos have been taken correctly, would the output end up in a 2:1 ratio (to reflect 360º x 180º)?

    Question: Should I do basic editing between steps 3 and 4 or later in the process?

    Question:  How do I tell the pano software that the photos are 3 rows of 7 or does it work it out for itself?

5.  Do some editing of the output if needed.

6.  Upload to something like SkyPixel for conversion into a hemishperical pano.

    Question: Does PtGUI handle this conversion?

Does this overall sequence of steps look right?  Can anyone address the questions or suggest steps I may have omitted?

Many thanks in advance.
2016-8-2
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DJI-Paladin
DJI team
Flight distance : 2408 ft

Hong Kong
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Hello majh, hope this thread can help you http://forum.dji.com/forum.php?m ... 6orderby%3Ddateline .
What's more, there is an experienced pano editor named davidson_g in our forum. Maybe you can get more advice from him
2016-8-3
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mikeon
Second Officer
United States
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I've been using Litchi for this purpose.  It can do a pano in 2 different ways: PANO mode, and pano action in WAYPOINT mode.  The latter is what you apparently were considering.
In PANO mode, you can set the number of rows and shots.  It kind of defaults to 3 rows (0°, -30°, -60°) of 8 shots each, plus two straight down shots 180° apart.  I set my first row to +10° to collect a little sky, although I have to edit the props out later.  This mode doesn't work in conjunction with WAYPOINT, so you must be within controller range of the aircraft.
PTGui and Microsoft Image Composite Editor will work out the number of rows and pictures per row automatically.
In Litchi WAYPOINT mode, you can take a row of photos, then go to a waypoint nearby (even straight up a few feet), then adjust the gimbal pitch, then return to the original waypoint, take another row of shots, etc.  
I see no reason to take 7 shots straight down, in fact some people wonder whether 2 are necessary and one should be the other upside down.
All of this can be done in DJI GO, just rotate the aircraft and adjust gimbal angle manually.
I use PTGui to stitch, and they want manual exposure.   The problem is you get a drastically overexposed sky, and/or a drastically underexposed foreground.  Been tinkering with auto exposure bracketing ±2 EV.  But I've so far had the best luck with RAW format and adjusting the exposure in Camera Raw before stitching.
Most websites hosting these spherical panoramas want 2:1 ratio, corresponding to 180° x 360° field of view.  Since the Phantom can't photograph straight up, this means you either have to accept a big black disk at the top of your panorama, or stretch the clouds up in Photoshop (which gives weird-looking clouds), or paste in a photo of the sky taken separately and try to stitch it, or paste in something else like a medallion.  PTGui allows you to output a panorama with the upward field of view limited.  I like 30° up.  If you don't want to see a blank sky or fake sky, just don't look up there.  But I've only been able to view it locally on my computer with a web browser.  None of the hosting sites lie Skypixel will accept it.
2016-8-3
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hallmark007
Captain
Flight distance : 6342851 ft
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Ireland
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Hi dronepan is another option for you, there is also a Facebook dronepan community which will answer all your questions, the people in this community are very helpful, I have used both litchi and dronepan they both work fine, but you need to take your pano in as little wind as possible, recommend taking photos in JPEG/raw and maybe use photoshop or Lightroom to clean them up and then export to ptgui/auto pano these programmes will auto convert to 360/180, you can also edit in these programs.
Hope this helps, I'm also a beginner at this, it's good fun with a bit of head scratching.
2016-8-3
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msjh
lvl.4

United Kingdom
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Well I had a brief go today.  Just put the P3P up in our garden snd set it for a standard 3 row pano.  Problem was it was really quite gusty so the P3P bobbed about a bit over the few minutes it took.  Also the garden is very similar green.

I tried feeding the result into a trial version of PTGUI but, unsurprisingly, it didn't make a usable image, despite me adding several control points.

I'll wait for a quieter day and shoot a panorama that has more variety.

Thanks DJI-Paladin, mikron and hallmark007.
2016-8-3
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chapcott
Second Officer
Flight distance : 199970 ft
United Kingdom
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Litchi 3-row pano on a dark day
Phantom 3 Standard
Microsoft ice
loaded up here :
https://photosynth.net/view.aspx ... 1-93b4-cb19fa3e270f
Chillenden mill
2016-8-4
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chapcott
Second Officer
Flight distance : 199970 ft
United Kingdom
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Another one .......
https://photosynth.net/view.aspx ... a-b575-f3fc47b2fdf2
2016-8-4
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hallmark007
Captain
Flight distance : 6342851 ft
  • >>>
Ireland
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Needs some repairing up top big black hole you should be able to correct in softwear
2016-8-4
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davidson_g
Captain
Flight distance : 263465 ft
United Kingdom
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Answers in RED P.S. I use Autopano Giga as I have many years of extensive experience with it. It's not an easy relationship but we get there ;)

1. Find a suitable location, ideally picturesque (otherwise, what's the point?  ;-)  )

2. Fly drone up to a suitable height for the pano

3. Shoot a series of photographs in (at least) 3 rows; e.g. seven overlapping shots with cam level with horizon; seven at 45º; seven pointing straight down)

    Question:  can I do this in Litchi?  I know I can set it to do one set of pano shots, but that seems to use up all the actions at one waypoint.  Hm.  Stuck.

    Question:  can I do this with DJI GO?

    Question:  should the exposure be manual or auto?  I've seen recommendations for both, one saying manual for consistency, another saying the pano software will fix exposure differences.

    Question:  should these be shot in RAW format?

I shoot manually (position and exposure) in RAW, judging the overlap visually which generally gives 3 rows of 6 and one straight down (straight down usually not needed but it can be useful when you want to maximise the image quality of something imediately below). I usually throw away some of the bottom row pictures as there are too many but I also find that most stitching errors are in the bottom rows as these contain images of the scene closest the aircraft and most affected by the little movements the drone makes whilst hovering. Often I pick the images that result the best stitch and throw away the rest so having too many pictures on the bottom row can be useful if you are selecting the ones that stitch best. I should say, the further away you are from objects in the image, the less a problem drone movements are.

P.S. I try to aim for perfection where possible so the above may seem excessive to some


4.  Go home and create pano (this is just the rectangular picture for the moment).  Obvious tools for me are Google photos which would apparently do this automatically or PtGUI, which I'd need to buy but isn't that expensive.

    Question: Assuming photos have been taken correctly, would the output end up in a 2:1 ratio (to reflect 360º x 180º)?If you set the output projection to "equirectangular" that should give the correct 2:1 ratio, assuming you have taken enough photographs to cover

Remember, you'll need something for the sky half of the image is you want a full 360 by 180 - not possible with the drone itself unless inverted flight becomes an option (!). I shoot a seperate sky panorama from the ground using a DSLR camera. You don't really want to have large trees, cliffs nearby in the sky panorama as they'll obscure the horizon that you may come to rely on later when joining the two panoramas together. The sky half of the image is then overlaid/blended with care to make a complete 2:1 equirectangular image. DJI Paladin's post above will give you a link to a video I often refer people to that points you in the right direction.

    Question: Should I do basic editing between steps 3 and 4 or later in the process?

It's best to do all your image editing before stitching. RAW allows you to squeeze more detail out of higlights and shadows. Also many image editors don't understand that when making adjustments, the left and right hand edges of an equirectangular image need to be visually seamless when wrapped around into a 360. The stitcher does understand the need for seamless joins but usually offers little in the way of the adjustments we are accustomed to in Photoshop. I'm not sure if current versions of Light Room and Photoshop (I'm still on CS6) have a "panorama mode" to allow seamless editing. If others know, I'd find that useful myself

    Question:  How do I tell the pano software that the photos are 3 rows of 7 or does it work it out for itself?

Provided there is enough detail in the images to work out their common areas of overlap, it should work it out for itself. If, like me, you end up taking panoramas near coastal areas with only ocean and sky in some shots, there will likely be much hair pulling as the stitcher won't know where to place those and manual intervention is required.

5.  Do some editing of the output if needed.

Generally the only editing I do at this stage is selective sharpening (sharpen landscape - not the sky) and resizing down to 12000 by 6000 so that the image can be handled by Skypixel etc.

6.  Upload to something like SkyPixel for conversion into a hemishperical pano.

    Question: Does PtGUI handle this conversion?

I just upload a 360 by 180 equirectangular image to Skypixel and it works fine See https://www.skypixel.com/user/davidson_g

Does this overall sequence of steps look right?  Can anyone address the questions or suggest steps I may have omitted?

Many thanks in advance.



2016-8-5
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