Posted By: gengiant
Pano / RAW Conversion Software - 12/17/08 11:53 PM
I've been playing around with HDR blending (blending 2 or more of the same image at different exposures via RAW conversion) with some success. Of course, new DSLR's (newer than my D200) capture a higher dynamic range to begin with, but in absence of that... Anyway, I wonder if there's any software out there you are aware of that would allow me to stitch together panoramas in RAW format BEFORE converting to other formats? I am basically looking to create a single RAW source file.
Posted By: gengiant
Re: Pano / RAW Conversion Software - 12/19/08 06:20 PM
There are a few panorama software programs out there that will use Nikon raw files to stitch together a panorama. However, to my knowledge there is no software that will save that stitched pano back to a Nikon NEF formatted file. This would be a pretty good reverse engineering trick considering how structured the NEF format is and the fact that Nikon keeps a pretty tight rein on use of their proprietary raw format.
Thanks George! Unfortunately, I am not sure I follow what you are saying. If these software applications you speak of stitch together RAW files (NEF or other), do they then require transforming said data to another format such as TIFF in order to save the pano? Why would such a file stitched together from NEF RAW files have to be reverse-engineered to be saved in the same format it started out as?
The "problem" I am having is that PS3 requires one to make lighting adjustments to any RAW file before one can "do" anything with the file. For singular images, that is not a problem. However, when stitching together a number of images for a pano, I doubt that one could repeat the stitching process a second time and come up with the EXACT same pano - especially when manually aligning images to fit. See, my intent would be to then blend these 2 resulting panos for better HDR - something that requires absolutely identical images in respect to layout. Maybe someone could suggest a workable 'work-around'?
Posted By: Jim Poor
Re: Pano / RAW Conversion Software - 12/21/08 12:23 AM
What if you processed each panel as HDR and then stitched instead of the other way around?
Posted By: gengiant
Re: Pano / RAW Conversion Software - 12/22/08 04:01 PM
Your explanation as to how non-Nikon pano software stitches images together was very helpful. At least now I understand why such software cannot "re-assemble" the pano in the original NEF format. As to shooting the pano to create a "faux" HDR effect, I am actually maximizing the large amount of data captured in RAW to then convert the same image at 2 (or more) different exposure levels before then blending them back together. With a simple brush I can then "expose" only those parts of the sandwiched image for which the RAW image was processed to the correct exposure (say sky vs. foreground, for example). I've tried this blending with TIFF format files on a large pano I created, but only with limited success. I believe that the headroom inherent to RAW data results in a better, ie. more dynamic color range in the blended image - at least the TIFF composite looks flatter to me on my monitor.
What you suggest is what I do for singular images. But this blending only works well when the multiple images align perfectly - just like the "layers" in PS. The automated stitching process in CS3 does not necessarily create an absolute alignment match over multiple panels for successive images processed independently. In the absence of a stitching software that leaves the RAW format intact, I've tried the process you've suggest without much success.
Thanks to both of you for your replies!
Posted By: spartacusii
Re: Pano / RAW Conversion Software - 01/01/09 04:54 AM
you might look at a program called photomatix - if i recall correctly, it has the ability to handle panos internally while creating the HDR image from RAW images. but i might be mistaken on that point, as i haven't played with panos in that program. but i do seem to recall reading something along those lines. check it out.