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REALVIZ Stitcher vs. PTGui (1)

Like any software, Stitcher has its quirks and bugs and these are of course most apparent (and annoying) to heavy users (of which I'll consider myself one). The Stitcher team has, over time, addressed many of these quirks/bugs -- but of course new ones always crop up. This isn't surprising for Stitcher or for any piece of software being developed. I develop my own interactive QuickTime 'widget' which is used by many in our VR development community, and constantly have to address its quirks and issues.

I have been a longtime Stitcher user (since ~v3.5), and generally have been a happy REALVIZ customer. No longer.

what follows is my personal opinion and thinking, not necessarily endorsed by the ivrpa. everyone who knows me, knows that i am very excited about VR photography and development, and that i try to support everyone who is involved in our niche industry. it is rare that i get frustrated enough to rant.

What I find frustrating is the lack of communication (recent communiqués from the CEO notwithstanding) from the REALVIZ team to its users. There is a Stitcher forum, which is very active, provided by REALVIZ for its customer base/the development community. Regrettably, the Stitcher team itself isn't very well represented on the forums.

This isn't to say that I think the REALVIZ-provided forum should be seen as a direct pipeline or red phone to the Stitcher team -- it's just that many people come to and use the forum because they are not getting any response to directly emailed support issues. note: unhappy forum posts which make mention of competing stitching software are censored, along with their writers being banned

I have more than a few posts to the Stitcher forum; some are questions, others are helpful (I hope) responses to others' questions. Off-forum, I have recommended Stitcher to countless VR developers/shooters.

One of my most recent posts to the forum is a question to the Stitcher team, basically, because I have had recent frustrating, protracted and misinformational email conversation with the REALVIZ support team.

REALVIZ has come out with a "dot" upgrade to Stitcher 5.1 -- the 5.5 Pro and 5.5 Unlimited versions. It being a dot upgrade, I assumed I'd be able to seamlessly (and without cost) move from v5.1 to one or the other of the new versions.

Several weeks ago, and after being deluged with "Buy Stitcher!" emails from REALVIZ's Los Angeles based sales rep, Wolfgang, I began inquiring around about how to upgrade. I couldn't really find any info, anywhere, and an email to REALVIZ support went unanswered.

Finally, to shorten the story, after several un- or mis-informative back-and-forths with different people from REALVIZ support -- and only after I CC'ed sales and Wolfgang -- it was determined that my only path to upgrade is to purchase the 5.1-to-5.5 (pro or unlimited) upgrade, and use my version 3.5 serial number.

This mystifies me, not only because I've been a paying customer all the way from the aforementioned version 3.5 to version 5.1, but also because this is a dot upgrade. By all accounts, 5.5 Pro is useless to most people as an upgrade (see quote below). ...And 5.5 Unlimited should be touted as a version 6 in my thinking, if I'm going to be required to shell out my hard earned cash for it.

What is further frustrating is that Stitcher's upgrades don't seem to address the basic fact that its in-house blending and seaming algo, well, sucks.

My experience since the beginning is that Stitcher outputs some soft seams. I've put up with it because of workarounds (output to PSD) and using postproduction tools such as Photoshop. Including the "enblend" option in a (free) dot upgrade alleviated this issue somewhat.

Now, in both the latest version and in the demo upgrades, I'm getting misalignments along with soft stitches. My gut feeling is that I'm expected to pay REALVIZ for a dot upgrade, simply for the luxury of using a plugged-in tool (a la enblend, which is freely available to all, already) with their software. To further fan the flames, see this forum post; I quote the salient portion below (emphasis added), which is from REALVIZ support to a Stitcher user, just in case it should be removed from the Stitcher forum:

Then let me explain. There is no upgrade from Stitcher 5.1 to 5.5 Pro versions because the application you are using is better than the one offered. Why? Because we wish to offer, to all customers, the possibility to use Stitcher. The Stitcher 5.1 is the best deal in the moment. If you use fisheye images then you should upgrade to Stitcher 5.5 Unlimited, but an upgrade to 5.5 Pro will not be interesting for you.

Regards,
Julien Piercourt
Digital Imaging Manager EMEA

So, already successfully using fisheye images with Stitcher 5.1, and not being such a die-hard Stitcher user that I'm loath to try other software, I began looking for options. PTGui for Mac is an extremely promising option, with an active developer forum and an amazingly responsive developer. PTGui's beta version, in my experience, is vastly superior to Stitcher. And at one-fifth the cost.

For Stitcher users who are reading this: Batch Processing in PTGui rocks!

More as it comes, regarding PTGui and the removal of (overpriced, undersupported, buggy and frustrating) REALVIZ Stitcher from my workflow.

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realvizstitcher

I appreciate all your comments as I am trying as many of the stitching programs possbile to try to replace interactive studio.
thanks,
Susan

Susan Johnson
www.360photoviews.com
508.385.6062
360photoviews.com@comcast.net

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Hi Susan: Glad you find them

Hi Susan:

Glad you find them helpful!

Patrick Cheatham
--
CheathamLane | spinControl:VR
Berkeley, California
VR Photography
QuickTime & Web Development

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Re: REALVIZ Stitcher vs. PTGui (1)

I also chose Ptgui over Realviz for a very simple reason: in tests it did a better job stitching.

Here's some background that might be of interest. Autodesk purchased Realviz, including its products: Stitcher and Image Modeler. Autodesk is a huge software house that sells CAD products such as AutoCAD, Inventor and visualization products like 3D Studio. Realviz is a good fit for producing environments for 3D Studio.
When a company buys out another, all bets are off, but sometimes users get left in the lurch. Autodesk did add a number of new features to Realviz including a real-time preview... great stuff. And if Autodesk continues to develop Realviz, it will probably be worth another look at the next release.

As for in-house User's forums, its not surprising there is censorship... its a dog-eat-dog world in the CAD business where your competitor will flood your forum with complaints and spread FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about your product.

Thank heavens for forums like IVRPA where you get unbiased opinions, although it still pays to check the author to see if they work for a dealer that sells the stuff.

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Re: REALVIZ Stitcher vs. PTGui (1)

as of march 2010, things at autodesk stitcher are worse than ever, batch render was removed in 5.7, and the 2009 "unlimited" update basically just added new interface icons - no multi processor or 64 bit support, and autodesk still ignores all customer issues, complaint reports on long standing bugs and any other feedback relating to this app - do not spend any money on their updates, try PTGUI. Hugin, or Autopano instead

the stitcher forums are no longer censored as they were under realviz, but the forums are now completely ignored by autodesk, who have thus raised quite a bit of fear uncertainty and doubt themselves here

Autodesk Stitcher 2010 - RIP

- - - - -
Sam Rohn :: 360° Panoramas :: www.samrohn.com :: Location Scout :: www.nylocations.com :: New York City

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Re: REALVIZ Stitcher vs. PTGui (1)

We still run both programs, because we discovered that if PTGui doesn't want the pictures, the Stitcher does and the other way round. so we're happy to have them both. but we'll not upgrade to the latest versions of Autodesk, because we do not believe we'll get the same service as we did from Realviz. Stitcher is not any longer a small french company, where you can call in and get help. those days have gone. asking for a final choice - PTGui.

Hans

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Re: REALVIZ Stitcher vs. PTGui (1)

I also switched from Realviz Stitcher to PTGui and did not regret it one moment. When asked about Realviz Stitcher, I always suggest to keep the hands off that product.

Viele Grüße

Carsten

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