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Old 10-23-2002, 12:39 PM
dukelane dukelane is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Arlington TX
Posts: 11
Default Large Panoramic Images

The 4.03 VT upgrade increased the maximum number of individual photos that can be stitched together to form a single panorama to 48 ... with the caveat "but don't even think about using that many!"

Here's why ... and how to work around it. You might even find this useful when you're using more than 10 to 15 images ....

There is a 4000-pixel width limit to the images used on In order to stay within that limit, the VisualTour software evaluates the images you're stitching together and manipulates them to remain within that limit.

It does not - and probably cannot - include in that evaluation how much overlap you have for each image. Thus, if you took ten photos at 1024x768 resolution to make up your panorama, you could theoretically have an image 10,240 pixels wide more than double the maximum width.

The VisualTour software calculates how much it has to reduce the images to keep their combined width to under 4000 pixels. In the case of your ten 1024x768 images (total 10,240 pixels wide), it must reduce the images to 39% of of their size, or to about 400x300 (10 x 400 = 4000 pixels). Remember, the overlap in the photos is not part of the calculation.

Thus, if you take 20 photos at the same resolution to make up the pan, you now have a 20,480 pixel width, so the software now must reduce the images to about 20% of their size, or to about 205x155 size.

This is why you've probably noticed at one time or another that some images seem much taller than others. We've seen how stitching 10 images reduces the height to 300 pixels, while 20 images are reduced to around 150 pixels tall.

The display size of images is 202 pixels high, so images reduced below that height may not fill the tour viewer window; images larger than 202 pixels high are reduced to the 202-pixel limit on uploading (except IVR files, which are reduced to 300 pixels so there is some vertical panning possible), so they're not a problem.

The best way to eliminate both the image-quantity limit as well as the size reduction is to run PhotoVista on its own. The PhotoVista program file can usually be found at "C:\Program Files\MGI\Photovista\PVISTA.EXE" and you can create a shortcut to it on your desktop simply by pointing to that file.

PhotoVista neither has any limit to the number of photos you use, [Forum Moderator's Note: Actually, PhotoVista does have a limit of 48, which is why VisualTour changed to do 48 photos as well], nor does it reduce the image size (which also means that it will take more time and computer resources to stitch the larger images).

If you use a VR head for taking photos (these have fixed detents for any number of shots from 2-24 in most cases) so each photo has the same overlap (I use a ten-detent VR ring for an overlap of about 50%), ten pan slices at 1024x768 will result in an image approximately 5800 or so pixels wide ... too wide for VisualTour, but of excellent quality.

The next step, then, is to reduce the size of the panoramic image so that it's under 4000 pixels wide. Do this using some sort of photo editing software that allows you to reduce the image while keeping its size proportions. PhotoShop is an excellent choice for this, although there are many others on the market.

This will ensure that you have the best possible image for use on your tours, always sized correctly. It is a slower and more time-consuming process, but well worth the effort in most cases, and the best way to circumvent the size limitations imposed by VT.
Duke Lane
DFW Virtual Tours
Dallas TX
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