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RealViz Stitcher 5Panoramic and VR application still a winner
If you have ever wanted to take those large dramatic panoramic landscape shots, but have had nothing but problems aligning the images in other applications, then Stitcher 5 is the program for you. If you have ever needed to quickly create a QuickTime VR movie for your real estate or tour website, then Stitcher 5 is the program for you. Heres why.
When I first used RealVizs Stitcher five years ago, I was totally blown away with the ease of use, accuracy, and high quality output. With Stitcher 5 it is even easier to use than before.
Stitcher 5 has undergone a huge interface change. The confusing menu bars and esoteric icons have been replaced with five icons that walk you through the creation process. As you roll over the icons, they gracefully expand to give you access to many other functions.
Possibly taking a cue from the Mac OS X dock, is the magnifying effect that occurs as you roll over the images at the bottom of the screen. This is great because you can keep the thumbnails small until you need a more detailed view.
Besides the interface redux, the biggest and best new feature is the fully automatic stitching engine. Instead of dragging and dropping your images and hoping they fit together correctly, Stitcher 5 does the work for you with a click of a single button. This is awesome for those who need to quickly generate content without having to manually place and stitch images. This is also very handy if you have a large number of original images to wade through. Because there is no learning curve with the automatic stitching engine a novice will be able to generate content in minutes.
While it may be a little slow (5 minutes to stitch 41 1600x1200 images), it does an excellent job of aligning and blending the photos.
For those really odd shots with complex textures, Stitcher now includes manual stitching allowing you to place markers in two images to get them to align correctly. I really like this feature as it has been a constant issue with many a ground and rock wall texture over the years.
Also quite nice is Live Preview. When this is activated a small window shows you how the panorama will look when rendered. This keeps you from having to guess what the end result will look like.
If you are rendering QTVR movies, it can sometimes be a pain to figure out what will be the initial start image. With real time previews, you can set it without ever going into a render setting panel.
And speaking of rendering, you can save and load presets to export the file in various formats. If you need a QuickTime VR movie, a spherical image map, or even a long planar image from the same project, they can be quickly accessed.
The Preview Renders are also much sharper than before. In the past, one of every five previews I did would for whatever reason be of low quality that would tell me nothing about the final output. I did not experience any issues with this latest release and marveled at the high quality previews.
Stitcher 4 allowed for the importing of Photoshop PSD files. Stitcher 5.0 kicks it up a notch by allowing you to import Photoshop files with masks. The mask imports as a stencil which will be used during the render to block out those unwanted elements that would otherwise detract from a beautiful shot.
|Stitcher 5 Requirements|
Microsoft® Windows® 2000 SP2, XP
Apple® Macintosh® OS X v10.3
Yes, thats right, only a few minor issues when working with Stitcher 5. RealViz deserves a round of applause for implementing the Manual and Automatic Stitch features in this release. These new functions will allow anyone to create high quality images for their animation, digital still photography, or special effects projects. At only $580, this is a steal. Once again, I give RealViz Stitcher 5.0 a Must Buy Recommendation.
For more information on Stitcher or any of the other RealViz products, visit www.realviz.com
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