Sunday, 20 January 2019

Final play with a new tool for today - Panorama Merge

Final play with a new tool for today - Panorama Merge

For this comparison of Affinity Photo, LR and PS I loaded a bit of a torture test. A hand held panorama with varying exposure across the pano and varying focus. I learnt later in life that you should always use a tripod, a fixed focus and a fixed camera setup for the best results. Lets see how each of the tools managed to merge, blend and adress the exposure issues. For this test I used all the defaults except in LR where I had to force "cylindrical" as a merge method or it simply couldn't do it. This test is from 13 21 megapixel RAW images from the 5d mk ii.

I left the images exactly as they came out of the pano merge. All I did was resize them in export to 4580 x 891 so g+ doesn't eat my drive storage up and jpeg 90%.

From left to right we have Affinity, PS then finally LR. You'll note that Affinity produced a quite dark image and seems to have based its exposure on the first image in the sequence which had a dark foreground and over bright sky (sun was there). Photoshop seems to have based its exposure on an average across the images as had LR. LR also treated me as the lazy nuffy that I am and produced a crop that covered the images as much as it could. Both Affinity and PS left me to do this last step (which I ignored for the purposes of this test). For Pano I actually pefer to work this way.

Now out of interest, Affinity consumed nearly 20gb of memory during the merge, PS nearly 8gb of memory and LR stayed at just under 8gb too which suggests the PS and LR algorithms are similar. The result might suggest that Affinity works on copies of the entire RAW images and LR/PS keep only the bits they'll need post merge. That's only a guess without any evidence. Either way the memory used is within my acceptable limits because I've got 32gb but many people are going to struggle. All three returned to about 2gb after the merge was closed (their base memory usage - makes you wonder what the hell they do with 2g when they're not actually doing anything doesn't it?).

Reviewing the images, Affinity did a really yuck job with the complex tree in the foreground but overall has yielded a pleasing result. It has not attempted to remove any of the lens distortion but neither did PS. LR on the other hand did this by default. As an end user I like the LR result best because I don't have to do anything else. If I was a professional then I'd be going for PS in this case because not only has it yielded the nicest result it leaves me free to play. None of the three tools have any really ugly aberrations that would put me off using them.

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