A new version of PTGui will be released soon, and you can download a beta version already.
This beta version is now being tested but may still be unstable. If you
don't encounter problems with PTGui 9.2.0, it is better to wait for the next
The current stitching engine in PTGui started life at a time when most PCs were still running on a single processor
and graphics cards were only used to display things on a screen. But in the past few years computers have
become more powerful by increasing the number of processor cores, and these days the graphics card (GPU)
can be used not only for display but for general computing as well.
A GPU is an extremely powerful processor with many hundreds of processor cores, but software has to be rewritten
to be able to use that power.
That's exactly what's new in the PTGui 10 beta: a new stitching engine, rewritten from scratch to get the best performance
on modern hardware. For GPU processing the stitcher uses OpenCL, a technology supported by both major GPU vendors
(NVIDIA and AMD) and supported on Windows and Mac. Of course stitching without using the graphics card remains possible,
and CPU stitching performance has been improved as well. The new stitcher also uses significantly less memory, which speeds up
stitching of large gigapixel panoramas in particular.
The goal for the new stitching engine is to be fully compatible with the current stitcher; changes are entirely under the hood and the only difference you
should notice is a reduction in stitching time.
So how much speedup should you expect compared with PTGui 9? This depends on many factors
such as the GPU's processing power versus the CPU speed, how much time is spent writing the results to the disk, etc. Initial
tests suggest a speedup anywhere between 1.5x and 10x depending on hardware and on the kind of panorama.
But to give one benchmark as an example: the
Gigapixel Panorama Speedtest
on a particular machine
(6 core Intel i7, Windows 8.1, 32GB of RAM, AMD Radeon HD7870, Samsung SSD) stitches in 22 seconds, compared to
151 seconds in PTGui 9.1.9. This is almost 7 times as fast!
In this beta version the new engine is used only when stitching the final panorama.
But we plan to use it to accelerate other parts of PTGui as well, such as the
Panorama Editor, Detail Viewer and Publish to Website.
New tone mapper
The other change in PTGui 10 beta is a new tone mapping algorithm for HDR panoramas. The new algorithm gives natural looking results,
comparable in quality to Exposure Fusion. It's easy to use and much faster than the previous algorithm, which could take a very long time
for large panoramas.
To use the GPU for stitching a video card supporting OpenCL 1.1 is required, with a minimum of 512 MB video RAM. Every recent GPU
from AMD and NVIDIA should work.
At least 2 GB of video RAM is recommended: although the panorama doesn't need to fit entirely in the video RAM, moving data
between the CPU and the GPU is relatively slow and should be avoided to get the best performance.
Laptops have less powerful 'mobile' GPU variants to keep down power consumption, and many laptops only have integrated graphics.
On a laptop with discrete GPU the new stitcher
will run somewhat faster on the GPU than on the CPU, but the difference is not extreme. Integrated graphics are not supported at all (and would be slower anyway).
But Windows desktops can easily be upgraded with a new GPU, and adding a $300 GPU (like the HD7870 from the above benchmark)
will result in a significant speedup.
On Mac upgrading a GPU is mostly impossible: only the previous generation Mac Pro has replacable graphics hardware.
iMacs only have mobile class GPUs or integrated graphics. The new Mac Pro on the other hand has been designed with GPU
computing in mind and will be an ideal machine for running PTGui (even though PTGui currently only uses 1 of the 2 GPUs).
On a Mac PTGui requires OS X 10.9 (Mavericks) or later for GPU stitching.
Finally keep in mind that with this improvement in stitching speed, disk speed is actually becoming the limiting factor. Replacing a spinning hard disk
with an SSD will make even more difference than before.
Detailed list of changes
- Version 10.0beta9 (17 July 2014)
- Fix: corrupted output for certain projects
- Version 10.0beta8 (8 July 2014)
- PTGui now checks upon startup whether the configured temporary folders exist and can be written to; it will warn if there is a problem.
- Help file is updated to reflect the changes in PTGui 10.
- Fix: black bars in stitched panorama if a green mask was placed outside the cropped area
- Fix: errors if the panorama had source images outside the cropped by the yellow crop lines in the panorama editor
- Fix: toolbar buttons were incorrectly greyed out
- Fix: PTGui web viewer will no longer use CSS3D in Firefox under Linux, due to rendering bugs in this browser
- Version 10.0beta7 (4 July 2014)
- Fix: 'Assertion failed' error for certain projects
- Version 10.0beta6 (2 July 2014)
- Improved GPU memory management. This improves performance for multi gigapixel panoramas and allows efficient GPU stitching on cards with only 1 GB memory.
- Reduced default GPU memory usage when set to Automatic. This leaves more video memory available for the operating system and other applications.
- Faster tiff and photoshop output, in particular when compression is used
- Faster loading of uncompressed tiff images from spinning hard disks (reduced chance of disk thrashing)
- Slightly improved detail in exposure fused result in areas with saturated colors
- Enblend and Smartblend are supported again
- PTStitcher is no longer supported
- Updated dcraw to version 9.22
- Fix: error 'CL_INVALID_IMAGE_SIZE' when stitching source images larger than the GPU can handle (typically 16000 pixels wide or high). For larger source images PTGui will now automatically fall back to CPU stitching.
- Fix: when loading a project created in an earlier PTGui version containing RAW source images, the images would be displayed too bright
- Fix: remapping a 360 degree source image could result in a thin transparent or black line in the output
- Fix: Assertion error when outputting individual layers only in JPEG format
- Fix: black border when remapping from equirectangular to another projection
- Fix: mac: several windows had a keyboard shortcut Cmd+C for the Close or Cancel button. This would override the keyboard shortcut for copying to clipboard. These windows can now be closed using the Esc key and copying can be done using Cmd+c.
- Fix: exposure fusion preview didn't match the actual output when stitching the panorama
- Fix: canceling a stitch would leave unfinished corrupt images in the output folder
- Fix: Minor layout issues in main window
- Version 10.0beta5 (6 May 2014)
- Fix: crash if a corrupt jpeg file was loaded
- Fix: memory leak when loading a file with corrupt EXIF data
- Fix: possible crash when a source image is modified externally
- Fix: sorting images (Sort button in the Source Images tab) could take a very long time
- Fix: after optimization some control points could have a reported optimization distance of 0, while the actual error is very large
- Fix: some settings saved by File - Make Default would be ignored if checkboxes in Project Settings - Template behaviour were unchecked
- Fix: Numerical Transform window would show rounded values even if this was disabled in Options/Preferences
- Fix: edges of the panorama were cut off for 360 degree circular fisheye output
- Fix: Metadata window: certain GPS coordinates would be shown as e.g. 9.35999999... instead of 9.36
- Fix: Mac: scrolling using the trackpad in the Batch Builder and Batch Stitcher windows didn't work correctly
- dcraw updated to version 9.21
- Wider input fields in Numerical Transform
- Source images with file names containing numbers are now sorted intelligently: 'Image 20.jpg' now comes before 'Image 113.jpg'. Previously alphabetic ordering was used so '20' would come after '113'.
- Added EXIF sensor size data for a number of cameras
- Version 10.0beta4 (25 april 2014)
- PTGui now comes with a standalone viewer (Windows and Mac) for equirectangular panoramas. The viewer can also be used outside of PTGui. It supports full screen display on Windows and mac. On mac the trackpad can be used for navigation (swipe and pinch). The viewer can be launched through Tools - PTGui Viewer and via the View / Preview functions in PTGui.
- Changes in the way external viewers are configured: In Options/Preferences - Advanced now up to 3 applications can be configured. These applications will be shown in the popup list under the View button (Create Panorama tab) and Preview button (Preview tab). The new PTGui Viewer is always included for equirectangular panoramas.
- The 'Use Quicktime Player' for preview has been removed (current QuickTime versions do not support panoramas anymore)
- The tone mapper can now be used for LDR panoramas as well. This works great for boosting the shadows in a non-bracketed panorama and can (at low ISO) avoid the need to shoot bracketed panoramas.
- Speed improvements for GPU stitching of large panoramas with masks
- Speed improvements for CPU stitching of large panoramas using large interpolators (such as Sinc1024)
- Tone mapper can now handle spherical panoramas (no more 'vortex' artifacts in nadir and zenith)
- Improved tone mapping quality (fewer halos in shadow areas, can bring out more shadow details)
- HDR/Exposure tab: section 'HDR' has been reworded
- updated dcraw to version 9.20
- Default ('auto') GPU memory limit is slightly reduced, to avoid swapping
- Default ('auto') RAM memory limit has been raised to be closer to the limit used by PTGui 9, to improve performance
- Windows: The installer now adds PTGui to the 'Send To' context menu in Explorer. In Explorer you can select a set of images to be stitched, right click and choose 'Send to -> PTGui'.
- 'Set optimum size' button now directly picks the optimum size (formerly 'maximum size' in the popup menu). The options 'For print' and 'For web' have been removed.
- Fix: possible hole in stitched output when remapping from equirectangular to another projection
- Fix: Mac: PTGui no longer attempts to use Intel HD 4000 integrated graphics (it's not supported)
- Fix: Blend priority was reversed (lower value got a higher priority in the blend)
- Fix: Mac: shortcut key for Preferences had been inadvertently changed to Cmd+P. Has been changed back to Cmd+,
- Fix: Mac: In the Save Project dialog, only the file name part (before .pts) is selected. Thus typing a new file name will keep '.pts' after the name.
- Fix: GPU stitching failed with error 'CL_INVALID_WORK_GROUP_SIZE' or 'CL_INVALID_GLOBAL_WORK_SIZE' for certain panoramas
- Fix: PTGui used more memory than the RAM limit configured in Options/Preferences - Advanced
- Fix: Blending artifacts when stitching RAW images
- Fix: Blending artifacts when generating HDR panoramas
- Fix: Blending & tone mapping artifacts near the border of 360 degree panoramas
- Fix: Black blocks in stitched panoramas for certain projects
- Fix: Masks were ignored when outputting a panorama as 'individual layers only'
- Fix: Mac: PTGui would crash if Quit was performed via the context menu in the dock icon
- Fix: Circular Fisheye panorama projection did not give a circular cropped image
- Fix: 'Assertion failed' if some of the source images were outside the visible area of the panorama
PTGui Web Viewer:
- Fix: In some browsers autorotating would stop after a while
- Fix: In some browsers, if pan or tilt limits were set (partial panorama) the display would be corrupted or the viewer would stop responding
- Fix: mouse wheel zooming did not work in Firefox
- Fix: mouse wheel zooming would also scroll the web page in which the viewer was embedded
- If minimum and maximum pan bounds are set, autorotation no longer stops at the edge but reverses direction
- Right mouse click popup window: the text in this window has been changed from 'Created with PTGui' to 'PTGui Viewer version x.x'
- On a mac the panorama can now be navigated by swiping with two fingers on the touchpad, or by swiping with one finger on the surface of the magic mouse. This can be disabled by adding 'enablemactouchpad: false' to the viewer options in the html source.
- Dragging while holding down the right mouse button now also zooms in and out
- When autorotation starts the viewer will navigate towards the horizon. This is still the default but this behaviour can be disabled by adding 'autorotatetohorizon: false' to the viewer options in the html source.
- Version 10.0beta3 (3 march 2014)
- Stability improvements. If this beta still crashes on your system please let us know on the support forum.
- More speed improvements, in particular for NVIDIA cards on Windows.
- PTGui will no longer attempt to use Intel integrated graphics for OpenCL. It's not supported currently due to apparent driver bugs, and it would be slower than using the CPU anyway.
- Fix: error 'openCL initialization failed' on macs with an AMD Radeon GPU
- Fix: PTGui crashed immediately upon startup on 64 bit Windows on certain processors
- Fix: Assert error 'lastBitmapfeedline <= lastpushabline' for True HDR panoramas
- Fix: PTGui used more GPU memory than configured in Options/Preferences. This could lead to out of memory errors (CL_MEM_OBJECT_ALLOCATION_FAILURE)
- Fix: Assert error if the panorama contained images outside the visible (or cropped) area
- Fix: when creating .exr files without alpha channel stripes could be seen in the otherwise 'transparent' parts of a panorama
- Fix: Assert error if Tonemap Preview was opened before all images were loaded
- Fix: Assert error in batch stitcher if a source image was not found
- Fix: in True HDR mode, grey patches would occur in areas that were overexposed in all of the brackets
- Fix: spherical equirectangular panoramas could have small horizontal streaks near the zenith or nadir
- Fix: grey bars when remapping an equirectangular panorama
- Fix: corrupted output or crashes for certain spherical panoramas
- Version 10.0beta2 (14 february 2014)
- fix: error 'CL_UNKNOWN_ERROR' immediately after launching PTGui on certain systems
- if PTGui crashes during 'initializing OpenCL' (for example due to GPU driver bugs), it will offer to disable GPU acceleration on the next launch
- fix: batch stitcher failed to run for projects containing masks ('assertion failed' error)
- fix: stitching raw images resulted in too dark output
- fix: mac: batch stitcher was launching hidden behind the main window
- fix: mac: batch stitcher would hang when closed
- Version 10.0beta1 (13 february 2014)
- GPU accelerated stitching using OpenCL
- New tone mapper
- New menu Images - Select: this allows for example to delete all images outside the visible area of the panorama. Or
in conjunction with the yellow crop lines in the panorama editor, to delete images any rectangular area of the panorama.
- Options/Preferences - Advanced: RAM usage is now specified as an absolute number of megabytes; previously this was set as
a percentage of available RAM
- Removed support for 16 bit linear HDR output: previously PTGui Pro could save HDR output in a 16 bit fixed point TIFF or PSD file.
This is no longer possible, HDR output is now 32 bit floating point or 16 bit half float EXR. Note that this was a rarely used feature,
and regular 16 bit output is still fully supported for low dynamic range and tone mapped output.
Since this is a beta version it may contain bugs; therefore your feedback is much appreciated.
Post any bugs, comments to the PTGui Google group
check the Known Issues list above before posting.
Installing multiple versions side by side
You can try the beta version without overwriting your existing copy of PTGui. On Windows select a different installation folder when prompted during installation
(e.g. C:\Program Files\PTGui Beta). On Mac the PTGui application can be copied from the install disk image, renamed, and installed in any
folder on your mac, not just the Applications folder.
If you have accidentally overwritten your copy of PTGui you can always download the former version again from this website.
Download PTGui or PTGui Pro, version 10.0beta9