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Guide to improving photo sphere panoramas with PTGui


Well-Known Member
Nov 6, 2018
Fixing a 360sphere from Spark with PTGui.
My experiences as a newcomer to PTGui (paid version).

In this Example:
Here is the ICE (Microsoft's Image Composite Editor) panorama of the 46 image sphere
(insert #1)
1_Clipboard03-image composite editor2-01.jpeg

here is the PTGui of the 46 image sphere.
Note that the internal image sequence numbers of the mismatch can be viewed and that the highest image sequence number in the panorama is 46

PTGui has a zoomable detail viewer to focus on the mismatch area between #33 and #37)
3_Clipboard01-ptgui-46-pano-editor-detail viewer2.jpg

There were no control points found between #33 and #37 by PTGui
4_Clipboard05-control ponts-33-37-before.jpg

Several horizon 'horizontal line' control points were added to the image overlap region. The red X indicates that at a later time the image was not used to create the final panorama.

A look at the PTGui derived control points between #35 and #37 shows several cloud matches
and a solid rock 'normal' control point

After telling PTGui to not include #33 in the panorama and at a later time adding some 180 pano images to straighten out other minor regions to the right of the #33-#37 mismatch, a good horizon was obtained.
7_Clipboard09-pano-editor after.jpg

Note#1 The highest image sequence # seen in the Panorama editor in the reflects the addition of additional images (other than the sphere 46 pics) to be aligned by PTGui
Note#2 Adding additional images to ICE sphere 46 pics did not predictably improve poorly aligned horizons in my spheres with Microsoft Image Composite Editor
General recomendations on shooting a successful sphere (46 pics) are:
1_shoot under conditions of low wind
2_wind driven clouds are a problem so capturing on 'less cloudy yet windy' days might sometimes be advantagous. Moving and billowing clouds will make moving cloud based control points relative to stationary ground objects.
Note#3 The Smartblend plugin for PTGui sometimes makes better panoramas following the PTGui alignment process and sometimes the PTGui render looks better. Smartblend takes longer to render than PTGui.
Note#4 The Enblend plugin takes the longest amount of time to render. I tend not to have any reason when rendering spheres to use 'Enblend'.

final result:

Thacher Island - 5-13-2019



Using PTGui allows me to interact in a cognitive way to improve the look of a Spark 360 photo sphere. For example, here is how and why I used PTGui to improve the horizon mismatch in a sphere.
1-I take the 46 picture set for the sphere 1st
2_I take , but not necessarily use, three 180 (21 pic) panos of the horizon staggered 120 degrees apart.
3_I take , but don't necessarily use, a Nadir - horizontal pano (9 pics)
4-_ I import the 46 picture sphere group and take a look at how PTGui aligns the images. If mis-matches in the horizon occur I
a:try removing images from the 46 picture set (the panorama editor updates interactively)
b:try adding control points to the misaligned images of the panorama
c:try removing excess cloud control points for misaligned panoramas with
dominant moving cloud control points
d:try adding back 180 panorama images in the problem area and realigning to improve the match
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
Oct 31, 2018
Looks like a very powerful software to work with panos. Thanks for sharing.

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