RealViz has released version 5.6 of its panorama software, Stitche® Unlimited. Version 5.6, which is available from this week, introduces Mac Universal compatibility, as well as HDR capabilities.

REALVIZ Stitcher is a photo stitching and image assembling software for the creation of professional-level panoramas and 360° virtual tours. Starting from digital images, the software's powerful central automatic stitching engine enables a diverse range of users to create high-quality panoramas and virtual tours. REALVIZ Stitcher has many potential uses, including the production of large-format prints, matte paintings, reflection maps and textures for film/television, as well as dynamic virtual tours for the real estate and tourism industries.

REALVIZ Stitcher Unlimited 5.6 now has full HDR compatibility for the very first time, enabling users to load, stitch, and save HDR (High Dynamic Range) images. With HDR imaging, users are able to create projects, which combine under- and over-exposed areas in the same harmonious panorama.

The software integrates with image editing tools such Adobe Photoshop, Photomatix or HDR Shop, through compatibility with the most commonly used HDR image file formats: OpenEXR (.exr, 16 or 32 bits per channel), and Radiance RGBE (.hdr). The enhanced core engine of Stitcher Unlimited 5.6 makes all image processing operations available for images with 32 bits per channel. HDR panoramas produced with Stitcher Unlimited 5.6 can be used as a lighting environment
map for 3D studios to obtain ultra-realistic 3D scenes, and to ensure consistent lighting of virtual objects placed in real environments.

Stitcher Unlimited 5.6 costs €499 (around £340), or €109 (£73) as an upgrade from version 5.5. It's also available as part of the REALVIZ HDR Imaging Studio, which combines Stitcher, VTour 1.2 HDR and Photomatix Pro, for €1950 (£1,320).