Price When Reviewed: 300 . 75
Pros: Comprehensively featured, easy-touse panorama stitching tool with efficient workflow for QuickTime VR, movie, web and print output.
Cons: Now under Autodesk ownership, this version adds only a few genuinely new features over the RealViz-developed version 5.7; pricey.
Stitcher can import masks from Photoshop, and also export image components to Photoshop for editing and re-importing.
Rendering speeds are likely to be an issue only if you’re processing images with very high pixel counts. Rendering for web or QuickTime VR will take only a couple of minutes on most current computers, but a super-high res equirectangular panorama for a very large print might take an hour or two. In this case, the access to the graphics card for rendering could make a significant difference.
There are plenty of alternative panorama creators to Stitcher – most of which are more affordably priced – but we haven’t found one that handles so many image types, or outputs to so many media types, and its Stencil masking appears to be unique. Photoshop CS3/4 has a clever automated stitcher called Photomerge, but it can’t output interactive images and CS4’s new multi-row and spherical image handling isn’t that good. Many consumer digital cameras also include panorama shooting tools and basic stitching software.
If you’ve got an earlier version of Stitcher, especially version 5.5 or later, then the 2009 upgrade is disappointing: there aren’t many improvements or new features, and it has lost batch processing and the ability to run on older, non-Intel Macs.
However, if you’re new to the whole panorama scene, then Stitcher continues to give you the easiest and widest toolset in the business.