• Price: 199 . 339 . 69

  • Company: Realviz

  • Pros: Versatile, easy-to-use program for assembling panoramic pictures and immersive spherical images from ordinary photos.

  • Cons: Fisheye stitching needs further development, though conventional rectilinear blending remains excellent. Pro is fine if you don’t need fisheyes or extra immersive formats.

  • Our Rating: We rate this 8 out of 10 We rate this 8 out of 10

RealViz Stitcher is a flexible and easy-to-use program for assembling seamless panoramas and ‘immersive’ images from multiple overlapping photographs.

The new version 5.5 is a comparatively minor update, but the program is now split into various versions. The Unlimited edition costs £339, while a new lower-cost Pro edition costs £199. The new entry-level program, Stitcher Express 2, costs £69.

The Pro version is almost identical to version 5.1, apart from new SmartBlend technology in the renderer. Current users don’t really need to upgrade to the new Pro version. However, the Unlimited version has extra features. Most significant is a new ability to stitch images shot with ultra-wide angle fisheye lenses (capturing 180 degrees or more).

Stitcher Express 2 has fewer editing and output options but is great for learning the concepts.

 border=0 />New Web publishing export options in Unlimited include formats for Immervision’s Java-based Pure and FieldOfView’s Shockwave 3D-based SPi-V3d. All Stitcher panoramas, as well as the related RealViz VTour and ImageModeler files, can be exported as KML ‘geo-referenced’ files for publishing within Google Earth.
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All versions can stitch multiple images shot with conventional cameras into panoramas. They can export them for either printing or as immersive interactive formats to go on Web sites or CD or DVDs. If you shoot the originals as multiple rows that cover the whole view from ground to sky (or floor to ceiling), you can create ‘cubic’ projections that allow you to navigate the viewpoint anywhere within a complete sphere. Fisheye lenses capture floor-to-ceiling in one shot.
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Digit reviewed Stitcher 5.0 last year and found it a worthwhile advance, with a revamped user interface and useful new live preview. For the new fisheye stitching you import the original images (three or more are needed) and select a circular or full-frame fisheye lens mode. Then you drag the images into rough alignment in the main stitching window. Stitcher handles the image warping, blending and rendering to give a seamless image. 
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