RealViz has announced version 3.5 of its Stitcher panorama-creation software. The package combines overlapping photographs to create 360-x-180 degree panoramas that can be output in QuickTime 4, QuickTime 5, Java and Web 3D formats – as well as to planar formats, such as TIFF and JPEG. Stitcher 3.5 allows users to position and edit QuickTime hotspots from within the application – something that previously would have required a separate tool, such as Apple’s QuickTime VR Authoring Studio or VR Toolbox VR Worx. Hotspots provide links to other panoramas or Web pages, allowing the creation of virtual tours. Manual placement
Other new features add more manual control over panorama creation. Forced Stitch allows users to place images by eye, which RealViz cites as useful for areas where insufficient image details are available. The Render Area tool enables final renders to be cropped to fit any desired resolution. There are also tools designed to speed up the creative process within Stitcher, according to RealViz. Lens-distortion correction allows the package to work directly with images without requiring removal of any distortions. The Artifact Removal tool removes unwanted objects, replacing them with materials from overlapping images. Enhanced horizon definition is designed to avoid wavy cylindrical panoramas. RealViz has also added the facility to stitch flat objects, such as maps or posters, from multiple images with automatic positioning. Stitcher 3.5 will ship in May 2002 and runs on Mac OS X and Windows computers. It costs 554 Euros for the full package, with upgrades from version 3.1 costing 221 Euros. Anyone who bought Stitcher 3.1 after April 5 will get a free upgrade to version 3.5.