Panorama tools

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What are the panorama tools

The Panorama Tools, also known as The PanoTools are a free suite of programs and libraries originally written by the german physics and mathematics professor Helmut Dersch. PanoTools provides a powerful framework for re-projecting and blending multiple source images into immersive panoramics of many types. An updated version of the PanoTools library serves as the underlying core engine for many software panorama GUI front-ends.

Helmut started development on PanoTools in 1998, producing some of the most professional and versatile software available for building panoramas and more, but had to stop development in 2001 due to legal harrassment and claims of patent infringement by a company called IPIX. In 2003 he released some modifications to the java-based online panorama viewer PTViewer. One involved a standalone .exe version and another version could display HDR (high dynamic range) panoramas. The most recent release from Helmut is PTViewerME, a panorama viewer for PDAs and mobile devices. The homepage of Helmut can be found here. It has no links to his older work on PanoTools, but some list members managed to make a copy of his old homepage before it shut down. Thanks to Kathy Wheeler the page could be reconstructed completely:

After Helmut stopped developing Panorama Tools, the members of his mailing-list took over development, and began enhancing the software suite on their own. They moved the project to SourceForge and have fixed some bugs and developed additional functionality since.

What software is included in the panorama tools

PanoTools is a collection of free tools for Panorama and 3D Object creation. It consists of:

PTEditor Java interactive Panorama Editor.
PTPicker Java front end to panorama stitcher and other tools. It provides a graphical interface for feature point selection and position optimization.
PTCrypt Java tool for scrambling pictures intended to be viewed online with ptviewer.
PTStitcher Panorama stitching tool which remaps, adjusts and combines arbitrary images to panoramic views. No source available. Similar projects are nona in hugin as well as PTmender.
PTmender Open source replacement for PTStitcher.
PTOptimizer Optimizes positions and sizes of images using control-point data.
PTStereo Creates 3-dimensional objects from 2 stereoscopic or more images.
PTInterpolate Physically valid true view interpolator. Given two images of the same scene taken from different positions, this tool creates views from any intermediate position.
PTMorpher Morphing tool.
PTAverage Averages images to reduce noise and enhance density.
PTStripe Combines images into movie-stripes for viewing in object-viewers (PTMovie extension to PTViewer).
Panorama Tools Plugins Photoshop, GraphicConverter and Gimp plug-ins for image correction and remapping. Also compatible to many other programs that can use Photoshop plugins.
pano12 library The underlying panorama library, currently used by several different panorama front-ends and command line programs. This may be called pano12.dll,, libpano12.dylib or pano12.lib depending on the operating system.

To make working with the panorama tools easier and to add functionality, many excellent software helpers and GUI front-ends to PanoTools, some free and some commercial, have been written, which in many cases make interacting directly with the programs in the original PanoTools toolset unnecessary. See the software page to learn more.