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Frequently Asked Questions
ImageAssembler 3

Downloads and Installation

General Information and Usage

Firewall Configuration

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I do not have, or I lost my serial number. How can I get it?

You should have received from our distributor an email containing your serial number.  This email is usually sent a few minutes after you placed your order.  If you can not find the email, you can get your serial number using the Lost Serial Number page on our site. After filling the form, your serial number will be emailed to you.

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I lost the installation file and I need to reinstall the software. How can I re-download it?

Registered users can re-download the application by using the Re-download Software page of our site.  A download link will be emailed to you.

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How do I activate a copy of ImageAssembler on a computer that is not connected to the Internet?

When a non-activated copy of ImageAssembler 3 is started, it shows the "Software Activation" dialog. Choose the option "Activate ImageAssembler using another computer that is connected to the Internet" in the dialog and click on the "Next" button. Use a computer that is connected to the Internet and go to the page  http://www.panavue.com/en/support/activation.aspx. Enter the serial number, the hardware key, and click on the "Generate" button to get the unlock code that will be used to activate the software. Enter the unlock code in the activation dialog and then click on "Next" to activate the software.

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What are flags used for?

In manual mode, flags are used to show PanaVue ImageAssembler how you want photos or scanned images to be stitched (in the automatic mode the flags are not used, they are disabled). With your mouse, simply click and drag a flag to some common detail lying on the overlapping part of two consecutive images. While it is possible to zoom in on the images to precisely position flags at the pixel level, this is rarely needed since the Flag Assistant can do the fine tuning for you.

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Photos look "bumpy" after stitching, is it normal?

This is what is called "warping", and a small amount of warping is essential if you want your photos to stitch perfectly. In a "Photo Stitching" project, warping is equivalent to projecting images inside a sphere.

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I don't know the focal length of my lens and the equivalent film format for my digital camera. How do I set these parameters?

PanaVue ImageAssembler provides a very simple way to find these parameters. You can do this in a "Lens Wizard" project. Follow these instructions: Create a new "Lens Wizard" project and add 2 or 3 consecutive overlapping photos in it (as you normally do). Place all the flags with your mouse (the "Flag Assistant" will help you), and execute the project. At the end of the execution, PanaVue ImageAssembler shows you the resulting image and gives you the parameters it used to build that image. You can now save these parameters and use them in a "Photo Stitching" project to stitch all your images!

The focal length and distortion will always be the same for a particular lens; these parameters do not change, they belong to the lens. The tilt angle (i.e. vertical angle) of the camera can obviously change from one group of photos to an other. You may read this angle directly on the tripod itself when you shoot a group of photos or run a "Lens Wizard" project to find it.

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How do I make QuickTime VR movies?

Every rectangular image can be saved as a QuickTime VR panorama as soon as it is wide enough with respect to its height. You simply save it and choose QuickTime .mov (or HTML QuickTime) format in the "Save as" box. But to create a perfect looking QuickTime panorama, follow these instructions: First, use a "Photo Stitching" project to stitch the photos. Choose the "Auto-Crop" and the "360 Wrapping" if appropriate. Execute the project and then as a QuickTime VR panorama or as HTML QuickTime to produce an HTML page containing a QuickTime image.

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Can I add hotspots on QuickTime movies?

PanaVue ImageAssembler is specialized in stitching. While it can create QuickTime VR panoramas ready for publishing on the web, it cannot edit those QuickTime movies to add features on them.

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If I move a project from one directory to another, will PanaVue ImageAssembler still find its related images?

As long as a project and its images lie in the same directory, there is no problem moving them around. When you open up an existing project, PanaVue ImageAssembler looks to see if the images are located where they are supposed to be (according to the project). If it cannot find them, it then looks in the project's actual directory. If it finds the images there, PanaVue ImageAssembler updates the project with the new image path.

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When I stitch multiple rows of panoramas in an "Image Stitching" project, I have difficulties getting a perfect stitch between the rows. How can I improve this?

As you have seen, stitching many rows of photos is a delicate task. To get the best results, we usually try to keep the optical center of the camera at the same location when doing a pan (rotating horizontally) or a tilt (rotating vertically). On a 32mm lens for example, the optical center is 32mm in front of the negative. The camera should rotate around the optical center. This is not a requirement, but it gives the best results, especially when shooting indoors. You can find some brackets in the industry that go between the tripod and the camera and will do just that. You can even use playing clay for children and do it yourself.

The other solution is to use a wider angle lens and turn the camera 90 degrees to shoot in portrait mode (instead of landscape). Then only a single row might be sufficient.

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I cannot create VR panoramas with QuickTime?

First, if you do not have the latest version of ImageAssembler, download the patch from our website. Next, check the help below corresponding to your specific version of QuickTime. Finally, take a look at the "Other reasons" paragraph below.

QuickTime 5 or 6
If you have QuickTime 5 or 6, check that every component you need has been installed, by doing the following:

In Windows' "Start" menu, go to the "Programs" submenu, click on "QuickTime", then on "QuickTime Updater". If there is an update available, you should install the update before continuing. You must be connected to the internet here because the updater will communicate with Apple's website.

In the updater window, click on the "Custom" button. You will see a list of QuickTime components. Components not installed are marked as "Not Installed", do not get confused here because components followed by "No" in this box simply means that no update is necessary, but they are effectively installed on your machine.

You should have at least the following components installed on your machine in order to produce QTVR Panoramas: QuickTime VR (QuickTime 5 only), QuickTime Essentials, QuickTime Internet Extras, QuickTime Still Image, and QuickTime Authoring. If some of these components are not installed, now is the right time to do it! Simply check the box and press "Update Now".

Other reasons
Here are some other reasons why you could not create a QuickTime:

  • Not enough free space on the hard disk where your "TEMP" folder is located.

  • The size ratio of the image is incorrect, image must be more wide than high (for example the width must be at least two times the height).

  • Too large image size. PanaVue ImageAssembler has the capacity to create images much bigger than what can handle QuickTime. You should first try to create QuickTimes from relatively small images, like images that are less than 1 MB when uncompressed.

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I cannot stitch my images because I run out of memory. How can I work around this?

PanaVue ImageAssembler uses your operating system (Windows) memory. So, you should set Windows to have sufficient virtual memory. Set the virtual memory to a high enough value. To stitch big images and take the most out of ImageAssembler, we suggest a value of at least 2 GB. Be sure there is at least 2 GB of free space on the hard disks used by Windows for storing memory (swapping)!

On Windows NT/2000/XP, you can set the  virtual memory in the Control Panel under "System". Be sure enough free space is available on the hard disks you specify. Spreading the memory on many different physical disks increases performance. On Windows 95/98/ME, you do not have to change the virtual memory setting in Control Panel/System; however, you must be sure there is sufficient free space on the disk where Windows is installed, because by default Windows will use this disk for storing virtual memory.

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How should I configure the scratch disks in order to assemble very larges images?

When PanaVue ImageAssembler is working on very large images it has to use temporary files on your hard disk because the information will not all fit in the physical memory.

You can configure the scratch disks using menu "File / Preferences... / Scratch Disk". You can add or remove hard disk in the list of disks that will be used as scratch disks. The dialog will give you an indication of the largest panorama that can be assembled with the current settings. If you have more than one hard disk, then it is recommended to specify them in the order of their available free space.

If you have many hard disks and they have sufficient free space, then for the best performance it is recommended to avoid using the drive on which the Windows' swap file is located.

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I want to save the images as jpeg, tiff, bmp or other image file formats, but all I can do is save in ..vst (or .xia) format. What is this format, and how can I save the images in the usual image formats?

ImageAssembler can open and save two types of files, "project files" in proprietary .vst format and "images files" in usual image file formats; jpeg, tiff, bmp, png, etc.

Project files describe the project with its option settings and the filename of the images. Projects are saved as .vst files, but they do not contain any image, just their names, to be able to reach and open them.

Image files are standard (bmp, jpeg, tiff, ...) formats. In order to save an individual image or the resulting image of a project, you can right click on it and then select "save image as" in the context menu, or you can press on the "Save Image" button on the upper toolbar (not to mix with the "Save Project" button), or the "Save Image As" item of the "File" menu. Any of these methods will give the same result.

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How many pictures should I shoot to make a 360 panorama with my lens?

Please refer to this chart.

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ImageAssembler freezes when I try to add some images to a project.

First, if you do not have the latest version of ImageAssembler, please download and install the latest update.

If the problem persists, it can be caused by a software incompatibility. There is a known incompatibility with Macro Magic, but possibly with other software as well. Closing the incompatible software usually solves the problem.

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Why is my firewall complaining that ImageAssembler is accessing the Internet?

ImageAssembler is using the Internet in the following cases:

  • To activate your license.
  • To send your software registration.
  • To send a bug report or a suggestion.
  • To check for software upgrade.
  • To navigate to PanaVue web site for online help.

Additionally, the license manager integrated in ImageAssembler is sending broadcast messages to your local network.  These messages are sent only to your local network if you have one.  They will never been sent to the Internet.

ImageAssembler will never send information on the Internet without your permission.

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How should I configure my firewall for using ImageAssembler?

ImageAssembler is using the TCP port 80(http) to send activation, registration and bug reports to PanaVue.

The private UDP port 2078 is used by the license manager integrated in ImageAssembler.  This port must be opened for both incoming and outgoing access on the local network only.  This port is never used to communicate outside the local network.

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Why is the window "Local Network License Verification Error" popping up every time the application is starting?

This window pops up when the license manager integrated in ImageAssembler is unable to send/receive broadcast message to your local network.

If you are using Windows Firewall, then simply click on the button Configure Firewall to have the firewall configured automatically.

If you are using another firewall, then you must configure your firewall to open the UDP port 2078 for both incoming and outgoing access on the local network only.

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Tips and Tricks

No. 1 - In a "Lens Wizard" project, to ensure the parameters computed are accurate, try if possible to distribute the flags over the overlapping region, placing some closer to the image corners.

No. 2 - On resulting images, use the Sharpen item from the Images menu. Click on that item as many times as desired. If you sharpen too much, try the Unsharpen item from the same menu.

No. 3 - In manual mode, if you cannot find a good stitching point to place a marker, zoom the image to a zoom factor of 200%. It will be much easier to find such a point.

No. 4 - To assemble a mosaic of photos (a mosaic is many rows and columns of photos), you should proceed in two steps. First, stitch photos by rows using a different "Panorama Stitching" project for each row. Save the resulting images with transparency. Tiff format allows for transparency. Second, stitch all the resulting images from step one (e.g. the rows) together with a "Mosaic Stitching" project. .

No. 5 - When you want to stitch a mosaic of photos, for a faster and more efficient work, you can start many PanaVue ImageAssembler windows. One window for each row. In each window you can create a project and position the markers. When ready, start the execution of every window.

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