Top 8 Panorama Editing Software Alternatives to PTGui

PTGui is a leading editing software for stitching 360/panoramic photos, compatible with Windows and Mac OS X. Short for Panorama Tools Graphic User Interface, it has a basic interface catered to beginners and more advanced options for professionals, making it one of the most versatile editing options. In spites of its simple UI and lightening-fast, it doesn’t come without flaws (don’t we all). Here we collected some of the best alternatives to PTGui in case this software isn’t working out for you.

Why, you ask?

3 main reasons:

  1. If you own a Mac and have just upgraded your OS to High Sierra, bad news: PTGui doesn’t support High Sierra yet.
  2. The free version of PTGui produces stitches with conspicuous watermarks.
  3. PTGUI only recognizes series of HDR images by them having identical FNO and shutter speed, and if your camera was on auto when your HDR series was taken, you might have to edit them manually. Tough breaks.

Note: PTGui offers a Pro subscription, which has additional features that support HDR stitching, masking, viewpoint correction and vignetting, exposure and white balance correction. For a more detailed comparison between PTGui and PTGui Pro, refer to this chart made by PTGui.

1. Autopano Pro/Giga, Windows & Mac, Free trial + € 99 for Pro/€ 199 for Giga, with additional education pricing policies

Kolor Autopano boasts possibly the best algorithms on the market. The Pro uses essentially the same algorithms as Giga; however, In addition to supporting GigaPan, Merlin and Panogear heads, Giga includes support for Clauss motorized heads. Neutralhazer filters, distortions and HDR are integrated.

Autopano has better control point editing than PTGui. Masking could go both ways, PTGui uses a paint method vs Autopano is a little vague with just stamping points on various areas. Cropping on PTGui is stupid, Autopano wins here with easily selecting the image and setting rotation values. The Autopano interface is much more refined, PTGui is just littered with windows and a bit clumsy.

You can read Autopano’s official user guide here, and download the full-length user manual here. For more help with Autopano, visit Kolor’s forum and submit a topic.

Here’s a detailed comparison video of Autopano and PTGui:

2. Adobe Photoshop — Photomerge, Windows & Mac

For Photomerge to perfectly stitch your images, make sure there’s sufficient overlap between images, which can be improved by using a pano head or a tripod. Adobe also just announced the release of Photoshop 2018 with better 360 compatibilities.

Adobe’s breakdown of stitching 360 photos with Photomerge:

Choose File > Automate > Photomerge.

  • In the Photomerge dialog box, add the images you want to use. Do not include images that cover the top (zenith) or bottom (nadir) of the scene. You’ll add these images later.
  • Select Spherical for the Layout. Note: If you photographed with a fisheye lens, select the Auto layout and Geometric Distortion Correction. If Photoshop cannot automatically identify your lens, download the free Adobe Lens Profile Creator from the Adobe website.
  • (Optional) Select Vignette Removal or Geometric Distortion for the Lens Correction; Content-Aware Fill Transparent Areas to avoid transparent pixels on the edges of the panoramic image.
  • Choose 3D > New Shape From Layer > Spherical Panorama.
  • (Optional) Manually add the top and bottom images into the sphere. You could also paint out any remaining transparent pixels in the 3D spherical panorama layer.

3. Hugin, Windows & Mac, Free

Being a freeware, Hugin is developed with the same open-source code as many paid professional tools. It accounts for your camera model and its lens shape to reduce image distortion as much as possible, so loading the information on your camera and lens into the software will help it optimize your output. You can load and save data on multiple lenses and apply them to a single project.

One thing that’s not as intuitive as PTGui about Hugin is that it needs you to manually select a series of corresponding locations between each overlapping pair of images, to be able to calculate the best way to align your photos. Click on a shared feature on the two overlapping images will generate a control point pair. One pair of images typically requires 3–4 control points. There will be an error message popup if you try aligning images without setting up the control points first.

For more details, read this workflow guide by Sourceforge.

4. Pano2VR 5.2/Pro, Windows & Mac, €99

Pano2VR is very easy to use while still offers lots of great functions. You can create interactive panoramas, virtual tours, integrate maps, links and media. The software also features gyro support on iPad or Android tablets. That being said, Pano2VR has a steeper learning curve than some of the other VR software because of its reliance on text-based coding to accomplish many of the actions within the skin editor. Although improved through its updates, to ultimately have a high level of flexibility, creators are expected to possess a certain degree of coding knowledge.

Read Pano2VR’s basic workflow if you need any help wrapping your head around the software, or log onto their forum to discuss your issues with other users.

5. Microsoft Image Composite Editor, Windows, free

With ICE, your stitched panorama can be saved in a wide variety of formats, including common formats such as JPEG and TIFF, as well as multi-resolution tiled formats, such as HD View and Silverlight Deep Zoom. It also allows multi-resolution upload to the Microsoft Photosynth site.

ICE Interface

ICE Autocomplete Toggle

6. Easypano Panoweaver, Windows & Mac, $149.95 / €149.95 for Standard Edition, $399.95 / €379.95 for Professional Edition

The software auto-stitches, supports full 360-degree for cylindrical and spherical (or even cubic) panoramas. It also features multimedia output, such as scrollable QuickTime (QTVR), Flash, standalone SWF, Java and now HTML5 (Safari only) for computers, and even multimedia devices such as the iPad.

Panoweaver might be just up the alley for multimedia users, but risk failing to please those who are looking for a software to make standard flat panorama prints with.

Click here to access Panoweaer’s knowledge base.

7. ArcSoft Panorama Maker, Windows & Mac, $6.12

On Panorama Maker’s interface, to the left is a tree-structured view of the computer, allowing users to quickly locate the images that they want to work with. After choosing the images you want to stitch, the program gives users the option of manually adjusting the alignment points and blend. You can also add frames and texts to your images, but unfortunately, there aren’t many customizable settings.

A variety of formats, sizes, and print are supported by the program: RAW (Canon, Nikon, Epson, Fuji, Kodak, Olympus, Panasonic, Pentax, Sony, Leica and so on), HTML (flash panorama), MOV (QTVR panorama), JPEG, JPG, CR2, and NEF.

You can try the software for free, but your image will be saved as 1/16 of its original quality.

8. Panorama Plus Starter Edition/X4, Windows, $12.99

Panorama Plus is developed by Serif (Now Affinity), featuring an intuitive workflow and easy-to-use correction tools.

The PanoramaPlus Starter Edition can stitch your images together automatically. It’s fast to process, with an easy-to-zoom preview for you to scroll around your creation before exporting it. PanoramaPlus Starter Edition is limited to JPEG export (3000×3000 pixels max). Unlike the full version, it does not support RAW files.

Any thoughts and comments? Please post in the comment section below, we’d love to have a conversation!

360, 360 Photos, 360 Software, 360 Videos, Panorama, panoramic photos, Software, VeeR, Virtual Reality, VR, VR videos


Originally published at veer.tv on October 21, 2017.