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Tone Mapping Persona isn't 360 aware and creates unwanted stitch line

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Hi, I'm new to this forum, but not to image editing;

Importing a single equirectangular image stitched in PTGui in order to adjust levels and remove tripod, when the Tone Mapping Persona is selected and 'natural' has been applied, often I can find a resulting stitch line in the seam when Layer>Equirectangular Projection is selected.

This leads to a 'broken' image sphere as it cannot be viewed nicely in 360. 

The image editor needs to be aware that when image adjustments are being made to a 360 image that the neighbouring pixels are at the opposing side of the 2:1 image and need to be merged to achieve a consistent result.

Thanks for looking into this; Now that Photoshop has removed some 360 image editing support, I guess more users will look to Affinity for support.

stitchline Screenshot 2021-10-02 152858.png

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Welcome to the forum.

Sorry to hear about your issues.

Did not happen for me. Have you checked that edge before starting tone map?

In some cases, you need to manually adjust the stitching edge first, e.g. by inpainting. Tone mapping amplifies any existing imbalance, but normally doesn't create any out of the blue.

To check, it would be great if you can upload the source file - reduced to 360x180 px would be sufficient for this purpose.

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Hi @NotMyFault thanks for your response,

The source comes off PTGui which is professional software for Panorama / 360 sphere creation. The exported 16bit TIFFs are fine, and show little to no seam line issues compared to the effect that Affinity Photo produces. (PS, you can use PTGui viewer to look at those in 360..)

To replicate: I have uploaded both, the original PTGui export 16-bit TIFF (which comes from 2x90degree offset HDR DNG from Theta Z1, slightly tone mapped) ~200MB, and the exported Affinity Photo TIFF (130MB, which has been through 'Tone Mapping Persona' - default settings, plus tripod inpainting.)

You can see the below result is more than just a little bit of emphasis of an existing imbalance; I believe Affinity Photo isn't 360 aware when it comes to correction, as it will not look at the pixels 'from the other side' the image edge.

I am having the same issues in my normal image editor (sorry, but yes this is CaptureOne) and my alternative which I use for denoising (ON1). I have recently moved to Affinity Photo because of the apparent better inpainting whilst being able to deal with equirectangular projections (however, in a very rudimentary and cumbersome way). But next best opportunity for those like me that don't like the Adobe way.

PS, since then, I can also replicate similar behaviour when using the 'Develop Persona', especially when heavy grading is involved.

Might just be a simple fix, where a little click button 'this is a panorama' could make this go away, or better, do it in the background after a 2:1 check..


result below:


stitchline 243 Screenshot 2021-10-03 104517.png

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@AVsupport you haven't mentioned anything about 32-bit TIFFs, are you stacking multiple exposures to create an HDR panorama? If so, then yes, you will require tone mapping. If not, however, I would stay away from tone mapping and use adjustment layers/live filters instead to adjust your tones. You've only mentioned using 16-bit TIFFs so it sounds like you are just using bounded SDR imagery.

Affinity Photo's Tone Mapping persona is not seam-aware. I have however released some non-destructive HDR tone mapping macros that are seam aware and work well with 360 HDR imagery. The results are typically more natural than using the Tone Mapping persona and are applied as a group of layers, so you can tweak the parameters at any time. There's a preview on Instagram here: https://www.instagram.com/p/CNxsBVpj5hr/

Hope the above helps!

Product Expert (Affinity Photo) & Product Expert Team Leader

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Thanks @James Ritson the Meister himself to chime in, really appreciated! 

I haven't mentioned 32-Bit TIFFS because I'm not really using those even though I could.. My sources from the 'normal shooting mode' are single 16Bit linear HDR DNGs stitched, they are not exposure brackets. [ Although when I do really hardcore HDR work I would resort to the Dual Fisheye Plugin which also writes single DNGs up to +/-9stop but these are internally merged into 16Bit float (DNGv1.4) which works great in Affinity (congratulations, you're just about the only one) In which case I could perhaps use 32BitTIFF /HDR or EXR.]

When I merge those 'normal' HDR images (I to a 90degree rotation to mask myself out and avoid bad stitchlines) I spit out 16Bit TIFF. When I work with those RAW images in PTGui they appear really dark, and using it's internal 'Tone Mapping' is a fast and easy way to roughly adjust exposure/highlights/shadows to roughly where they should be, but it's not enough for good looks.

In order to achieve a fast workflow (editing 360s can be a real timewaster, especially when doing HDR!), I tried using the Affinity Tone Mapping on top of what's already done because it does give quick good-enough-for-Google-Maps results with what I throw at it. But not if it isn't -like the Develop Module- not seam-aware.

I will try your suggestion with the macros, thank you, and report back.

@NotMyFault, even though I can no longer see your post apart from my email notification: thanks for your suggestions also! 

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Just had a quick look at those 'Tone Mapping Macros V2'; I can use those, if I export EXR and load the image into Affinity it looks quite flat at first (I guess that's to be expected); but I also do see some noise, which, if I did notice, would get rid off by using ON1 NoNoiseAI 21; however, cannot do this with EXR 😞

So far, best results I can achieve with 'Vibrant' Preset; However, that brings the 'tweaking' element back into the picture, which I wanted to reduce: the 'work' in workflow. 

Let me summarize, if I understand this correctly, only the 'Photo Persona' is 360 seamline aware, all the other Personas are not?

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It is a problem whenever you use any tone mapping or develop features in Affinity. It is not edge aware and doesn't work with 360 images.

The method mentioned in this post  works, but it is at best an awkward process and adds a lot to the workflow.  I really wish there was an easier method.

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Couldn't agree more @tRglet, there is really no good solution out there (That's not Adobe)  that can easily grade 360. The 'equirectangular projection' feature is so far the best start I've seen, but falls short of actual userfriendliness, and since you cannot use any of the other modules, it's relatively useless apart from painting out tripods... 


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  • 11 months later...

SO, are Affinity going to add a '360 Seam-Aware' function in the Tone Mapping Persona anytime soon? This is a glaring omission considering the native 32bit support....

I'd rather use Affinity Photo as a 1-stop shop, rather than having to jump to Photomatix Pro for the tone mapping of 32bit 360 panoramas...

Edited by pixelpusher
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