Super Cubic is a collection of Photoshop filters that help the retouching of spherical/equirectangular panoramas. The filters will turn the top and bottom (zenith and nadir) of your panorama into flat planes that are easily edited. You then turn the retouched parts back onto your panorama to complete the job.
Unzip the filters to your Photoshop plug-in folder, usually at C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop\Plug-ins\. The filters will appear in the filter menu under the "SuperRune Filters" category.
The filters are Windows only, and will only work with the 32-bit version of Photoshop. I hope a future version will support Mac OSX, 64-bit Windows and float images, but it depends on the development of FilterMeister.
Here's a brief description on how to use the filters.
First some info on my setup. I shoot my panoramas using a Nikon 10.5mm fisheye lens on my full frame Canon camera. I only shoot three angles, using my Manfrotto 300N to get an accurate 120 degree separation. This is what is called a single-row panorama, since I do not shoot any photos of what is straight above or straight below.
The image below show a typical panorama from my setup, after it has been compiled in PTGui. There are missing pieces at the top and bottom of the panorama. That is what my plugin will help you fix.
With the panorama loaded into Photoshop, the first thing to do is to duplicate the pano image onto a new layer. We will work on a copy of the image, and not do anything that could degrade our original panorama. As you see in the screenshot above, I have named the duplicate layer accordingly.
With this duplicate layer selected, go to the filter menu and select the '1: SuperCubic...' filter from the 'SuperRune Filters' category. To make the workflow easier, I have numbered the plugins. So the 1: plugins are the one you run first, followed by the 2:s.
Note that there's also a filter called '1: SuperCubic Express...' which will use use your saved settings and apply the filter without any preview window. This version of the plugin is perfect for doing a conversion inside a Photoshop action.
Above you see the filter preview window. There are a couple of options inside the window that you should play around with. If you like, you can choose to only extract the top or the bottom of your panorama. There are also settings for the projection angle and for spinning/rotating the projection itself. You can also change the interpolation type if you want. Hold down shift while you move the sliders, and you can see the preview update as you make adjustments. We will go with the defaults for now, press the 'Reset' button to make sure you are using the default settings.
Click 'OK' and the filter will start working.
Here's the result of the filter, with the zenith (top) and nadir (bottom) of your panorama nicely mapped out for you. We will do our retouching on a new layer, so create a blank layer over the duplicate layer. This will be our paint layer, and as you see I have even named it 'paint layer'.
Now use all your Photoshop magic and trickery to cover the holes in your panorama. If you had time on location and photographed the top and bottom, you can even copy portions of those photos and paste them into your paint layer. But in this example, its just as good to paint them out.
I tend to only use the clone and healing brush tools to edit my panoramas. Remember to set the clone tool to 'Sample All Layers' from the options at the top of the screen.
Above is the result of my Photoshop work. For the floor part, I used a clone brush to remove the tripod legs, and then I wiped away the center piece of the tripod with a healing brush. For the roof, I just used the eyedropper to pick a surrounding colour and simply painted away the offending hole.
Now we will take our paint layer and convert it back to the original panorama mapping. If you have several paint layers, remember to merge them into a single layer. Make sure the paint layer is selected, and select the '2: SuperCubic Reverse...' filter from the 'Superrune Filters' category.
There are a couple of options here as well. These options are the same as the previous conversion, and the filter will start by loading your previous settings. Please note that if these settings don't match the previous conversion, the remapped layer won't match your panorama. There is also a blend slider here to fade out your painted layer. Again, we'll leave everything as it is.
Press OK, and the zenith/nadir is converted back to their original spherical mapping.
Now hide or delete the duplicate layer, you don't need it anymore. If you turn on and off the paint layer, you can see the areas where you have retouched the panorama. And if you look carefully, only areas where you have painted will be updated - the rest is unchanged. By doing it this way, most of the original panorama is kept, ensuring you don't degrade your pixels by converting back and forth. Do some final edits and retouches if you want, and finally you can merge all the layers into a single image.
You are done! Next panorama, please!
- Fixed a bug in the remapping code that created an erroneous pixel row at image left. Thanks to Mike for reporting this.
September 18 2008, Version 1.1.2:
- Recompile with the latest FilterMeister binaries. As a result, the filter is much more memory efficient, and can process really huge images.
July 19 2007, Version 1.1:
- The filters will save their settings to a file called spherecubic.ini, to make sure the settings are remembered. The settings file will be saved in the same folder as the plugins.
- Added options to only extract Zenith or Nadir.
- Added options to rotate/spin the projection. This is very handy if you want to line up floor boards or other linear patterns.
- Added 'Express' versions of the filters for quick conversions without any options. These are ideal if you want to use the filters inside Photoshop actions.
July 10 2007, Version 1.0.1:
- Projection is adjusted through an angle slider, instead of plane distance. This is more logical for non-3D users. Thanks to my brother Ruben for helping me out with the math on that one :)
- Sphere to Cubic progress bar counts up once and not twice.
July 8 2007, Version 1.0:
- First public version.
- The plugins do not work with float images. I will be able to support float as soon as FilterMeister does.
- The plugins do not work in OSX or with 64-bit versions of Photoshop. Again, this is a limitation of FilterMeister.
- The plugins are memory hungry, they use about three times as much RAM as the images themselves take. On my old 3Gb machine I hit the roof at panoramas with a width of 50000 pixels. Again, a limitation of FilterMeister.
- The plugins will not work on multiple layers. This is a Photoshop limitation.
These filters are provided as-is, no responsibility will be held for the loss of files and system data while working with these filters. The filters should not be resold or redistributed in any way.
Thanks to the creators of FilterMeister and thanks to everybody on the FilterMeister support forum.