The Panorama Factory 64-Bit Edition
The Panorama Factory x64 Edition has finally been released. 64-bit processing enables The Panorama Factory to create images that are nearly 1000 times larger than the maximum under Windows XP on a 32-bit processor. This version runs on single- and multi-processor computers, delivering improved stitching speed on multi-processor systems (including multi-core systems) by performing image computations in parallel.
The x64 Edition runs only on 64-bit processors with the x64 architecture such as AMD Athlon 64, AMD Turion 64, AMD Opteron, Intel Xeon with EM64T or Intel Pentium with EM64T.
You may download the x64 Edition here.
The Panorama Factory V3, by Smoky City Design, LLC, creates high-quality panoramas in an automated fashion from a set of overlapping digital images. It transforms (warps) the images in order to join them seamlessly into panoramas up to 360 degrees. You can add image hotspots, export to VR formats and create web pages that link your images into virtual tours. The software also corrects for lens-induced distortions and creates either cylindrical or spherical image projections.
Applications like The Panorama Factory are restricted by 32-bit architectures (such as the Pentium) that limit the amount of virtual memory available to the application. However, when ported to the x64 architecture, The Panorama Factory breaks the 32-bit barrier to create images that are essentially unlimited in size.
Many digital imaging applications, including The Panorama Factory, allocate a single, contiguous block of virtual memory to hold each uncompressed image during processing. As a consequence of running on a 32-bit architecture, the Windows operating system places a limit on the size of individual virtual memory allocations.
Under Windows 95, 98 and ME, the limit is approximately 254 megabytes. Under Windows NT4, 2000 and XP, the upper limit is slightly less than 1 gigabyte. In practice, as virtual memory becomes fragmented during the running of an application, the limit is often substantially lower than this, especially when two images must be held simultaneously in virtual memory.
When a user attempts to create a panoramic image whose size exceeds the capabilities of the Windows edition, they are informed that the software is “out of memory”. There is no doubt that the number of users with this problem is on the rise. The percentage of customer support requests about the "out of memory" problem has doubled in the past 12 months! This is a worrisome trend.
Under Windows XP, customers using 6 mega pixel cameras seem to begin having difficulty with the "out of memory" problem when stitching somewhere between 20 and 40 photos, depending on how they use The Panorama Factory. Customers using 12 or 14 mega pixel cameras can have problems with as few as 10 to 20 photos.
Digital camera resolution appears to be following a variation of Moore's Law, doubling every few years. However, the (theoretical) maximum capacity of consumer workstations has not increased since the introduction of 32-bit processors and 32-bit operating systems a decade ago. Digital photography in general and panoramic photography in particular are stretching the limits of the 32-bit architecture. Within a few years, photographers who purchase new prosumer cameras may find it impossible to make panoramas on a 32-bit computer!
In order to match the resolution increases in digital photography, applications like The Panorama Factory must either (1) implement their own paging schemes within the 32-bit architecture (a significant programming task) or (2) make the move to a 64-bit architecture.
The customer base for The Panorama Factory consists largely of people who
use a single computer for digital photography and also for less demanding
applications. It is doubtful that many of these customers would purchase a
64-bit computer that did not also support legacy 32-bit applications.
The Panorama Factory 64-Bit Edition is a native 64-bit application that runs on x64 processors. It makes use of the full 64-bit addressing available on these processors. Windows XP x64 Edition provides for a 1 terabyte (1000 gigabytes) addressing space. This permits The Panorama Factory to create images that are nearly 1000 times larger than the maximum under Windows XP on the Pentium.
The Panorama Factory x64 Edition breaks the 32-bit barrier to create images that are essentially unlimited in size!
Revised: January 16, 2011
© 1999-2011 Smoky City Design, LLC and John Strait