Tuesday, January 1, 2013
Try photoshop’s photomerge to create some panoramic magic
Labels: How To
Even though I've been using Adobe Photoshop for 20 or so years, and have been teaching the program in my workshops for about 10, I'm still amazed by its capabilities. The opening image for this column is one example.
I created it from six images taken with my Canon EOS 5D Mark III and Canon 24-105mm IS lens. I stitched the images together in Photoshop's Photomerge, and then cut and pasted a rider from my series of pictures into my pano. As a final step, I tweaked the color and contrast for a totally cool effect—all in about 10 minutes.
But first, I want to thank one of my Alaska workshop students, Ted Maddux, for giving me the idea. He used this technique for an awesome bald eagle pano, which you can check out on my blog: tinyurl.com/eagle-pano.
1 | This screen grab of Adobe Bridge shows my original six images. Well, almost. I actually converted my RAW files to JPEGs using Photoshop's Image Processor (Bridge > Select All Images > Photoshop > Tools > Image Processor) to speed up my pano processing time. Processing a series of JPEGs is way faster than processing a series of RAW files.
You also need to set your white balance to the existing lighting conditions such as Sunny, Cloudy, etc. An auto setting might result in different color images.
The next step in getting a good pano is to overlap your pictures by about one-third of the frame. You also need to hold your camera vertically because parts of the top and bottom of the final pano will be cropped out in the stitching process. Finally, try to keep the horizon line as level as possible. A tripod would help, but you can shoot a pano handheld, as illustrated by my motocross pano.
2 | After your photo session, it's time to make your pano. In Photoshop, go to File > Automate > Photomerge. Once in Photomerge, select your files as you would select any files on your computer. Leave the Layout set to Auto.
Additionally, you'll notice that in most cases it looks as though all the frames weren't used. That's also normal because Photoshop is more interested in stitching and blending than in using all the parts of all your images.
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