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Go beyond the automatic editing features in Adobe Photoshop Elements and find out how to make sophisticated edits using the program's Expert Edit mode. In this course, author, teacher, and photographer Jan Kabili explores the core features of the Expert Edit mode, from making exposure adjustments, retouching, and compositing images, to adding text. The course also takes a close look at adjusting photos with Adobe Camera Raw, included with Elements 11.
You may have been in a situation like this one that we ran into the other day when we were out shooting and saw a gorgeous open vista, but found that the lens that we had with us was just not wide enough to capture the entire thing in one shot. The next time that happens to you, try making multiple overlapping shots of a scene and then use Elements' Photomerge technology to stitch those shots together for you, as I'll show you in this movie. I'm going to close this finished panorama and I'm going to show you how I made it, starting in Expert edit by going up to the Enhance menu and down to Photomerge and over to Photomerge Panorama.
Here in the Photomerge window, I'll go to the Source Files area and I'll browse for the files that I want to use in the panorama. When I find them I'll select them all. Now before I open these into the panorama workspace I want to tell you a little bit about how we shot these photos for the panorama. We set the focus and the exposure settings on the camera to manual so they wouldn't change automatically across photos. We didn't happen to have a tripod with us, so we shot handheld, which is fine for panoramas, just trying to keep the camera as level as possible.
We made five overlapping shots, although the number of shots you include is up to you. And we turned the camera slightly between the photos, trying to overlap each shot by around 25% to 30%. We used landmarks that we saw through the Viewfinder to estimate the overlap. So that's how we got the photos. Now with the photos selected, I'm going to click OK, and that lists those photos here in the Photomerge window. Next, I'll go over to the Layout area to choose a layout method, which is the way that Elements will position and in some cases transform the images so they fit together.
Now sometimes the default auto layout will give you an acceptable result, but when you've got a really wide scene with an horizon or another element that you want to keep straight, Auto doesn't always give you the best result. In that case I like to start by trying Cylindrical. So I'll select that, and if I don't like the result I get I'll undo and come back and start again, experimenting with some of these other layout choices, like Auto. Down at the bottom of this window I'll make sure that Blend Images Together is checked, to try to get a seamless blend at the edges where the photos meet.
If we'd used a very wide-angle lens to capture these photos, I'd also want to check vignette removal and geometric distortion correction, to try to avoid the vignetting and distortion problems you sometimes get with a wide-angle lens, but these photos weren't shot with a very wide-angle lens so it's not necessary to check those boxes. And now I'll click OK. In just a few seconds Elements will create an initial panorama and it will ask if I want to automatically fill in the edges of the panorama. What it's referring to are these areas where you see a gray and white checkerboard, indicating transparent pixels at the edges of the initial panorama.
These transparent pixels are a result of Elements trying to align the individual images, and that left these gaps around the edges of the panorama. I'll usually go ahead and click Yes here to see if I like the result. If I don't, I'll undo, and instead of trying to fill in these edges I'll crop them away, and I'll show you that option in a moment too. But let's see if Elements can fill in the edges for us in this image. It did a pretty good job across most of the image, I do see some stray pixels up here that don't look right and some of the bottom as well, as well as at the top of the tree over here.
Now I could take the time to get the Clone Stamp Tool and try to retouch these areas with pixels from neighboring areas, so that's one option. Another option is to crop away the pixels that I don't like, or even to back up to before Elements tried to fill in these gaps and do some cropping at that point. So I'm going to do that so you can just see what it looks like. I'll press Ctrl+Z, that's Command+Z on the Mac, a few times, to backup just before this Undo Stamp Visible step. These are the steps that Elements took when it filled in those transparent pixels for me.
And this time I'll go down and get the Crop Tool and I'll move into the image and I'll click and drag out a crop boundary. The crop boundary will try to snap to the invisible grid behind this image. So I'm going to have to sacrifice not only the transparent pixels, but a bit of the image as well, in order to get those cropped boundaries inside of the image area and not include any of the transparent pixels at the top and bottom and at the left and right edges. When I've set the crop boundary, I'll click the green checkmark to commit the crop, and there is my resulting panorama.
At this point all that's left to do is just save the image. Now this is a very big file, so keep in mind that if you're looking at this image at a 100%, it would be quite big, and it will make a really impressive print to frame and put on the wall. Letting Elements stitch multiple photos into a panorama like this is a great way to get an impressive photo of a wide vista, but don't forget that you can also use the Photomerge Panorama feature in Elements to piece together a tall scene or even multiple scans of a photo that was too big for your scanner bed.
So have fun experimenting with Elements Photomerge Panorama feature in all these situations.
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