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Photoshop Elements 7 is packed with features to help amateur photographers with every stage of digital photo processing, from getting organized to sharing projects with family and friends. In Photoshop Elements 7 for Windows Essential Training, Jan Kabili shares workflow techniques for organizing, editing, creating projects, and sharing. She also demonstrates how to enhance photos with this budget-friendly software. Jan explains the latest updates to the Organizer and Editor workspaces, and also covers new features like the Smart Brush tool and Photoshop.com integration. Elements is very well known for its project features, and Jan shows how to create books, collages, panoramas, and more. Example files accompany the course.
Sometimes you want a photograph, a really wide scene, but you don't have a lens wide enough to take it all in. You can take a sequence of photos overlapping each one slightly, and then have Elements seamlessly stitch them all together for you in one continuous photo, a panorama. When you're shooting to make a panorama, here are a couple of hits. Put your camera on a tripod so that it remains steady as you rotate the camera body to take your sequence of pictures. If you don't have a tripod then put your camera on a flat surface, like a table or a wall or whatever is handy.
Another tip is if you have Autoexposure on in your camera, turn it off, because it will change the exposure automatically between shots and you'll see a difference from shot to shot in your panorama. Don't change the focal length of your lens in between shots either, and as you're shooting overlap each shot by about 30% or a third. That's usually enough information for Elements to successfully stitch the photos together. Now let's see how to make a panorama in Elements. I'm working in subfolder 13_04_panorama inside the chapter13 exercise files.
The first step is to select all the photos that you want to use. I'll click on the first file in this folder, hold the Shift key and click on the last. Notice that I've named each one of these files in sequential order, pana01, pana02, pana03, pana04, etcetera. That's a good idea when you're making a panorama so that all the files are in the right order initially in the Panorama dialog box. Now I'm going to go to the File menu at the top of the screen and choose New and Photomerge Panorama. I'm now working in the Organizer but you'll find this very same command in the Editor if you're working there.
When I release the mouse, Elements opens the Editor, opens all six of the files and opens the Photomerge dialog box. Here, I can choose to use the Open Files or a folder of files. I select Files and I click Add Open Files. All six of my files are now listed here. If I had named them in order and they came in here in an order that needed to be adjusted, I can click on any one of these and just drag it above another in this list. I'm going to leave the Layout at Auto. If I don't like the result I'll just come in and do it again, experimenting with some of these other layout options.
I'm going to click OK, and that causes Elements to begin to make the panorama for me. It's gone ahead and resized each of the photos and stitched together with its neighbor so that I can see the result better. I'm going to close the Task pane on the right by clicking on its border. I'll make sure I have the panorama selected and I'm going to double-click the hand tool to fit it on screen. Now of course, I don't want the scalloped edge on my final photo and I don't want to see the gray and white checkerboard that represents transparent pixels.
To fix that I'm going to select the Crop tool in the Toolbox. I'll come into the photo and click and drag, making my crop bounding box as big as it can be without going into the transparent pixels. When I'm done adjusting my bounding box, I'll click the green checkmark to commit the crop, and there is my panorama. Now this is only showing at 49% so you can imagine how big it really is and how impressive it will be when printed.
The next time you confront it with a grand scene like this one, which is my hometown of Boulder, Colorado. Try taking some photos for a panorama and let Elements stitch the photos together for you.
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