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Photoshop Elements 8 for Windows Essential Training highlights the important features of this comprehensive image organization and photo enhancement application. Photographer Jan Kabili shows how to use Photoshop Elements to organize and edit photos, build photos into projects like slideshows and photo books, and share photos with family and friends. Jan explains how to train Photoshop Elements 8 to recognize and tag faces, use the Smart Brush for targeted adjustments, and share photos using Adobe's online service, photoshop.com. She also dives deep into the application's editing tools, which rival those of the full product, Photoshop, in their ability to take snapshots and turn them into great photos. Exercise files accompany the course.
Sometimes you want to photograph a really wide scene but you don't have a lens that's wide enough to take it all in. You can take a sequence of photos that overlap slightly and then have Elements seamlessly stitch them altogether for you into one wide or tall continuous photo, a panorama. When you're shooting to make a panorama, here are a couple of hints. One, put your camera on a tripod so 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 Auto-exposure on in your camera, turn it off, because it will change the exposure automatically between the shots and you'll see a difference from shot to shot in the panorama. Another tip, don't change the focal length of your lens in between shots and finally, as you're shooting overlap each shot by about 30% or a third in the viewfinder. That's usually enough information for Elements to successfully stitch the succeeding photos together. Now let's see how to make a panorama in Elements when you have multiple photos to work with.
As a first step, I'll select all the photos that I want to use in the panorama here in the Organizer. I'll click on the first one here and then I'll hold the Shift key and click on the last to select all six of these photos. Notice by the way that I've named each one of these photos in sequential order, pano1, pano2, pano3 and so forth. That's a good idea when I'm 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 up to the File menu at the top of the Organizer and I'm going to choose New and then from there, I'm going to choose Photomerge Panorama.
That launches the Editor, opens all six of the photos and opens the Photomerge dialog box. In the Use menu, I can choose to use the open files or a folder full of files. I have the files open so I'll leave that set to Files and I'll click Add Open Files. And that lists the six open photos here in the Source Files field. If these weren't in the correct order, I could click on any one of them and drag it to a different spot in this list, but they are in the order that I want because I did name them sequentially.
Over here on the left, I can choose the formula that Elements is going to use to merge the six images together into a panorama. I usually start leaving this at Auto and if I don't like the results, I'll come back in and do it again with one or more of these other choices. Now I'm ready to have Elements make the panorama, so I'll just click OK and that causes Elements to stitch the photos together, resizing each one so that it matches the others, and you can see the result here in the document window. Of course, I don't want this scalloped edge against the transparent pixels, so to fix that I'm going to use the Crop tool from the toolbar.
I'll select the Crop tool, I'll go up to the Options bar for the Crop tool, and if there are any numbers in the Width and Height fields, I'm going to highlight those and delete. I also want the Aspect Ratio set to No Restriction. Then I'll come into the image and I'll click and drag a bounding box that encompasses just the photo and none of the transparent pixels and I want to watch all my corners to make sure I don't have any transparent pixels there. I think I can move the bottom down a bit by clicking on the anchor point and dragging down.
When I'm satisfied, I'll click this green check mark and that crops my new panorama to fit in this document window. So that you can see it without all of the photos open behind it, I'm going to go to the top right of the document window for the panorama and click that Maximize button, which maximizes the view of just the selected panorama here in Elements. Notice that the zoom level is set to only 46% right now. So you can imagine that if this were at 100%, it would be a really impressive image. The next time that you are confronted with a grand scene like this one, which is my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, try taking some photos for a panorama and then let Elements stitch the photos together for you.
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