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Photoshop Elements 8 for Mac Essential Training highlights the important features of this comprehensive image editing application. Photographer Jan Kabili shows how to use Photoshop Elements 8, along with its companion program, Bridge CS4, to organize and edit photos, build projects like web galleries and photo collages, and share photos with family and friends. Jan 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. In that case, I suggest that you take a sequence of photographs overlapping each one slightly, maybe by about a third or 33% and then have Elements seamlessly stitch them altogether for you in one continuous photo, a panorama. When you're shooting to make a panorama, I suggest that you put your camera on a tripod so that it remains steady as you rotate the camera to take the sequence of pictures.
If you don't have a tripod, then put the camera on a flat surface. Also, turn off Auto Exposure, so that the exposures don't change as you move the camera between shots, and also, don't change the focal length in between shots if you're working with a telephoto lens. So I followed those rules when I took these photos of the Rocky Mountains here in Boulder, Colorado. I am working in Adobe Bridge CS4, where I am going to start making this panorama. I am going to select the first of these images and then I am going to hold the Shift key and select the last, to select all of those in between.
Notice that I went ahead and renamed each one of the images, so that the names contain numerals in sequential order from 1 through 6. With the six images selected, I'll go up to the tools menu in Bridge and I'll choose Photoshop Elements and then I'll go down to Photomerge Panorama. That switches me over to Photoshop Elements and opens all six of the images in the Full Edit workspace. It also opens the Photomerge dialog box here. I am going to be using Files rather than a Folder, so I'll leave the Use menu set to Files and because all the files are currently open in Elements, I'll click the Add Open Files button here and that gives me a list of the six open files here in the middle of the Photomerge dialog box.
The only other thing to do here is to choose a Layout method. I usually start with the Automatic Layout method and if that doesn't give me a result that I like, I'll try these other methods, until I find one that does give me a result that I think is the right one. So with the Auto Layout selected, I am going to go over and click the OK button and Elements goes ahead and brings all six of those images into a brand new image, blending them altogether into a wide panoramic photo and here is the result.
If you look in the LAYERS panel for this panoramic photo, you can see that there are six layers, one for each of the photos that make up the panorama and that each of the layers has a layer mask on it on which Elements has applied some black paint to blend the six images together. Now in this document window you can see that the edges of the panorama are not even and there are some gray and white pixels around the edges that indicate transparency. I want to trim all of that away, so I am going to get the Crop tool in the toolbox.
I am going to come into the image and I am going to click-and-drag out a crop-bounding box. I can then fine-tune that bounding box by moving my mouse over any of the borders and dragging, and I want to be careful not to include any of the transparent pixels when I do that. I think that looks just about right. So I am going to accept the crop by clicking this green checkmark and now all that's left to do is to save this panorama, like any file. I would probably save a master copy in the PSD or Photoshop Document format and then if I wanted another copy maybe to put online, I might save a copy in the JPEG format.
So the next time you're faced with a situation like this where you have a really wide scene that you want to photograph, consider taking a sequence of photographs and then using Photomerge Panorama to join them all together into a wide panoramic photo here in Photoshop Elements.
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