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Once your panoramic image is done, there are a few ways to get it ready for export. Let's first start about prepping the image and how you store it. In this case, I have my panoramic photo. Notice all the layers are intact. Now, there are some benefits to flattening the image, mainly from the point of view that it just becomes a smaller file. I've gone ahead and merged one of our panoramic photos from an earlier lesson. It has all its layers intact, so let's choose Save. I could choose to save as a large Photoshop file, hence the PSB format. And let's store this.
There we go. It's a very large file with all the layers intact. So it takes some time to save. The good news here is that you have flexibility. The bad news is, is that everything you do will take longer. So as you modify the file, and you go to save it. It could be difficult. You also don't have the ability to easily run filters across all the images and get consistent results. That document, with layers intact, 2.23 gigabytes.
So, should you flatten? Well, that's really up to you. Typically, since I have all the source images, I'll go ahead and flatten. But if you're a bit non-committal there is a middle ground. Now that we have the layer selected, I can go ahead and convert those to a single smart object. It will nest them into an individual layer and that layer can have several of the filters applied to it. However, this will only make the file size even bigger. Let's save that to capture the changes.
Saving that as a smart object blossomed the file size all the way out to three gigabytes. As an interim solution if you're working and you want flexibility. This is fine but eventually it behooves you to start to actually make decisions. Because I have all the source files I'm going to go ahead and flatten this image, and then I can work with it again as a smart object if I need to make adjustments but I'm not that concerned about keeping all the individual panels since those are already stored on my drive. Let's merge this here. I'll choose Layer > Flatten Image, and we can save that.
Notice much snappier behavior, and that image is going to go from three gigabytes down to a much more respectable 890 megabytes. I highly recommend you save your individual raw images or TIF files that you're using to make the panoramic photo. And then, of course, save the actual panoramic image. But at some point you can clean house a bit and get rid of all those layered files and interim renders that you've created.
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