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We have a tendency to take a wide view of the world around us, scanning the horizon for example. And so in some cases, you might want to photograph the world in that way. If you want to produce a panoramic image of very high resolution, so that you can produce a large print. Then you will often want to capture a series of image, panning across a landscape. And then assemble those images into a single composite panorama. While Lightroom doesn't include the ability to create a panorama directly, we can send images from Lightroom over to Photoshop in order to create that panorama.
I'll go ahead and click on the first image in the series of frames that we use to capture a panorama. And then I'll hold the Shift key and click on the last image in the series. Next I can chose Photo>Edit in and then merge to panorama in Photoshop. When I choose this option from the menu, if Photoshop was not already running it will be launched. And it will bring up the Photo merge dialog with the images I had selected already preloaded, as the images to be assembled. There are a variety of different options related to how you captured your panorama.
For example, did you stand in one spot and turn, or did you physically move around the subject etcetera. But in most cases I leave the options set to automatic, and that works pretty well. Photoshop is able to analyze the indivdial images, and determine the best way to process them in order to assemble them in a seamless way. And speaking of blending seamlessly, I'll generally want to keep the blend images together checkbox turned on. So that Photoshop will actually assemble all of the images included blending, layer masks to produce a more seamless final result.
Generally speaking I don't turn on vignette removal or geometric distortion correction. If you're using a lens that causes a lot of light fall-off, for example a wider angle lens, then you might want to use vignette removal. In order to adjust the individual frames so they'll blend a little bit better. The geometric distortion correction option can be good in terms of producing a final panorama that doesn't appear at all distorted. The problem is you'll then tend to need to crop rather heavily. So unless you capture the image relatively wide, you'll probably not want to take advantage of that option. But it is there if you would like to use it.
I'm going to leave these options as they are though and then I'll click OK. Photoshop will then process all of the individual frames. It will analyse those frames and figure out how to best blend them together into a single composite document. It will then create a layer mask for each of those frames so that it can blend those images together into a seamless, final image. A single image as it were, that consists of multiple layers in order to produce that final panorama. And you can see the process is complete here.
I have seven layers, each with its own layer mask. So, individual pieces of each of those photos are being blended together to create the final image. As is quite common, you'll see in this case I need to crop the image to get rid of some extra space along the edges due to a slight variation in alignment here. I'll go ahead and choose the Crop tool. And then I'll just drag each of the corners of the Crop tool inward a little bit, so that we're not seeing any of those transparent pixels. That checkerboard pattern around the outside of the image.
So dragging each of the corners in and examining very carefully. In fact, generally I would Zoom in a bit on the corners especially just to check that all four corners are inside the actual image area. I'll go ahead then and apply the Crop to this image, and with that Crop applied, I think I'm in good shape here. I could certainly continue adding additional adjustments if I wanted to. But in this case I'll call this a good starting point for my panorama. So I'll simply choose File > Save in order to update the file that has already been created for me ,and then I'll just close that image. I can then switch to Lightroom, and you'll notice that I have my composite panorama created for me.
So I still have the original frames that I used to create that panorama. But now I have the final assembled result. And this is a separate image being managed within Lightroom. Now I could use Lightroom to apply adjustments to the appearance of this image. But because this is a layer-based image, generally speaking I won't do that because I might want to go back to Photoshop. For example to clean up the layer mask if I found a little bit of an imperfection. And so if I want to change the appearance of this image, then I'll tend to go to the Photo menu and then choose Edit-in and Edit in Adobe Photoshop CS6.
I'll then choose the Edit Original option and that will open this image with all of its layers in tact in Photoshop. And at that point for example, I could apply additional adjustments that will effect the overall appearance of the image. And if I simply choose File > Save and then File > Close from the menu, the image will be saved and closed so that it is updated when I get back to Lightroom. As you can see Lightroom makes it very easy to interact with Photoshop, when it comes to assembling a composite panorama.
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