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Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend


Photoshop CS5 Essential Training

with Michael Ninness

Video: Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend

The Photomerge feature in Photoshop has gotten so good that you really don't have to be all that precise or perfect when you take your series of shots you want to stitch together for your panorama. Now, of course, if you use a tripod and take careful steps to make sure you overlap and stitch by 30% from frame to frame to frame, you'll get better results. But I am going to show here, Photoshop can do some pretty good work just with the hand-held series of shots, which is what this is. This is a picture of a building in Vienna, and we want to go ahead and merge this into a single panoramic image. We are in Bridge right now.
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  1. 6m 10s
    1. Welcome
      1m 47s
    2. What is Photoshop?
      2m 49s
    3. Using the exercise files
      1m 34s
  2. 28m 29s
    1. What is Adobe Bridge?
      1m 54s
    2. Getting photos from a camera
      3m 39s
    3. A tour of the different workspaces in Adobe Bridge
      4m 58s
    4. Customizing how thumbnails are displayed
      3m 35s
    5. Changing obscure camera file names with the Batch Rename command
      2m 36s
    6. Adding basic metadata to every image with metadata templates
      3m 36s
    7. Creating and applying keywords to images
      4m 6s
    8. Viewing images in Full Screen Preview mode
      4m 5s
  3. 23m 4s
    1. Using Review mode to filter out rejects
      5m 27s
    2. Protecting the keepers by saving them in collections
      3m 18s
    3. Rating images
      3m 15s
    4. Using the Filter panel to view different subsets
      4m 43s
    5. Viewing final choices in a slideshow
      2m 12s
    6. Organizing groups of images into stacks
      4m 9s
  4. 30m 50s
    1. Raw vs. JPEG files
      5m 13s
    2. Why you should start in Camera Raw instead of Photoshop
      5m 9s
    3. A tour of the Camera Raw user interface
      6m 44s
    4. Previewing before and after adjustments
      4m 2s
    5. Toggling onscreen Shadow/Highlight clipping warnings
      2m 37s
    6. Choosing output settings
      2m 45s
    7. Saving a copy without going to Photoshop
      4m 20s
  5. 41m 34s
    1. Eliminating red-eye with the Red Eye Removal tool
      1m 13s
    2. Improving composition with the non-destructive Crop tool
      3m 33s
    3. Correcting a rotated horizon line with the Straighten tool
      3m 5s
    4. Fixing color casts with the White Balance tool
      2m 13s
    5. Fixing blown-out highlights with Recovery
      2m 36s
    6. Revealing hidden shadow detail with Fill Light
      1m 47s
    7. Reducing distracting color noise with Noise Reduction
      5m 37s
    8. Removing color fringes with Chromatic Aberration
      2m 36s
    9. Sharpening the details
      8m 59s
    10. End to end: Taking a so-so photo and making it great
      9m 55s
  6. 39m 5s
    1. Fixing blown-out skies with the Graduated Filter tool
      4m 34s
    2. Retouching blemishes with the Spot Removal tool
      5m 41s
    3. Making local adjustments with the Adjustments Brush
      4m 28s
    4. Quick portrait retouching technique using Clarity
      4m 33s
    5. Converting to black and white
      3m 36s
    6. Editing images directly with the Targeted Adjustments tool
      4m 18s
    7. Easy sepia and split tone effects
      2m 35s
    8. Adding digital film grain texture effects
      2m 46s
    9. Adding vignettes and border effects
      2m 13s
    10. Saving variations within a single file with Snapshots
      4m 21s
  7. 15m 48s
    1. Copying settings from one file and pasting across another in Adobe Bridge
      3m 7s
    2. Processing multiple files in Camera Raw
      2m 28s
    3. Saving and using a library of Camera Raw presets
      5m 33s
    4. Using Image Processor to batch process multiple files
      4m 40s
  8. 30m 39s
    1. Opening files from Adobe Bridge
      3m 1s
    2. Opening files from Mini Bridge
      3m 28s
    3. Customizing the Mini Bridge panel
      2m 57s
    4. Changing Mini Bridge so it auto-collapses
      1m 20s
    5. The Application frame
      2m 16s
    6. The Application bar
      1m 16s
    7. Switching and saving workspaces
      4m 23s
    8. Panel management
      5m 31s
    9. Switching tools using the keyboard
      3m 18s
    10. Customizing the keyboard shortcuts
      3m 9s
  9. 16m 12s
    1. Tabbed documents
      2m 1s
    2. The Arrange Documents widget
      1m 38s
    3. How to stop Photoshop from tabbing documents
      3m 34s
    4. Pan and zoom
      5m 21s
    5. Cycling through the different screen modes
      3m 38s
  10. 36m 59s
    1. File formats
      13m 6s
    2. What resolution does your image need to be?
      10m 15s
    3. Resize vs. Resample
      9m 40s
    4. How big a print can you make with your image?
      3m 58s
  11. 42m 17s
    1. Crop options
      4m 12s
    2. Hide vs. Delete for the Crop tool
      3m 30s
    3. Bringing back hidden pixels with Reveal All
      1m 34s
    4. Making the canvas bigger with the Crop tool
      6m 1s
    5. Making the canvas bigger by a specific amount with Relative Canvas Size
      1m 39s
    6. Correcting perspective with the Crop tool
      3m 5s
    7. Straightening a crooked image
    8. Scaling, skewing, and rotating with Free Transform
      4m 12s
    9. Nondestructive transformations with Smart Objects
      4m 2s
    10. Warping images
      3m 40s
    11. Preserving the important elements with Content-Aware Scaling
      9m 32s
  12. 54m 42s
    1. The Background layer
      5m 14s
    2. Using a layer mask instead of deleting pixels
      4m 12s
    3. Loading multiple images into a single Photoshop document as layers
      1m 30s
    4. Naming, hiding, creating, and deleting layers
      4m 18s
    5. Changing the stacking order of layers
      2m 51s
    6. Selecting layers without using the Layers panel
      6m 28s
    7. Transforming layers
      7m 16s
    8. Aligning and distributing layers
      3m 51s
    9. Changing the opacity of layers
      2m 57s
    10. Organizing layers into groups
      2m 55s
    11. Saving variations with layer comps
      5m 3s
    12. When to merge and rasterize layers
      5m 0s
    13. Flatten vs. Save As (a Copy)
      3m 7s
  13. 1h 4m
    1. Using the Marquee and Lasso tools
      7m 23s
    2. Transform selections
      2m 40s
    3. Quick Mask is your friend
      4m 31s
    4. Converting a selection into a layer mask
      6m 33s
    5. Using the Quick Selection tool
      3m 1s
    6. Re-selecting a previous selection
      1m 35s
    7. Improving a selection with Refine Edge
      4m 21s
    8. Touching up a layer mask with the Brush tool
      12m 7s
    9. Changing the opacity, size, and hardness of the painting tools
      2m 59s
    10. Blending images with a gradient layer mask
      4m 53s
    11. Swapping heads in a family portrait
      3m 53s
    12. Combining multiple exposures with the Blend If sliders
      6m 26s
    13. Replacing the sky in an image
      4m 19s
  14. 1h 1m
    1. Introducing adjustment layers
      7m 57s
    2. Starting with a preset
      4m 25s
    3. Improving tonal quality with Levels
      10m 28s
    4. Increasing midtone contrast with Curves
      5m 4s
    5. Removing a color cast with Auto Color
      5m 56s
    6. Changing the color temperature with Photo Filter
      2m 55s
    7. Shifting colors with Hue/Saturation
      9m 0s
    8. Making washed out colors pop with Vibrance
      2m 46s
    9. Converting color to black and white
      5m 49s
    10. Controlling which layers are affected by an Adjustment Layer
      7m 28s
  15. 11m 32s
    1. Shadow/Highlight
      9m 3s
    2. Matching color across multiple images
      2m 29s
  16. 34m 12s
    1. Removing blemishes with the Spot Healing brush
      6m 21s
    2. Quick technique for smoothing skin and pores
      8m 23s
    3. Taming flyaway hair
      4m 47s
    4. Making teeth bright and white
      1m 43s
    5. De-emphasizing wrinkles
      4m 41s
    6. Removing unwanted details with Content Aware Fill
      4m 26s
    7. Body sculpting with Liquify
      3m 51s
  17. 21m 6s
    1. Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend
      7m 20s
    2. Combining multiple frames of an action sequence
      8m 30s
    3. Combining group shots with Auto-Align
      5m 16s
  18. 25m 36s
    1. Overview of filters
      4m 6s
    2. Applying filters nondestructively with Smart Filters
      4m 45s
    3. Giving an image a soft glow with the Gaussian Blur filter
      4m 41s
    4. Adding noise to an image with the Add Noise filter
      3m 34s
    5. Sharpening an image with Unsharp Mask
      4m 12s
    6. Giving an image more texture with the Texturizer
      1m 17s
    7. Applying a filter to multiple layers
      3m 1s
  19. 30m 44s
    1. Cycling through the blending modes
      4m 43s
    2. Three blending modes you must know
      6m 41s
    3. Adding a lens flare effect with Screen
      3m 33s
    4. Making a cast shadow more realistic with Multiply
      4m 33s
    5. Creating a diffused contrast glow effect with Overlay
      6m 2s
    6. Sharpening an image with High Pass and Overlay
      5m 12s
  20. 21m 39s
    1. Character (point) type
      8m 19s
    2. Paragraph (area) type
      4m 42s
    3. Type on a path
      2m 54s
    4. Clipping an image inside type
      2m 24s
    5. Warping type
      3m 20s
  21. 20m 35s
    1. Adding a drop shadow effect
      4m 43s
    2. Adding an outer glow effect
      3m 13s
    3. Adding a border around an image
      2m 53s
    4. Copying layer effects and applying them to other layers
      2m 3s
    5. Saving layer styles and applying them in other documents
      2m 42s
    6. How (and when) to scale layer effects
      5m 1s
  22. 16m 6s
    1. Creating PDF contact sheets
      6m 41s
    2. Exporting web photo galleries
      6m 8s
    3. Saving for the web
      3m 17s
  23. 1m 19s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 19s

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Watch the Online Video Course Photoshop CS5 Essential Training
11h 15m Beginner Apr 30, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In Photoshop CS5 Essential Training, author Michael Ninness demonstrates how to produce the highest quality images with fantastic detail in the shortest amount of time, using a combination of Photoshop CS5, Adobe Bridge, and Camera Raw. This course shows the most efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, Michael shares the secrets of non-destructive editing, utilizing and mastering Adobe Bridge, Camera Raw, layers, adjustment layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more. Exercise files are included with the course.

Topics include:
  • Automating image adjustments with Camera Raw
  • Adding keywords, ratings, and other metadata to images
  • Filtering a large collection of images down to the "keepers"
  • Cropping, correcting perspective, and straightening images
  • Creating, naming, hiding, and deleting layers
  • How to make selections and masks quickly
  • Improving mask quality with Refine Edge
  • Techniques for combining multiple images
  • Non-destructive editing techniques with adjustment layers and Smart Filters
  • Retouching essentials, such as blemish removal and body sculpting
  • Color correcting images
  • Using the essential blend modes, layer effects, and styles
  • Creating contact sheets and web photo galleries
Design Photography
Michael Ninness

Creating panoramas with Photomerge and Auto-Blend

The Photomerge feature in Photoshop has gotten so good that you really don't have to be all that precise or perfect when you take your series of shots you want to stitch together for your panorama. Now, of course, if you use a tripod and take careful steps to make sure you overlap and stitch by 30% from frame to frame to frame, you'll get better results. But I am going to show here, Photoshop can do some pretty good work just with the hand-held series of shots, which is what this is. This is a picture of a building in Vienna, and we want to go ahead and merge this into a single panoramic image. We are in Bridge right now.

So, I am going to go ahead and select these five images. I can just click on one, hold down the Shift key and click on the last to select everything in between. And then to get this going inside Photoshop, we'll go to the Tools menu in Bridge, down to Photoshop, over to Photomerge. This will slip us over to Photoshop and bring up the Photomerge dialog where the images that you had selected in Bridge are already in the list here, which is great. I typically use the Auto Layout feature, but there are some other different ways to merge the files together. But like I said, I always use Auto. These are the important choices.

You want to make sure you choose Blend Images Together. If you don't, then you'll notice seams when these images get overlapped on top of each other, especially in the skies. When you choose Blend Images Together, it's going to equalize or make sure all the sky and exposure information is the same from each image. So, that's really cool. If you have Geometric Distortion, you can also turn on that check box, as well as if you have Vignettes in the corners from the frame or from the lenses. Turning this on will let you correct that as well.

Keep in mind that these are not on, by default. Everytime you check one of these, it will take a little bit longer to do Photomerge. It is a processor-intensive operation. You are crunching a lot of pixels together. This one, make sure you leave that on at all time. So, it's always going to get you better results. Let's go ahead and click OK. Photoshop is going to start doing its thing. It's going to bring all these images into a single file and start stitching them together, matching up, overlapping areas and compositing them and then also doing the auto-blend to correct the exposures and color information across these five different frames here.

Now, if you take a look over in the Layers panel, you'll see that you still have each image as a separate layer. So, nothing was destructive in this process. What Photoshop did is built a layer mask hiding different parts of each image to give you the perfect composite. So, I can turn each one of these off. You can see where it's bringing these slices or frames together. Now, you can see I missed some sky when I did my stitching. I did that on purpose to show you something else toward the end that's kind of a bonus. But for now, let's go ahead and correct the distortion.

We want to correct the angle of the building so it's straight on, and then we'll crop it to a final composition. So, let's first correct the lens distortion here. To do that, what we want to do is merge the composite of these five images into a single layer, so I can run a filter on the total composite. You can't run a filter on more than one layer, at least without a workaround. So, for now, we are going to combine these into a single layer. To do that, we are going to use the Merge Visible command. It's Command+Shift+E or Ctrl+Shift+E. If you want, you can use the Layers flyout menu and choose Merge Visible instead.

And that combines all of those individual layers into a single composite. Let's take this into a Full Screen mode by pressing the letter F. Then we can pan it around so we can see the entire image here by holding down the Spacebar and dragging to the left a little bit. And then, we are going to use a filter called Lens Correction. It's located up here under the Filter menu > Lens Correction. But Lens Correction actually will clip your image if it needs to scale it larger to adjust the correction. So, what we are going to do is we are going to make sure we make the canvas larger so that we don't lose any detail in the final image.

A tricky way to do a canvas enlargement is to use the Crop tool, actually. I am going to press the letter C for the Crop tool. I am going to drag out an initial crop boundary. Now, it looks like it's remembering some settings from the last time the Crop tool was used. So, I am going to hit the Escape key to cancel that crop. You'll see up here there is Width and Height of 6 x 4, and 300. I am going to ahead and hit the Clear button to blank out those fields. We'll go ahead and zoom down once, Command+Minus. We'll go ahead and drag out a crop boundary the entire size of the image. Once that's in place, I can now grab a corner handle.

I am going to hold down the Option or Alt key and crop larger than the current image, and that will actually increase the canvas size. So, normally, you use the Crop tool to make something smaller. But if you drag out a crop and then let go and then make it bigger, you are actually making your canvas larger. Awesome! We are ready to go use that Lens Correction now. So, let's go the Filter > Lens Correction and the options that we want are in the Custom tab. So, I am going to go ahead and click on the word Custom. We want to change the Vertical Perspective. We just want to slide this little widget over to the left until the right and left side of those buildings look like they're vertically straight.

We can use the Grid Guide there to kind of help us line that up. So, that's looking much better. Here is the Preview check box. We can turn that off. There is before, and there is after. You see it's doing a fantastic job. As it's doing it, you are seeing that's scaling the image in order to correct that distortion. So, if we had not increased the canvas size, we may have likely chopped off the top of that building into the canvas window. So, we want to make sure we increase that canvas size before we use Lens Correction. Let's go ahead and click OK, and it's looking great. Now we'll crop the final composite. I am going to press the letter C again to get to the Crop tool.

We'll just drag out a crop boundary within the bounds of the final image here, making sure I don't go outside the image area here. I am going to go into the top of the building there. Good! And I want to make it a little bit to the left here. Great! I'll press Return, and there is my final image. Oh! But we have a problem, right? What do we are going to do about those holes? Well, the magic of Photoshop is going to save us again. I am going to use the Magic Wand tool, this tool over here. Choose the Magic Wand tool. Press W or Shift+W, if you need to switch from the Quick Selection tool to the Magic Wand tool.

I am going to click in this one blank area and hold down the Shift key and click in the other blank area. Then we'll bring up the Edit Fill command, Edit > Fill, and I want you to Use Content-Aware. Go ahead and click OK. And you may have guessed it. Photoshop is going to guess what those pixel should be as if they had actually existed when you took the original series of shots. It's going to invent sky and clouds for us. How cool is that? Let's go ahead and deselect. And it did a nice job of filling in those holes.

If you don't like that seam here, of course, you can go get the Rubber Stamp tool or the Healing Brush tool and actually modify that further. But I think it did a pretty phenomenal job of just making stuff up that is believable. So, there is your final image. It looks like there's a little seam here that we want to get rid of real quick. We'll this use the Spot Healing Brush to do that. I want to make sure Content-Aware is turned on and Sample All layers. We are going to go ahead and increase the brush size by using our Right Bracket key. We'll just quickly wipe through that particular stretch there and look at that. It's all gone.

And real quickly, we'll do the same thing over here. There you have it. There is your final Photomerge panorama, using the Photomerge feature starting from Bridge by going to Tools > Photoshop > Photomerge, making sure you chose Auto-blend to get the sky looking real nice. cropping it down, doing a lens distortion, and then finally, using the Magic Wand tool to select the holes and using Content-Aware Fill to fill in the gaps.

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