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In Photoshop CS6 Essential Training, Julieanne Kost demonstrates how to produce high-quality images in a short amount of time, using a combination of Adobe Photoshop CS6, Bridge, and Camera Raw.
The course details the Photoshop features and creative options, and shows efficient ways to perform common editing tasks, including noise reduction, shadow and highlight detail recovery, retouching, and combining multiple images. Along the way, the course explores techniques for nondestructive editing and compositing using layers, blending modes, layer masks, and much more.
One of the fun things that people like to do is take multiple images of a scene and then stitch them together in order to make a panorama. I am going to go ahead and select these images here. There are seven of them that I photographed. One of the things that you'll notice is that, even though I was taking a panorama from left to right, I did photograph these vertically instead of horizontally. That's because when you make a panorama and you stitch your files together, a lot of times, especially if you're not shooting with a tripod, when you create the final panorama, the top and the bottom areas usually need to be trimmed down quite a bit.
So instead of shooting these horizontally, I tend to shoot my panoramas vertically. The other thing that you definitely want to do is overlap your panoramas. Overlap each one of the exposures by at least 30% or 40% so that Photoshop will know which images overlap and can align them more precisely. Starting in Bridge, because I want to use the feature here under the tools menu, under Photoshop and then Photomerge.
When I choose Photomerge, Bridge actually hands the files off to Photoshop and you get to choose from this variety of different layouts. If you don't know which one to choose, then just select Auto and Photoshop will choose one for you. In this case, we might get little bit better results if we choose Cylindrical. So I'll go ahead and select that. You can see because I started in Bridge with the files selected, Photoshop will use those files as my source files.
I want to make sure to also blend the images together. I don't just want Photoshop to stitch them. I also want it to blend the sky and the other tones in the image together. If I've photographed with a wider angle lens, I'll want to make sure to also turn on Vignette Removal. The Geometric Distortion Correction option, that can be used, and it actually gives a better result, but it takes a lot more time in order to calculate it. So for the highest quality results, you'll want to turn this on.
If you ever turn it off and then you have a panorama that fails to stitch, you might want to retry that panorama with this option on. All right, let's click OK, and this script will automatically open each one of those files that we had in Bridge, will open it onto its own layer in Photoshop, and then Photoshop will stitch these images together. Depending on the number of images you have and the resolution of the images, obviously, this process can take a shorter or longer amount of time.
As we can see, Photoshop's done a very good job not only stitching the images together, but also blending all of the colors. I think you can also see where I'm going to need to either crop my image down, cropping off this top area here, and the bottom area here or I could use something like Content-Aware Fill in order to try to make up information in those areas. You'll notice that in my Layers panel, each one of these images is on its own layer and it has a mask that is showing or hiding the areas that are appropriate for that panel of the panorama.
If I want to make additional changes to the panorama, for example, maybe I need to straighten a building, then I might want to merge all of these layers together. So in the Layers panel, I'll use the fly-out menu and then choose Merge layers. This is also going to make my file a lot smaller. I'll tap the C key to get the Crop tool and if I wanted to enter in an Aspect Ratio, I could or I can simply click to drag down the crop from the top and then I'll drag up from the bottom, I need to drag in a little ways here from the left as well.
In fact, let's just crop off that whole picnic table there and a little bit on the right as well. So you can see by taking the original image as vertical, I have plenty of additional information that I can crop down to. I'll tap the Enter or the Return key in order to apply that crop and we have our panorama. So as you can see, we've stitched together multiple exposures from left to right, but don't forget, you could also stitch together multiple exposures, maybe top to bottom or make like a grid of three images across by three images down.
And one last little tip: if you are starting out with Raw files, you'll want to make sure that in Adobe Camera Raw, you are applying the Lens Correction before you come in and stitch the panorama together.
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