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In the all-new Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Mastery, the third and final installment of the popular series, join industry expert and award-winning author Deke McClelland for an in-depth tour of the most powerful and empowering features of Photoshop CS5. Discover the vast possibilities of traditional tools, such as masking and blend modes, and then delve into Smart Objects, Photomerge, as well as the new Puppet Warp, Mixer Brush, and HDR features. Exercise files accompany the course.
Recommended prerequisites: Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Fundamentals and Photoshop CS5 One-on-One: Advanced.
In this exercise, we'll take our first look at the Photomerge command, and I'll show you how the various layout options work. I'm currently in the Bridge, looking at the contents of the Theatre Antique d'Orange folder, and I'd like you to select all 14 images, by pressing Ctrl+A or Command+A on the Mac. Then to invoke Photomerge, go up to the Tools menu, choose Photoshop, and choose Photomerge. Now I've been telling you this command is a combination of Auto-Align layers and Auto-Blend layers, which is true, but it starts off by invoking Load Files into Photoshop Layers.
So it loads all the files into a layered Photoshop composition, and then finally it applies Auto-Blend Layers. Anyway, all you have to do is choose this one command, Photomerge, and that goes in and switches you to Photoshop and loads all the images as well into this Photomerge dialog box. So you should see all 14 of your images listed. It doesn't matter what order they are listed in, because Auto-Align Layers, if it decides something is in a wrong order, will just move it around. The command can actually move layers to new locations totally automatically.
It's absolutely amazing. Now if you have too many files here, if there is a file you want to take out of the list, you click on it, you click Remove. You can also browse for other files on your hard drive. There is other ways to bring images in here if you want them. However, more important, I think, and much more confusing, because you can figure out these options pretty much on your own, are these guys over here, the Layout options. Now these are the same options that are known as the Projection options inside the Auto-Align Layers dialog box. And so we've got Perspective, Cylindrical, Spherical, Collage, and Reposition.
Perspective goes ahead and allows Photoshop to distort the image, but it also creates this horrible bowtie effect. I'll show it to you in just a moment. It's by far the least successful option, in my opinion. It requires so much work to turn it into something halfway decent. However, it does do a pretty good job of creating seamless compositions, so it has that going for it. Cylindrical typically bows the images outward the way that we're seeing inside of this little thumbnail, but so does Spherical, for that matter. They actually produce pretty similar effects.
But in the case of either, each and every one of the individual images inside the stitched panorama ends up bowing outward, so you get this kind of bend associated with each image, which turns out to be perfect, by the way. It doesn't sound right, but you end up getting the best effects. Collage will just go ahead and scale and rotate the images - nothing more, and then Reposition just moves them around. So rather than applying each and every one of these, which would take forever here, I'm going to show you the results of each one of these options, as I applied it ahead of time here.
Auto will just automatically do one of these guys. It will just go ahead and automatically invoke what it considers to be the best, and we'll come back to that in just a second. But for now, cancel out, and I'd like you to go back to the Bridge by clicking on the little Bridge icon up here on the Applications Bar. And then go ahead and click on the Alignment projection subfolder. And you can see examples of each and every one of those projection options, or layout options, as they are known inside of Photomerge, from Perspective all the way to Reposition. All of them are rendered out at full size, incidentally, the full size you would render them if you're working from those images inside the Theatre Antique d'Orange folder, except for the first one, Perspective, because you end up getting a much more massive file than this - from this ridiculous Perspective effect, which looks like a big bowtie, as you can already see.
Anyway, let's go ahead and take a look at each and every one of these, by invoking the slideshow, and I'll do that by pressing Ctrl+L or Command+L on the Mac, and I have got captions turned on, as you can see here. So this is the Perspective projection right here, and it ends up making the theater quite small indeed, way far away in the distance. And then the seeds are just rushing at us, but, as you can tell, we get a nice seamless interaction between the various details inside this panorama.
The only problem is, what in the world do we do to reconcile that bowtie effect? What kind of distortion do we apply? And the answer is nothing good, I assure you. Don't even attempt Puppet Warp on this. It's not going to work for you. Something like the Warp command can help a little bit, but ultimately, nothing makes it good. The next option here - and you can see this is Panorama-1 perspective - the next image features a second setting, which is Cylindrical, and we end up getting this effect right here. So each and every one of the images bows out slightly, as you can see, and the entire composition is sloping down and to the right, just ever so slightly, which is one of the big problems with this particular projection, along with these particular images.
So you never know exactly what kind of effect you're going to get out of a group of images until you try it. Next I'll move on to the third option, Spherical, and it doesn't look all that terrifically different. Each one of the images still bows outward, as you can see; however, the composition doesn't slope down and to the right to the same extent. It does a little bit, but not as much as the Cylindrical projection right there. All right, next what we've got is Panorama-4 collage, and take a look at that. Everything is nice and upright, and it looks like everything is pretty seamless, actually.
And we don't have to account for all that weird distortion, and by the way, this is one of the faster effects to apply. It goes fairly lickety-split by comparison to the other ones, so why don't we just use it? Well, I'll show you why in the next exercise. It's actually not very successful. It looks like it here, because we're zoomed so far out, but once we zoom in and start looking at the details, a lot of things are falling apart. Check out this bench over here. You can't really see it, but there is a ghost bench going right through this section, and then there's all kinds of bad alignment down here, and the stands are falling down, up in this area. It's kind of like there has been an earthquake. So we'll see that in greater detail.
And then finally we've got a Reposition, which just moves the images, that's all it does. And, of course, by the way, there is a lot of auto-blending going on here, so there is all these masks interwoven throughout these images. But even repositioning ends up producing a pretty good effect, that is no scaling, no rotating, no distortions, no nothing - just moving the images around, and then of course modifying the exposure and the colors and applying some layer masking. But check this out. See this area right there - not good.
We've got yet another earthquake over here on the left-hand section of the composition. Anyway, this gives you a sense of how the projection options work. In the next exercise, we'll take a more detailed look at the seams.
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