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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.
I've saved the results of the Photomerge command as Multilayer panorama.psd, found inside the 32_photomerge folder. And if you take a look down here at the bottom-left corner of the image window, notice that it's telling us that the flattened size of this image would be almost 40 MB, so that's a pretty big flat file. The layered version of file, after the slash, is nearly 200 megs in size, which is a fairly whoppingly big file to open inside of Photoshop. So if you're working on a somewhat underpowered system, this file might present a challenge for you.
It might not open successfully. In any case, you can watch it with me, so. Now, let's say you want to be able to evaluate those seams, so you want to draw those seams as I drew them for you a couple of exercises ago. Here's what you do. It actually it takes a few steps. First of all, you select any one of these layers, and you drop down here to the fx icon, and you click on it, and you choose the Stroke command. And the stroke I suggest you apply, it's really up to you how thick you want it to be, but all of my strokes were 4 pixels thick, and then I went ahead and change the color from black to white.
But what you really want is a color that contrasts. It doesn't matter if it's black or white or whathaveyou. You just want it to stand out from its background. All right then go ahead and click the OK button here inside the Color Picker dialog box, and click OK inside the Layer Style dialog box. Now the reason I had to apply a stroke to just one layer is because if you select multiple layers like so, you can't apply a layer effect. I don't know why that is. It was so important in Photoshop CS5 to make sure that people could change the Opacity of multiple layers at a time, but we can't apply layer effects to them.
There are so many things we can't do to multiple layers at a time, but we can change our Opacity. Anyway, here's what we can do, though. We can copy a layer effect that we've applied one layer, and then paste it on to multiple layers, so that we don't have to redo that last step that I showed you there 13 times in a row. So that's helpful. Anyway, I am going to Right-Click on Effects right there, and I'm going to drop down to this command, which says Copy Layer Style, and click on it to select it. Then I will click on the next layer down, scroll to the bottom of the stack, and Shift+Click on the very bottommost layer. And I don't have a lot of room to work over here inside the Layers panel, so I m going to go to the Layer menu this time, and choose Layer Style and choose Paste Layer Style, and that will go ahead and paste strokes onto everybody else.
And now we can see the outlines of each and every one of our layers, and that shows us where the seams are. Now the problem is now every single one of our layers has these strokes on them, as opposed to having the strokes on an independent layer that we can turn on and off. And so that's a pain in the neck. Well, let's go ahead and turn them into an independent layer that we can turn on and off. By going to the top of the layer stack here, I'll click on the very top layer to make it active, and then I'm going to press that keyboard shortcut that allows us to merge all the layers together: Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E or Command+Shift+Option+E on the Mac.
And that creates a new layer that contains the strokes as well. And there's no sense in naming this layer, because we're ultimately going to throw it away. Just make sure it's there at the top of the stack, and then I want you to click on the next layer down, and scroll all the way to the bottom of the list again, click on that last layer in the stack, and I want you to go up to Layer menu, choose Layer Style and choose Clear Layer Style, to get rid of all the strokes. And I know that seems criminal because we have spent whatever number of minutes trying to get all these layer strokes.
But ultimately, we don't want those strokes there because then we'll have pretty obvious seams, I would say. People might notice these cracks inside our panorama. We are just trying to separate those strokes off to an independent layer that we can turn on and off at will, for our own purposes. So go ahead and choose Clear Layer Style to get rid of him on the independent layers. They're still appearing in the image window because they're still part of layer1 here. Now I want you to go up to the Blend Mode menu, and I want you to change it from Normal to Difference, so that we're keeping just the cracks, and we're sending all the non-cracks to black, because anything that's identical in the active layer to the layers below is going show up as black, as you see.
Okay, now, if you're working on PC, press the Escape key so that difference is no longer active; on the Mac you don't have to do that. Again, I want to you to merge all your layers, so press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+E again, or Command+Shift+Option+E on the Mac. And that goes ahead and creates a new layer that looks like this, so, black where there are no differences and other colors where there are differences. Now you can grab layer1 right there, and throw it away. We don't need it anymore. So press the Backspace key or the Delete key on the Mac to get rid of it. We'll go back to layer 2 now, which contains the information we need, and we need to enhance the contrast to the highest extent possible.
So go to the Image menu, choose Adjustments and choose the Threshold command, which is going to send every pixel on this layer to either black or white. And what I want you to do, in the case of this image, and this is the way it's going to work out with your other panoramas as well - most likely, is that you're going to want to reduce the Threshold Level all the way to 1, so that you send everything but absolute black to white. And that way we're keeping every single one of these seam lines, then click OK. And now a couple things.
One of the two things you can do. Either you can keep this layer and just change it to the screen mode, and then that will show you where all the seams are, or you could get rid of all the blackness between the seams and just have the seams by themselves. So either way is fine. This is the easiest thing to do so will just stop here. And I'll go ahead and call this new layer "seams" like so, and now we have an independent layer that is the seams and nothing else. And so what urge you to do is go ahead and zoom in and look around your image.
And this is a really great thing to do for all of your Photomerge compositions, because it takes out that uh-oh moment. It just gets rid of it. This way you know where each and every one of the seams is, just at a glance here. You can evaluate those seams, and you can say yup, that looks terrific, that looks awesome. There are no problems. Or, you can come to an area where there are problems, like down here in the lower-right region, and you can turn off the seams and turn it back on, and say yeah, we got some issues right there, but at least I know about them.
And I can either choose to try to fix them, which is going to be terribly complicated, actually, and not something we're going to do within the context of this project, or you can decide you know, that's fine. I can either crop that out, or I can leave it in and hope nobody notices. So I'll go ahead and zoom out. And I'm chuckling about this, but I'm telling you, Photomerge is an automated function, which means you suffer the consequences. Anyway, go ahead and check out your seams, make sure you're aware of them, and then go ahead and turn that seams layer off. It's just for you. You don't want to show that to anybody else.
In the next exercise, we're going to introduce yet another layer into this multi-layer panorama.
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