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Build a panorama with Lightroom and Photoshop Lightroom and Photoshop


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Building a panorama with Lightroom and Photoshop

Now that you know the ins and outs of how to use Lightroom and Photoshop together, in this chapter, I'll put that information to use in some practical scenarios. First, we'll look at each of the built-in workflows for taking multiple images from Lightroom to Photoshop. Then we'll walk through other common scenarios in which it makes sense to use the two programs in an integrated manner, from compositing to touching to making local corrections and more. This is really my favorite part of the course because it's full of practical applications of what we've covered so far.

Let's start with one of the options in Lightroom's Edit In menu for working with multiple photos, the Merge to Panorama in Photoshop option. When there is the scene there you want to photograph that's too wide or too tall for your lens to capture in a single photo, try taking multiple shots that overlap a little and then let Photoshop merge them into a seamless panorama. When you shoot for this scenario you don't really need a tripod, although it can't hurt, just set your exposure and focus on manual and keep them the same as you shoot all the photos. Here, I have four photos of a bridge in Paris that I shot that way.

I'll start with them here in Lightroom, and if I wanted to make a change to any of these photos, I would want to be sure to synchronize that change to all of them, and not to make individual changes to individual photos because we want them all to match when they're put together. So for example, if I click on this photo and take it to the Develop module, I see that the highlights are little blown out. So here in the basic panel, I might drag the Highlights slider over to the left. And then with that photo selected in the film strip, I'll hold the Shift key and click on the first of the other photos.

The one to which I made the change has a wider frame than the others. That means it's the most selected and that its settings will be synchronized to the others. So with that all set up, I'll click the Sync button and I'll click Synchronize with all of these check boxes checked, and that applies the Highlights correction to each of the photos, as you can see. If I click on, it each has the same highlights correction. So now, what I would like to do is merge the four images into one wide panorama. With all four selected, I'll go to the Photo menu, I'll choose Edit In, and I'll go down to the third section here, and I'll choose Merge to Panorama in Photoshop.

That opens Photoshop's Photomerge dialog box, with the four files that I selected listed here as the source files. All I have to do here is choose the Layout method that I want Photoshop to use to fit these images together. In many cases Auto does a good job, but note the best choice here really varies from example to example, and so I urge you to take the time to test them all out. I am always surprised when I think, Auto is great, and then I test some others and I find that I like the results better. For example, here I found that the Cylindrical method worked best with these images, and I think that's because there is a long horizontal element, the bridge, that I wanted to have straight, and that's where the cylindrical method really shines.

So I am going to go with that one. Here, I'll leave Blend Images Together checked. That causes Photoshop to add a series of layer masks to each layer that it's going to create in this panorama. And it uses those layer masks to blend the images together, much like the Auto Blend command in Photoshop's edit menu. Now if I shot with a wide angle lens, the lens can sometimes cause vignetting at the edge of the individual photos and/or lens related image distortion. And if that were the case, I would check Vignette Removal and Geometric Distortion Correction, too.

But I didn't shoot these photos with a wide angle lens, so I'll leave those unchecked, and I'll just click OK. Photoshop opens all four of the images into a single file and automatically aligns their content so they fit together. And then it blends the images together, based on their content, and it creates layer masks on each of the layers in the single file. And there's the result, a panoramic image of all four of my photos seamlessly blended together. And you can see over in the layers panel how Photoshop did that, putting each photo on a separate layer and adding layer masks for blending.

On the screen this image may not look all that impressive, but keep in mind that in order to display the entire image, Photoshop has had to zoom it way out, so it's less than 10% right now. And if I look down here at the information area at the bottom of the document window, you can see that if I were print this at 240 pixels per inch, it would print at around 40x12 inches. So it really is a large file and will make really impressive print. Now as a result of fitting the pieces together, Photoshop left some transparent pixels around some of the edges, and that's to be expected.

One way to take care of that is to simply crop them away. That can be done here in Photoshop or after I save the image and go back to Lightroom. I am going to do it in Lightroom so that if I change my mind about the crop, which will be nondestructive, I'd have one last step to change it. If I did it here in Photoshop, I'd have to reopen the image in Photoshop using the Edit Original option in Lightroom's Edit Photo dialog. Since I started with raw files, the document tab still says DNG, the raw format, although Photoshop really is working with the images in a pixel-based format.

But when I save, Cmd+S on the Mac, Ctrl+S on the PC, I can see that this really is a TIFF file, with a format, and a name, and photo properties that I chose in Lightroom's external editing preferences earlier in the course. I'll close the panel in Photoshop and I'll go back to Lightroom. Here in the film strip, you can see my original four raw images, followed by the TIFF that I just saved from Photoshop, and here it is in the document window. I am going to go over to the tool bar underneath the histogram in the Develop module, or I could just press R on my keyboard to activate the Crop tool in Lightroom.

And then I'll just click and drag these borders to just the inside of the image. And I have to be careful that I don't leave any white pixels on any of the sides here. And then I'll click Done. Now that is an nondestructive crop, so if I wanted to change it, I could just click again on the Crop tool and the pixels are there and I could change the crop, but I am going to leave it as it is. In most cases that's all there is to the process of making a panorama starting in Lightroom and jumping to Photoshop using the Edit In panorama command.

But of course you can take this image back into Photoshop if you have something more that you want to do to it there. For example, if you thought that something in the image still looked a bit distorted, you might want to take the image back to Photoshop to apply the adaptive wide angle filter to try to straighten out a distortion that may have resulted from the merge. If you do that, since you are starting with a TIFF file, Lightroom's Photo Edit window will open and be sure to choose Edit a Copy with Lightroom Adjustments there. But I'm happy with this images as it is. This Lightroom to Photoshop workflow produces a unique, large image that I couldn't have captured all at once in my camera.

Building a panorama with Lightroom and Photoshop
Video duration: 6m 57s 2h 36m Intermediate

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Building a panorama with Lightroom and Photoshop provides you with in-depth training on Photography. Taught by Jan Kabili as part of the Using Lightroom and Photoshop Together

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Photography
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Photoshop Lightroom
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