13 May 2010

How to Make a Stitched Panorama



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Have you ever wondered how you could capture panoramic images like the one above –when you don’t have the proper wide-angle lens on your camera or if you’re like me, using only a humble point-and-shoot?

So many times I’ve come across a really beautiful view only to be frustrated when I look through my camera’s viewfinder to see that I could only capture part of it, that I could not capture the entire view in one shot. A couple of times before, I’d tried to shoot the view in segments and then had painstakingly used a combination of Microsoft Office Picture Manager/Picasa and PowerPoint (!) to crop, arrange, and combine the segments into one photo. Doable, yes. But I would not recommend it. Too much effort and the result is less than optimal.

And then I’d discovered Photoshop’s Photomerge function. I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this function.

Before I go on, a disclaimer: I am not in any way a professional photographer or a Photoshop expert. Far from it. I simply love taking photos and I am learning my way and having fun playing around in Photoshop. I’m sharing this “tutorial” only because I am SO chuffed about the Photomerge function that I thought you might be, too. But if you're only so-so about it or even if you think it's last century's news, that's fine, too. Just please don't burst my bubble, alright? Now that that's cleared up...


Okay, take this photo below, for example. I used 14 photos of different segments of the beach and combined them to arrive at this final photo. (I know that I didn’t need to use that many; I’m just a bit anal –worrying that I might miss a pixel if I didn’t include all the segments that I’d taken!)



This is what I did, using CS4 Photoshop.

1) File >Automate>Photomerge

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2) You’ll get this pop-up. Select Files>Browse. Go to the directory/folder where the files you want to use are stored. Ctrl + click on the files that you want to “stitch” together. Click OK when done.

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3) Now, sit back and let the program do its work. I’d selected 14 images to stitch together and it took about three minutes or so before this came up:

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You see the jagged edges? That is what happens if you don’t use a tripod to ensure that all the photos are taken from the same “plane.”

4) BUT, no worries, because you can crop. Make sure you crop out the transparent bits, although if you didn’t (see lower left corner below), that’s okay, too, if you know how to use the Clone tool to fill in the space.

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5) Do whatever final edits you might want to make (levels, curves, sharpen, apply actions, etc.) Et voilá!


Easy-peasy, isn’t it? I’m pretty sure other photo editing programs have a similar function that can help blend different photos into one panoramic shot. Newer models of point-and-shoot cameras have this photo-stitch function where you just click and pan the camera across an area you want to capture; the camera takes multiple shots as you pan and then it automatically blends and merges the different angles into one panoramic shot. Pretty nifty, eh? But even if you’re working with just a regular point-and-shoot, know now that you can get panoramic shots with a just little help from Photoshop’s Photomerge function.

Are you lovin’ it as much as I do yet?

Image credits: Sydney Harbour Bridge - DAVID ILIFF/Wikipedia. Stanley Beach – mine.

25 COMMENTS:

Nezzy said...

Wow, I sure had no clue that you could do this without a panoramic lens. Woohoo! Thanks! I sure do need to play with both my camera and my programs.

You have a wonderful evening sweetie!!!

ModernMom said...

Oh you are a good teacher!

jen@odbt said...

That looks amazing. Thanks for the tutorial too. I'm just dipping my tiny toe into PS and am feeling overwhelmed.

Secret Mom Thoughts said...

Nice tutorial. I need to get the program.

a Tonggu Momma said...

I love you now. I really do.

MML said...

Absolutely love it!

Joanne Choi said...

wonderful...I need to take panoramic shots of tables of food...that's my next plan!

Ash said...

i thought all your pics were taken with SDLR since they are wicked. i need to get photoshop too. love the tutorial. tah!

Wanda said...

Thank you, thank you. What a great tutorial. I love this effect. I'm still learning PS but am loving it.

Helene said...

Wow, that is amazing!!! I don't have photoshop and I'm so bad with all the other editing programs. I can barely handle the red eye function!! But I love looking at all your beautiful photography!

Syrone said...

Cool. Amazing what you can do with a camera and a photo program. Beautiful photo!

Alicia said...

Amazing! That was a great tutorial!!! And I just love that photo too!

Lindy said...

I wish I owned Photoshop!!!

Anita Johnson said...

I had a Nikon that had a photo stitch setting, it actually showed you a slice of the previous photo, so you could line up the next one. I'll have to try this again, your photo is beautiful! I think even Photoshop Elements (which I got for $29) has it, I just forgot about it until I saw your great tutorial!

Jen said...

I had not heard of this before. I love it! That's a great photo.

RoseBelle said...

This is a great tutorial. My camera has stitch assistant option but I can't work it right. The picture just doesn't stick like it should. Can I register for this photoshop online or I have to buy a cd to download the program?

paige said...

This is great! Thanks for the tip.

Xmas Dolly said...

Wow, you really know your stuff girlfriend. Not sure if I could ever follow directions as that, but I might give it a try one day! Very cool. Please stop at my blog. I have a few things for you.

Puna said...

Now this is a very cool tutorial! I'm going to try this for my header next time.

Menopausal New Mom said...

You are so clever!! Wow, you just never know what you're going to learn out here :)

blueviolet said...

I need to get Photoshop! I wondered about the fact if you held the camera at different angles, but you answered that. A tripod would really help in that regard.

So cool!

Aunt LoLo said...

Those would make beautiful blog banners!

Dandy said...

Incredible! You don't always use a point and shoot do you?

Velvet Over Steel said...

Oh my goosh, that's awesome! I am learning so much from you. Thank you! Hope you're having an awesome weekend taking more pictures. :-) ~ Coreen

Honey Mommy said...

Awesome! Thanks for the tutorial! I can totally do this!

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