Panorama 101 • A quick and simple guide to making a panoramic photo in Photoshop

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Making a panoramic photo in Adobe Photoshop has never been easier. For this example I used four supplied digital asset files from one of my clients, the Madison Mallards baseball team. The images were taken from a high point of view. I’m not sure if a tripod was used, my guess was that these images were hand held. A conservative, but consistent, exposure was used.

Step 1: When shooting your panoramic try to keep the horizon level, a tripod is recommended.

Step 2:  “Lobotomize the camera”. Shoot with your camera on manual mode if possible. Assign the focus, exposure and White Balance so each image is consistent with the next.

Step 3: If shooting RAW, process the files with identical settings.

Step 4: Load the files into photoshop. Menu:file:automate:photomerge...

Step 5: For most images the “Auto” setting works with great success. Select “Blend Images Together” for a seamless composition. If your digital image files have dark corners, select “Vignette Removal”. Photoshop CS4 will automatically lighten those dark corners. If your photo has some lens distortions (barrel, pincushion, fish eye) select the “Geometric Distortion Correction” option. Photoshop will manipulate the images automatically.

Step 6: Click “Ok”.

The time it takes to generate the panoramic image is dependent on the number, size, and content of your host files, the options you select, your computer, etc... Most images are processed within minutes, if not faster.

When completed your panoramic image will be in a blended but rough format. From this point you will want to crop your file to a pleasing rectangle. You may also need to clone a bit in the corners to add image for a complete composition. Lastly, the image is now in a perfect state for any final post processing, color correction, digital manipulation, and artistic flare.

Keywords: Photoshop, CS4, Panoramic, Blending, Automation, Digital, Asset, Image, Alignment, Auto, Color Correction, Madison, Mallards, Color Retouching, Photography, Pano, Creative Software, Corporate Image Library, Digital Sampling, Digital Media Management

Topics: Creative

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