Thursday, November 19, 2009

Panorama: How to shoot and stitch with CS4

When I was in college one of my assignments was to shoot and then combine photos into a panorama. Back then we were using Photoshop 7 the software that would put together panoramas was just barely hitting the market. It was still better to do the work yourself, one photo at a time. Today the process is uncomplicated and available to anyone with CS4. Here's what you need to do.

1. Choose your location. I love night shots and downtown Seattle. So during a warm summer night I spent an hour on the corner of Pike and 4th Ave shooting a variety of frames.
2. Keep the following things in mind while shooting: use a 50mm lens to avoid distortion, overlap enough to provide a reference point, and use a tripod. It's hard to keep the same position when hand holding and the slightest movements on your part can ruin your hard work. Plus if you choose to do a night shot like me, your exposures will be for several seconds each. I would also suggest shooting with a small aperture, say F22 for maximum depth of field.
3. Once you've taken your shots and selected the frames you want to use open them in Photoshop CS4. You can also select a folder where your images are, but I like to open them first just to make sure they are the ones I wanted since I always shoot more versions then I need, just in case.

4. Select File>Automate>Photomerge to start the process. A window will open listing a number of different options for how to best create the final image. Feel free to experiment with each of these to get the results you want. Auto worked for this image and so did Reposition, both options will probably work for most people, especially if you follow my advice and use a 50mm lens and tripod.
5.  Add Open files and then go make a sandwich while CS4 does the work.
6. Crop your image since there will be jagged edges and edit your image for color, sharpness, and contrast as necessary.
7. Buy a very long, skinny frame.

Tomorrows blog post:Color balance and correction.

1 comment:

  1. Such a cool picture! Next time you get the urge to go out and play around while shooting, call me!