170. Create a Panorama
168 Create a Scrapbook Page
169 Create a Composite Image
If a landscape is too vast to capture in a single image, take several overlapping images instead and use the Editor to blend the images into a single, wide panorama. Good panoramas start with good images: First, set your camera on a tripod and make sure that the camera is level with the horizon. Then white balance the camera and adjust the exposure for the conditions in which you are shooting. If your digital camera has a feature called Stitch Assist, Panorama, or AE Lock, turn it on because that will help you get an even exposure throughout your series of images. If your digital camera also comes with AF Lock, turn it on as well because it will lock in the focus and make the depth of field consistent throughout your images. As you take your photos, be sure to overlap them by about 30%. After you copy the separate images to your computer, follow the steps in this task to stitch them together into a panorama.
It helps if you can place a significant feature, such as a tree or shrub, within the overlap zone because any feature that appears in side-by-side images will help the Editor put those images together later on.
Open the Photomerge Dialog Box
Start the Editor in Standard Edit mode. Choose File, New, Photomerge Panorama from the menu. The Photomerge dialog box appears.
Select Panorama Images
Click the Browse button, navigate to the folder that contains your panorama images, select the pictures to use, and click Open. You're returned to the Photomerge dialog box.
If you have trouble dropping an image where you want it, turn off the Snap to Image option.
If you have trouble grabbing the image you want because it overlaps another image, press Alt as you move the mouse pointer over the image you want to grab. When the image you want appears with a red outline, click to select that image.
To zoom in, click the Zoom tool, and then click within the work area. To zoom back out, press Alt and click with the Zoom tool. You can scroll or use the Hand tool to adjust your view of the panorama within the Photomerge dialog box.
Start Photomerge Process
Click OK to begin the assembly process. The Editor opens each image and starts putting them in order. A second Photomerge dialog box appears.
Make Adjustments as Needed
The Editor arranges the images within the work window in order. If the Editor is unsure where an image should appear within the panorama, you'll see a message. Click OK to continue. Perform any of these adjustments:
If an image can't be placed, the Editor leaves that image in the work area, to the left of the assembled panorama. Some unused images might also appear in the light box at the top of the window. If you don't want a particular image included, drag it into the light box. To include an excluded image, drag the image into place within the panorama.
Drag to rearrange any image within the panorama. You can also drag an image right or left to adjust how it connects to an adjacent image.
To rotate an image, click the Rotate Image tool, click the image, and drag left or right.
To change which image contains the highest point on the horizon (the vanishing point), click the Select Image tool if needed. Then click the image that contains the vanishing point. Enable the Perspective option to adjust the perspective using this new vanishing point image. With the Perspective option enabled, make a different image the vanishing point by clicking the Set Vanishing Point tool and then clicking that image. The image with the vanishing point is now shown with a cyan border. To return to a normal perspective, enable the Normal option.
After applying a perspective adjustment, the panorama might bow inward in the middle. To even out the top and bottom edges, enable the Cylindrical Mapping option and then click the Preview button. To return to edit mode, click Exit Preview.
To reduce the differences between images taken with different exposures, enable the Advanced Blending option and click the Preview button to view it. To return to edit mode, click Exit Preview.
Generate the Panorama
If you think you might want to make some adjustments to the panorama after it's generated, enable the Keep as Layers option. When you're ready, click OK to create the panorama.
A new image is created, and if you chose the Keep as Layers option, the separate images that make up the panorama are placed on different layers. This arrangement enables you to make any final adjustments to contrast, color balance, saturation, sharpness, and other important features. If you did not enable the Keep as Layers option, a final, single layered image is generated.
View the Result
After you're satisfied with your panorama, save the image. If the image is still in layers, save it first in PSD format, and then after you've made any additional changes, save the result again. Resave the result in JPEG or TIFF format, leaving your PSD image with its layers intact so that you can return at a later time and make different adjustments if you want. If the image is not in layers, you can save it in any format you like, such as JPEG or TIFF.
Regardless of whether or not the layers are merged in your panorama, you'll have to perform at least one adjustment before you print the result: cropping. The images were aligned to create the panorama by matching their content, and not their top and bottom edges. To even those edges up, click the Crop tool on the Toolbox. Then drag from the upper-left corner of the panorama downward to the bottom right. Adjust the cropping rectangle as needed to keep as much of the panorama as possible. When you're satisfied, click the checkmark button on the Options bar to accept your changes.
My brother took a series of photographs while my daughter and I played in the cul-de-sac where we live. It took the Editor only a few minutes to arrange the separate images into a striking panorama. Look for this image in the Color Gallery.