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  • Make sure that you shoot your images using the center of your camera as a swivel point. Avoid holding the camera at arms length and moving it in an arc.
  • Leave your exposure constant. This will help the computer match the edges of the images.
  • Leave your zoom at the same setting.
  • IMPORTANT - overlap your series of shots at least 30 to 40% so that the computer has good reference points for blending the images together.


Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lesson Overview 0:07
  • Shooting For The Panorama 0:50
    • Hold The Camera Steady
    • Overlap Your Images
    • Use The Same Exposure
    • Use The Same Zoom
    • Apply The Same Correction to Each Image
  • Scenic 3:25
    • Correct Way To Shoot a Panorama
  • Creating A Panorama In Photoshop 5:42
    • Adjusting The Images
    • Lining Up The Images
    • Photomerge Overview
    • Photomerge: Auto
    • Photomerge: Auto & Geometric Distortion Correction
    • Photomerge: Spherical
    • Photomerge: Collage
    • Photomerge: Reposition
    • Panorama Images Conclusion

Transcription: Panorama

Hi everybody, Mike Brown here again, welcome back to's Adobe Photoshop CS6 course.0000

In this lesson we're going to talk about something quite different; how to create a panorama with Photoshop.0007

Now, a panorama by definition in the photo world, is a series of images that encompass a much wider area than the camera can see in a single image.0014

You can do this either horizontally or you can do it vertically for tall buildings as well, either way.0026

We're going to talk about how to shoot these images properly so you're giving the computer the best quality images to get seamless stitching, and then we're going to talk about how to actually create that panorama with those sequenced images in Photoshop, so let's go ahead and get started.0033

Here are my five points to ensure that you get the best quality images possible from your camera for the panorama.0052

The first and foremost, is to hold the camera steady without any change of tilt or rotation for each shot.0062

Ideally, you'd put it on a tripod, that way if it was sitting on a tripod, it can't move, it just rotates perfectly either vertically or horizontally, that would give you absolutely the best image.0070

If you can't use a tripod, do your utmost to make sure that every image has the same horizon, either vertically or horizontally.0085

Secondly, overlap your images by between 30 and 50%--a considerable amount, you want to make sure that the computer has enough points of reference to line up to give a perfectly seamless stitch, that means give it at least 30%--sounds like a lot, but you really want to make sure it has more than one point, it has a whole series.0097

That's very important.0120

Thirdly, use the same exposure for every image, don't change the exposure as you're going through the sweep, and you're going to want to because depending on where the sun is, if you're shooting at least 180 degrees of panorama, it's going to be brighter on one side than the other because the sun's going to be direct, and on the other side it's going to be backlit.0122

Don't compensate for this if at all possible, because you want the computer to see a seamless transition--if you start trying to adjust each photo to be the perfect exposure, the edges won't match up exposure-wise, same problem as with the overlap, so use the same exposure.0147

Use the same zoom, because again, the images won't fit together within the computer properly if you have one image that's zoomed more than another--you want just a nice, seamless series of images that overlap properly with minimum distortion.0164

And finally, when you open the images up, if you do any correcting inside of Camera Raw--and your image is either jpeg or raw will inherently open in Camera Raw, make sure that you apply those changes...equally to every image by synchronizing before you open them up in Photoshop.0182

OK, those are the five points.0202

Now let's talk about the correct way to actually shoot the image.0206

There's a correct way, and an incorrect way--this is the correct way, this illustration there is your scenic up on top, and the camera is right here and this is the arc of rotation, and in this case, what you want to do is rotate the camera around its center point when you shoot each of the shots.0213

So if you can see me in the corner here, ideally I'll take my glasses off.0234

Now, there's two kinds of cameras today; some of them have view finders so you can put them up to your eye, that's the better one for this shooting, others have, as you can see, a screen and the way you shoot those images is you have to hold it out at arm's length, becomes a little more problematic.0241

Ideally, you'd have a view finder, and you would shoot each image--you notice what I'm doing, I'm moving a little bit to make sure that the camera rotates around its center point as accurately as possible, that's what you want to do if you have a view finder.0258

But most cameras or Smartphones don't, they have the screen, and the way you shoot is you hold it like by nature, you would normally go "OK I'll shoot that one, and that one, and that one, and that one, and that one" which effectively is this illustration here, where the camera is actually moving.0278

And what happens is, if you're shooting your shot here and another shot over here the camera has been in two different spots, and there's a distortion and change in perspective and actually view, so the way you would try to do that, is try to hold it fairly close like this, and then you would physically move your body around so that you can see the view of the scene as it changes.0303

But again, you're rotating that camera around its center point, that's very important to make sure that the computer gets the best images possible.0328

OK, wrong way, and the right way.0338

Alright, now that we've gone through that, let's go ahead and take some images, open them up in Photoshop and make a panorama.0343

Alright, I'm going to have to close this out because we're going to go to Bridge, select some images; one, two, three, four, five, I've already got them selected.0359

Here you can see all five of them are up and when you're talking about--remember I talked about exposure, I have the same exposure but you see this one's brighter up here than this one is down here because this is the direction the sun was coming, and here it is more backlit, but they'll all stitch together seamlessly.0369

Alright, we've got all five of them selected, let's open them up (double click) and here are all five images over here in Camera Raw.0377

Now if you'll notice, on each image I haven't applied any corrections at all yet, nothing here--I get a little spider, no more, so there you have five images with no corrections.0388

We'll take the middle image, and it seems that it should open up the shadows just a hair...and pull the highlights down just a hair, and we'll add 25 points of clarity, and what I'm going to do, is I'm now going to select all the images, and synchronize them so that they all have that same...0400

Change applied, let's double check and make sure--we'll pick this one, there it is, got 12 and 28, and 12 and 28, and 12 and 28 so now all of our images have been corrected somewhat, but identically, remember so that they're equal.0432

Alright, we'll select all, and we're going to open them all in Photoshop.0449

Now these are high res images, so I've made up a small action just to resize the images, so I'm going to go ahead and open up my Actions panel, and we're going to take the resize for pano, and we're just going to actually...0454

I'm going to do this so you can see actions in process--we're going to go Automate, Batch, and I'm going to take from educator actions, we're going to take the resize, we're going to do this on the open files, no destination, and go ahead and hit it.0474

All five have now been resized, just that quick, see how valuable actions are?0495

So now, let's take a look at them side by side; float all in windows, and let's zoom each one of them up one time, close out the layers...and we can overlay the images as we go.0500

69, 8, 7, 6 and 5, OK.0518

This one is the farthest left and you can see as far as overlap.0523

Notice where my cursor is, the rocks down on the right, and the big rock on top, there's the rocks, there's the big rock, it even goes over to pick up these two--I've got a considerable amount of overlap, notice we're overlapped almost to there.0528

So there's overlap on that one, and the next one...we have the bluff, here's a tree, here's a series of rocks and this little outcropping--there it is, right up there, and so we also have, see about that much overlap on that one.0544

And the next one, we have the pool, the light pool and these trees and of course the clouds have changed just slightly--that's the one thing, even though you shoot them the clouds are moving, but the rocks are still there, so we've got about that much overlap on that image.0562

And the final one...we have--you can see a little roadway, a little roadway, a boulder, actually this boulder right here and that little sequence, and there's the overlap on that, so you can see the five image overlap and you can see the gradual change of exposure.0580

We've got them open, we've got them corrected, so now let's just go to the File, Automate menu, down to Photo Merge, and up comes the box, and there are actually five different approaches to doing the stitching, and there's an auto.0599

99 times out of 100 if you just check the layout as auto, the computer will pick the best way to do it and it will come out fine at each time, but we have five ways.0621

The perspective method--what it does, is it takes the centermost photo and assumes that that is the exact perspective that is wanted for each shot, so as it merges and matches the shots, since there may be a change in perspective because of the camera turn, what the computer will do is it will stretch it to make sure the perspective matches.0633

And what you end up with, is this kind of bow tie effect, and a little wide angle look out to the side.0656

The cylindrical method, is as though everything was inside of a perfect cylinder as you look at it, and it was just unwrapped, so what you will get, is you will get a slight bowing on the outside, but basically one of these two will give you the right perspective--you're not sure necessarily which one, you may have to try them both but auto will pick the best one.0663

Spherical is pretty much like a globe and you've seen how maps looks when they take the globe and it looks like you've peeled an orange with the odd looking shapes and then you just get these funny looks, that's the spherical one.0689

A collage is simply taking and it will make each one of these have vertical edges, and then will overlap them to fit, pretty much like what you see right here--the only one that hasn't been overlapped is that one properly.0704

In other words, I won't do that but you see that's the way it would do it with that one.0721

We'll do all five of these so you can see them, and the reposition, if any of you have shot film in the past and got your prints back from 30 minute photo, you shoot a bunch of shots like a pano and they don't really fit really well--some of them are rotated and there's some of them positioned.0726

This is the way it does it--it just matches up, without doing anything just matches points and you get this kind of a different methodology, so you have these five choices but we're just going to go ahead and hit auto.0745

Blend images together--we're not going to worry about vignette because I wasn't wide enough, and I'm going to leave the geometric distortion correction off for this run, and for the files here we're going to add the open files...0758

Alright, I've got to save them; Save As...B, because they're resized they have to be saved.0773

Save As, and notice what I'm doing here is doing nothing but put a letter after the name of each one so that I don't accidentally save over something that I've done before--this is absolutely important, that's why we always use the Save As dialog box, so that you don't resize an image like I did here down to nothing, and save it over the full size image and then you would be in real trouble.0782

We're going to save this as B, so all five of them should be changed--that one didn't change, so we'll do that again...Save As B...I thought so, there we go, psds all the way.0815

Now we can go File, Automate, Photo Merge...again we'll go auto, leave them as they are, add open files--there's all five of them, and let the computer cook.0833

These are fairly small files so they should work pretty quickly and it's just about done right now.0847

Thinking a little bit about its edges.0854

This is going to come up with actually five layers, this is absolutely great.0856

I wanted this to happen and I've done this particular panel four times and sometimes it comes out very strange--notice, this one is the one I told you about before--the perspective, and notice what's happened.0863

It's seamlessly done this and it has this bow tie effect, but it's kind of stretching everything around you.0876

If we cropped would look pretty cool, let's bring it right on down...and bring it right on in, but what you get here, is you get the distorted edges around you because it stretched, that's the way it did this.0883

We didn't really want that, actually let's just go ahead and save it...and we're going to call it Pano Perspective...and we'll save that on the Desktop.0903

OK, and we're going to get rid of that one...and we're going to go back and where are our five images?0921

I'm going to take all images, consolidate to tabs, two, three, four, five, and now we're going to go back and do it a second time (didn't want to do that).0929

Photo Merge, this time we're going to do auto and we're going to do geometric distortion correction--see that's what it did, it did the perspective one.0943

We'll try this one again; add open files, and we'll kick it a second time, and we'll see what happens this time and this one should come out with the cylindrical look.0953

Aligning our layers...this one's taking just a hair away, it's just about done...and there you have it.0965

Now if you notice here, it looks more in perspective--the geometric correction, it's not distorted anymore, if we go ahead and crop this one in...bring it down just slightly, bring it in, and bring it in, you see this looks like the human eye would want to see it with all the geometric corrections.0979

This is actually, I think, the more pleasing methodology, so we're just going to go ahead and save this one as--we'll call it Cylindrical, Pano Cylindrical...take off that part of it, and save it on the Desktop.1004

And get rid of that, and now we're going to get out of there and we're going to do it again...File, Automate, Photo Merge, do it a third time.1026

This time we've done perspective and cylindrical, let's try spherical this time and see what that does.1039

This way you get a chance to see all five of these fairly quickly and see the differential.1046

Usually you're going to go with, the auto will usually kick it, it's done this three or four times.1056

Now this one came out almost exactly the same as the cylindrical, just a little more pull on the corners--notice it's just tilted out just so slightly.1062

When the sphere opened up, there was just a little more bowing, but basically fairly decent looking--let's go ahead and save that as Spherical...1075

This is kind of fun, I haven't ever done five in a row like this anyway, so this'll be kind of cool--let's go File, Automate, Photo Merge, and we're going to go ahead and do collage this time.1091

Add open files, collage, I want to see what this looks like--this is kind of cool, I'm glad you guys are sticking with me on this--whoa, there it is!1105

How about that?1117

This is kind of cool--whoa, look at that, wow!1118

That may be the best one of all!1124

I'm amazed...kind of cool, huh?1128

I mean, I'm learning some things here myself--Pano, collage, my golly, that is really kind of cool.1132

You notice there's no distortion at all--it took the five images all in their vertical manner just like they all looked individually, look at that, see?1140

And we go back to that, it has actually blended the edges up and kept everything precisely as we see it--I think overall this one so far is the best of the bunch!1150

Let's try the last one; Photo Merge, and we're going to kick reposition--oh, this ought to be fun, add open files, kick OK...and I have no idea what this is going to look at--I've never done one of these before so let's see what it does.1160

It actually might be pretty close, because I--wow!1177

I see--there you can see the edges--it's just up and down, up and down so if you crop it...OK, I got it, it just stacked them up and down and matched up the edges and blended those in pretty well, that might even be better!1183

Interesting, and that was reposition, Pano Reposition, and let's save that one, and let's go ahead and close out our five individual images and open up the four pano's and see what we've got for our final here.1200

Open recent...reposition...we've already got that one open, collage...spherical...perspective...and there should be a cylindrical...1220

And open recent, perspective, spherical, collage, reposition...and I don't see the other one...we'll do one more, that's alright, we got the idea.1246

Let's go Window, Arrange, Float all in windows, and I'm going to put this window away and put this window away, and show you all four of these side by side.1259

The perspective one obviously didn't work, the spherical has got a little bow, but the other two--you know it's really a tough call on all of these, let's just go ahead and look at them one at a time.1274

And...tough call, I mean you might play with these in different manners if you shoot them well, I think this one here which is the collage actually has the best realistic look to it.1288

But anyway, you can play with these, you have five different methodologies that you can shoot that give you different looks, all the way from the spherical, the perspective, right down to nothing more than a reposition and it all gives you a wonderful panorama.1306

All done in Photoshop CS6.1324