Saturday, April 3, 2010

Photomerge

Fortunately, not everything in Photoshop is labour intensive. Some of the coolest stuff is automated.

While some newer cameras have image stitch (panorama mode or another name depending on brand), they are somewhat limited in what they do.

Essentially these lock the cameras setting and let you 'weld' a few pictures together. It can also show you a bit of the previous image to help guide you on how much overlap you need. Also, it doesn't alter the perspective and the fixed camera settings aren't always helpful.

This is where Photoshop (full or elements) comes in. Open the pictures you want to merge and tell it to go to work.

I'm told that not everyone likes the music to this. Tough. Turn it off if you want :p



A couple of things to keep in mind:

1) It will only alter the perspective to about 120ยบ - after that it does a cylindrical mapping - in plain English, straight lines become curved.

2) You *might* want to scale down your pictures first. Most cameras output a very large file and you're asking the computer to load them all into memory, find where they join, match perspective and do brightness/contrast calculations. That's a lot of work, and if it can't do it all, it usually skips the last things in that list or possibly not even match it at all. You can still manually align the pictures and have it more likely to merge that way, but it's best to let the computer do it. The combined file will still be huge and more detail than you need - especially if you do the trick in #4

3)You still need a bit of overlap. The Photoshop help file recommends 25-40%. Having a notable object at the extreme right of a picture, then extreme left on next shot is usually sufficient.

4) Unlike cameras, you aren't limited to horizontal or vertical stitching.

Individual shots

Combined

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