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How to create panorama in Photoshop

29th of July 2013. There are many reasons why you would choose to make your panorama inside Photoshop. Perhaps you don't have a wide-angle zoom lens, or even if you have one you may not be happy with the distortions associated with these lenses. I'm personally a big fan of prime lenses, and as a low budget Canon user I have earlier spoken about my favorite lens, the Canon 50mm 1.8. With no moving parts a prime lens creates much better quality in comparison to more expensive zoom lenses. Whether you use prime lenses or zoom lenses you can still create great panorama pictures. Considering the distortions in a wide angle lens, your panorama pictures might even get better if you let Photoshop do the work. Even though Photoshop is also great to correct the distortions you get from a wide angle lens.

Taking Panorama Pictures

If you already have taken your photographs and want to know how to stitch them together, jump to the next session.
If you have not yet taken your pictures there are, however, a few hints you should follow when taking your shots.

Firstly, the camera should be in manual shooting mode including the ISO settings. It is important that all of the pictures have same exposure settings. If you have a camera that can lock exposure settings, that is always an option. For panoramic photos you should have aperture settings that will put everything in focus, with f8 or higher being good settings.
Since the object probably is only nature, you can set your exposure long enough to avoid it getting too dark. Take test pictures until you find that your settings are proper, and then take your panoramic photographs.

If you are taking your pictures handheld, make sure you only move the upper part of your body and create a lot of overlapping between the pictures in order give Photoshop something to work with. One problem is that when you take the pictures handheld you will lose detail for any parts of the upper or lower part of the image as you move around. One set-up of the images is to hold the camera vertically instead of horizontally. This method should be used far more often. Often you cannot get the entirety of a mountain or building in the shot due to the height of the object. Making a panorama with images shot with camera in vertical position is the obvious solution to capture both the width and height of the object.

Create the Panorama in Photoshop

After you have taken your images, they should be available to be turned into a panorama. Photoshop has an uncanny ability to adjust the pictures to fit based on the content in the images. First you open all the images in Photoshop and add them together as layers. To make layers out of individual pictures you have opened, you choose the drag tool and you drag each picture over the tab of another picture and into it. When you have dragged all the pictures into one picture, you go into the layers panel and choose all pictures by clicking on each layer while holding down the control key. After you have marked all the layers, you go to edit->Auto-Align Layer (Picture below).

After clicking you will get the Auto-Align pop-up menu, where you should choose "Auto" (Picture below).

When the pictures are aligned, they will look something like what you see below.

In shape the pictures are aligned, but with noticeable stripes of color differences between the slides.

To make Photoshop blend the pictures together you have to go to Edit->Auto-blend Layers (Picture below), where you choose the pictures to blend as Panorama.

The final solution, at least if you shot the pictures handheld, will be to crop the images.