Since moving to Rome, I have recently rediscovered Photoshop’s automation tools for panoramic photographs.  Seriously, I totally forgot about it – but… all these great views kind of reminded me.  🙂  Here’s one you’ve probably already seen if you stalk me on Facebook of the Roman Forum (please right-click and select view image to see the full thing!):

forum_Panorama1_topaz_web

Surprisingly – this is only 8 images stitched together…  A little Topaz filtration, and some HDR but nothing really intense. (Ok, yes.  Living next to the Roman Forum kind of helps…)

Here’s what you do:

1.  Take a series of photographs with at least 1/3 overlap between frames.

2.  Take more coverage at the far ends of your scenes.  Remember that in a perspective shot, you’ll be tapering the edges if you want a straight panoramic.  Make sure you have a wider “spray” of images at the far edges.

3.  Do NOT convert to JPG.  Keep the files RAW with no color adjustments before bringing into Photoshop.

4.  Open Photoshop.  Here’s where you can find the Panoramic Stitching Tool:

photoshop_automate5.  Select Photomerge – and this window appears:

photoshop_photomerge

6.  Browse for the series of files you want to merge on your computer’s hard-drive.  Open ALL.  They will appear in the white window above.  Select “Auto” as seen above.  Select “OK”.

7.  Go make popcorn.  This part can take awhile.

8.  Assuming that you’ve already finished the whole bag of popcorn, your computer might be ready to work again…  A multi-layered file should be open in Photoshop.

9.  Save file as a .psd.  Now FLATTEN LAYERS.  Save-As a .TIF

10.  Open .TIF in Lightroom.  Make 3 virtual copies.

11.  Adjust first virtual copy for the sky.

12.  Adjust second virtual copy for the building highlights.

13.  Adjust third virtual copy for the building shadows

14.  Adjust fourth (original-ish) copy for midtones.

15.  Export these 4 files at full-size.  Open all in Photoshop

16.  Personally, I don’t like the HDR in Photoshop – I copy each file’s contents and paste it as a new layer in a working file.  Make sure you Select-All or they won’t line up!

17.  Mask and adjust to your liking.  Makes a great faux-HDR.  Save-as a new layered document, and then FLATTEN and save-as again (.tif).

18.  Last but not least:  Topaz Adjust.  Take your flattened .TIF and duplicate the layer.  Now open Topaz.  (I’m still on Topaz-v3 because I’m too lazy to install the new one.)

topaz_clarity19.  Personally, I like the clarity setting (I use it a lot on dog-fur) however Neutralizer is a very cool preset as well.  Generally I play with the sliders once I’m within range of what I want from the presets shown on the left.

20.  Apply preset (OK).  Flatten Photoshop document.  Enjoy!

Hope you liked this (kind of easy) tutorial!