Creating Panoramic Shots in Photoshop CS3 Using Auto Align and Auto Blend

in Tutorials
By farizal/Ahmad Farizal (0) Send mail to this user on August 9, 2008 2:11:22 AM CDT

Auto Align Layers and Auto Blend Layers are two new powerful features introduced to Adobe Photoshop CS3 to improve the Photomerge feature found in CS2. Like the names suggest, Auto Align Layers and Auto Blend Layers can be used to align and seamlessly blend a series of images. So, if you need to stitch together two or more pictures to create panoramic shots or grids, then these are the right tools to use.

So how do you use these two powerful tools? Well, the first thing to do is to prepare the pictures. When taking pictures for panoramic shots, always remember to take them with overlapping edges. This will make them easier to work with and to ensure that there are no "missing pieces" in your panoramic shot.

Now that you've prepared the pictures, it is time to open them in Photoshop CS3. Copy each image into separate layers, in the right order, in the same document. Remember to hold the Shift key while doing this, so that the layers will be placed in the same position (centered in the document). Also, you should know that you cannot have any locked or linked layers, so make sure you double click the Background layer to unlock it. (If you don't want to go into the trouble of opening each picture one by one, you can also use an Action Script).

After all the pictures have been opened and pasted in the same document, select all the layers by clicking on the top most layer in the layers palette. Then, while holding the Shift key, click on the bottom most layer.

Next, choose Edit > Auto-Align Layers. Choose the type of projection you like (Auto will do just fine on most panoramic pictures) and click the OK button. Notice that the canvas will automatically expand to accommodate the pictures. Do not worry about the seams and the color differences for now, as you have Auto Blend Layers to fix that.

Now, choose Edit > Auto-Blend Layers. You will now see that the Photoshop CS3 has cleverly adjusted the colors and exposure of each image by using a layer mask between images, so that it does not alter the original image.

Once you are satisfied with the result, it is now time to take care of the glitches in the border. The easiest way to do this is by using the Crop tool. Simply crop the unwanted sections, save the results and voila! What a beautiful panoramic shot!

Author: Farizal

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