|Creating panoramas from a series of stills.|
These days, high-resolution digital photography and photo manipulation software such as Adobe® Photoshop®, make the process of creating and printing panoramic shots so much cleaner and easier.
Although Photoshop has very sophisticated options in the Photomerge feature, I prefer to to use "Reposition" with no other options selected. This enables me to start on any of the layers and work outward to the left and right edges. When aligning a layer, I place it on top of the previous layer, reduce the opacity to about 50% and use the Free Transform feature; this allows me to see the layer I’m matching against, and to rotate the layer I’m aligning, if necessary. When I have all the layers aligned, as best as I can, I will use a matte to blend the two layers together (a non-destructive compositing technique). I will cut the matte along naturally occurring vertical lines in the image; this will make the seam much less visible. After I have the layers blended, I generally have to adjust the tones of some of the images in the composition. Again, to preserve the original layer, I use Adjustment Layers (usually Levels and Hue/Saturation) above the layer I want to affect. When adjusting the tone, I always concentrate on the ground portion of the shot first – I do the sky in a second pass.
Once the ground portion of the shot is complete, I begin the process of making a “second pass” on the sky. I place all of the current layers in a New Group (folder) and then duplicate that Group. The Group that is the copy is the one that will contain the adjusted ground layers. I create a matte for this Group that allows the sky portion of the bottom Group to show through. It is in this bottom Group that I work to adjust the tones of the sky. In the case of the sample panorama, I separated the image into four parts:
This allows better control of each of the individual parts. Doing so means that making color adjustments to the background won't affect the foreground.
After I’ve adjusted the all of the layers just the way I like it, the panorama is complete. I will create a JPEG with as little compression as possible at its original size and use that JPEG to have a print made.
Here's a time-lapse shot of sunrise over the south rim of the grand canyon. The video was captured with an iPhone (in real time - I discovered that the iPhone will record clips no longer than 50 minutes) and then time remapped in Adobe® After Effects®.