Tuesday, September 17, 2013
How to create large-scale panoramic images with intricate detail using your everyday DSLR
You should move methodically and accurately through each frame. Depending on the amount of available light, clouds moving in the sky or shifting light, you may need to move quickly. Too much exposure change between images and rows will result in a failed stitch later. I highly encourage taking several sets of images. Just one single incorrect frame is like a missing piece to a jigsaw puzzle. A final image won't be possible.
Stitching: Merging Your Single Images Into A Panorama
Now that you have some images, it's time to download them to your computer and stitch them together to create one very large single photograph. There are many software programs for stitching photos together; my personal preference is Photoshop.
The Stitch. In Photoshop, choose File > Automate > Photomerge. From the dialog box, select the group of images, then select the Layout as Auto and Blend Images Together. If I later discover that I didn't do a great job of setting the nodal point during the shoot, I'll check Geometric Distortion Correction to help assist with the parallax issues. It's not perfect, but can often wrangle a difficult stitch into something manageable.
The Vignette Removal option is typically only selected when shooting wide-angle where, for example, the gradient blue of the sky can affect the stitch between two frames. Since I tend to shoot 50mm or higher, this isn't an option I use in my personal stitching process.
The Wait. Once you click OK, Photoshop starts the process of loading each frame of your soon-to-be panorama, each into its own separate layer. Once this step is completed, Photoshop will rearrange and adjust each frame, using powerful algorithms to match edges and overlap each photo. Then, once each image is in position, the software will create layer masks for a seamless final result.
This may be a good time to grab a cold beverage or take the dog for a walk. Depending on the number of images in your pano, this processing can take anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours.
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