Tutorial: Create Panoramas in Photoshop

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Large scenes can be even too large for a super-wide angle lens.  Or, maybe you need a very high resolution image.  A multi-image panorama would do the trick.  But, is it difficult to create?  Did you see that Microsoft commercial of the 4-year-old girl making a panorama of her bedroom tent?  If a 4-year-old can do can do it… Well, it actually is that easy in Photoshop CS4.

1.  Take a series of overlapping photos


In order to create a panorama, you need a series of photos with overlapping details.  A tripod would be helpful.  But, in the above photos, I just hand-held the camera and slowly turned.  Don’t worry about color-shifts.  Photoshop will handle that during the merge.

2.  Open Photoshop and use Photomerge


Start with Photoshop CS4 with no open documents.  Go to File > Automate > Photomerge.  In the Photomerge dialog box, use the Browse button to find the photos to be merged.  Use the default Layout set to Auto to start.  (If you are not happy with the results, you can always try it again.)

3. Let Photoshop create the photo-merge


As part of the photo-merge, Photoshop will automatically align the images, blend the images, fix color shifts and even remove the vignette and distortions.  Photoshop does all of the hard work.  It will keep each image on its own layer using masks to produce the complete image.

4.  Just trim the excess and tweak


I just cropped off the excess and tweaked the image in Photoshop.  The final image was over 35megs, 5740 x 2165 pixels @240dpi.

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