The above image is a composite of 4 full resolution Canon 7D Raw files and is over 110megs. This composite was created in a few minutes using Photoshop CS5’s PhotoMerge.
1. Select the files to be combined.
PhotoMerge is buried under File > Automate > PhotoMerge. In the above pop-up dialog box, simply click the Browse and add the photos to be merged. It is helpful to have Vignette Removal and Geometric Distortion Correction checked. Blend Images Together will create smooth blends between the layers with masks.
2. The merged photo may need some work.
The above image looks a little drunk … a result of taking the photos taken hand-held without a tripod. Why should I make it easy 😉 You will notice that each photo is on its own layer with a mask. Perfect for fine-tuning, if needed.
3. Use Puppet Warp to straighten the image.
You could try using the Warp to straighten the image, but Puppet Warp is sooooo much easier! Select all of the layers and convert to a Smart Object. Got to Edit > Puppet Warp to begin. Start at one end of the photo on the horizon and add a pin. Add additional pins along the horizon where the image needs straightening. Be sure to add on final pin at the end of the image to anchor it. With the pins in place, just click on a pin and pull to straighten the image. Simple! (If you would like additional info on Puppet Warp, take a look at my tutorial Puppet Warp turns a Frown into a Smile.
4. Fill blank areas with Content Aware.
Start by Control/Command clicking on the Smart Object layer. Then, Control/Command + I to select the blank areas. Go to Edit > Fill to trigger the Fill pop-up box. Be sure to change the drop-down to Content-Aware and click OK. Depending on the size of the image, you may see an error that you do not have enough memory to complete the task. If so, just reduce the selection to smaller portions and apply the Fill. Any problem areas can be touched-up with the Healing Brush using Content-Aware.
5. The final photo is HUGE!
The final composite photo is over 110megs with a resolution of 240 DPI enough to make a Photo Editor giddy with excitement!
But, suppose you wanted a panorama to go beyond 180 degrees? Photoshop CS5 fails with that composite. There are other ways of doing a full 360 degree panorama. I will cover that next…