Photomerge and Align Image - Adobe Photoshop CC for

Photomerge and Align Image - Adobe Photoshop CC for
Movie 7
Photomerge and Align
Image
Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers by Martin Evening
ISBN: 0-240-52028-9 (old style ISBN)
ISBN: 978-0-240-52028-5 (new style ISBN)
Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers is published by Focal Press, an imprint of Elsevier. The title will be available
from May 2007. Here are four easy ways to order direct from the publishers:
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The title will be stocked in most major bookstores throughout the UK and US and via many resellers worldwide. It will also
be available for purchase through the online bookstores www.barnesandnoble.com, Amazon.com and
Amazon.co.uk.
Martin Evening
Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers
www.photoshopforphotographers.com
Auto-Alignment
In the Image Stacks movie we looked at using autoalignment in Photoshop CS3 when auto aligning images
into an Image Stack. Let’s now look at how to auto-align
image layers in a document.
1 Here are two photographs from a sequence of shots taken of a group portrait.
Ideally, I wanted to combine the exposure at the top with the one below, where the
two girls in the front looked more relaxed. To do this, I used the move tool (with
the S key held down) to drag the lower photograph across to the top image to
add it as a new layer in register with the one below. I then selected both layers and
went to the Edit menu and chose Auto-Align Layers... I selected the Perspective
option and clicked OK.
Movie 7
Photomerge and align image
2 After applying the Auto-Align command, the two layers should be in close
register. In this example, the Auto-Align process enlarged the Layer 1 slightly, so
that the people in the Layer 1 photograph matched the size of the people in the
Background Layer photograph. I then added a layer mask filled with black (O
A-click the Add Layer mask button in the Layers palette.
The interesting thing to note about the example used here is
that the two photographs were taken from slightly different
shooting angles and with different crops. But when the
Auto-Align feature is used in the Perspective mode,
it can do a really good job of aligning the images and
getting them to match. If the photographs you are joining
together were for example, shot with the camera locked in
position on a tripod, then you might find it better to use the
Reposition Only alignment.
Client: Clipso
Martin Evening
Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers
www.photoshopforphotographers.com
Photomerge
The Photomerge command has been
improved through the shared use of the
new align content technology in Photoshop
CS3. The difference between this and the
Align Layers command is that you use
Align Layers to align layers already in an
image document. Photomerge is used
to create an align layered image from a
selected set of images.
Auto-Blend cut-outs
If you look closely at the way the AutoBlend works, you will notice that when
it analyzes the images, it adds a mask to
each layer such that each area of the final
composite is defined by a single portion
from each layer. And the layers themselves
are cut-out using a jagged outline to break
up the edges of each layer element. As
a result of this, you should find that the
combined Auto-Align and Auto-Blend,
or full Photomerge process will usually
produce a composite free of overlapping
picture elements and fuzzy sections, like
you can see in the Step 1 result opposite.
Auto-Blend layers
The full auto-align process is carried out in two stages.
Stage one is where the Auto-Align Layers command is
used to align selected layers (a Background layer must
be promoted to a normal layer if you want to align it),
based on the image content and place them in register. An
Auto-Blend Layers command can be used to complete
the process, by intelligently analyzing the image and
aggressively masking the individual layers to produce a
composite in which the individual layers are all masked
out like pieces of a jig-saw puzzle. In the example shown
opposite, I used the Photomerge command settings shown
in Figure 1 to merge a group of selected images using a
Cylindrical layout, but without applying the ‘Advanced
Blending’. This allowed me the opportunity to apply some
edits to the individual layers, before selecting the Edit ➯
Auto-Blend layers command to merge the layers together
more smoothly. Note that the Photomerge command shown
below in Figure 1 shares the same interface options as
the Auto-Align Layers dialog. Basically, the Auto-Align
Layers is just performing the layer alignment step that is
part of a full Photomerge operation.
Figure 1 Here is the Photomerge dialog showing the settings used to create the
Photomerge composite shown in Step 1, opposite. The Cylindrical layout can be used
to create a photomerge image in which the natural perspective lines are constrained to
a cylindrical mapping. This is a useful layout mode to choose when merging images
that make up an extreme wide-angle view.
Movie 7
Photomerge and align image
1 As was mentioned in the text on the opposite page, there are times when it is
more helpful to carry out a photomerge in stages. In this example, I used the
Photomerge command to align the selected images, so that I could edit them
individually first before blending them.
3 Once I had edited the layers, I selected them all and chose Edit ➯ Auto-Blend
Layers to merge them and create the composite shown here (with a little extra work
done to enhance the sky color).
Martin Evening
Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers
www.photoshopforphotographers.com
Photomerge made simpler
Those of you who are familiar with this
feature will notice that the new Photomerge
options will make it much easier to
render a Photomerge image using one
of the Auto options in the Photomerge
dialog, which are shown in Figure 3. The
Interactive layout mode is retained so that
you can have full manual control over a
Photomerge image.
Photomerge tools
Photomerge in Interactive layout mode
Photomerge is mainly used for stitching photographs
together to create panoramic compositions. There are other
programs out there that can do the same kind of thing with
varying degrees of success. But now with the improved
auto-alignment in Photoshop CS3, I would consider the
Photomerge feature to be among the best. I will often use
Photomerge whenever I want to capture a view wider than
the lens on my camera will allow. Photomerge will now
work well in auto or one of the other new modes, and there
are examples of Photomerge being used in these ways in
the book. But in this section I want to show you how to use
Photomerge in the Interactive layout mode.
Work space area
Navigator
Save Composition
Lightbox area
Progress bar
Snap to image
Figure 2 The main Photomerge dialog.
Photomerge
settings
Movie 7
Photomerge and align image
You will generally get good results if you start with a
simple composition that stitches together just a few shots
rather than bombarding it with too many images. And
before you shoot the photographs, set the exposure setting
to manual so that the exposures are all consistent. And if
you are shooting digitally, make sure that the white balance
setting also remains the same (although if you shoot raw,
you can apply a single white balance in the Camera Raw
processing). The focal length must remain constant as
well; do not attempt to zoom in or out as you are taking
photographs. Wide angle shots are more tricky to stitch
together, so try to use a focal length that is equivalent to a
35 mm lens on a 35 mm camera, or longer.
There are two ways you can use Photomerge. The
easiest way is to use Bridge to select the images you want
to merge and choose Tools ➯ Photoshop ➯ Photomerge.
The other way is to launch Photomerge from the File ➯
Automate menu, and click on the Browse button in the
introductory dialog to select a folder of images, or browse
through the folders on your computer to add specific
individual files you wish to merge together, or if the
images you wish to merge are already open in Photoshop,
select the Open Files option. If you then check the Blend
images together option at the bottom, Photomerge will
automatically attempt to join images together when it
opens the Photomerge dialog shown in Figure 1.
Photomerge photography tips
If you are planning to capture a panoramic
scene, then you need to make sure that all
the images overlap sufficiently, by at least
15%. As you take your series of pictures,
rotate the camera in gradual steps aiming
to pivot the rotation around the center of
the lens. And try to prevent the camera
lens axis shifting about too much. You
can do this by handholding the camera,
but to get the best results, you could
consider using a tripod head like the Pan
head from Manfrotto™, which when used
with the angle bracket clamp, will let you
capture images that align more easily in
Photomerge, because the center of rotation
can be positioned accurately around the
center of the lens axis.
Figure 3 The Photomerge opening dialog where
you can select which images to process and
choose from the different Photomerge modes. If
you wish to load a pre-saved composition, there
must be no images loaded in this dialog. Start
with an empty dialog and click the Load... button.
This will load the saved composition data and
locate the associated source files.
Martin Evening
Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers
www.photoshopforphotographers.com
1 Although you can use the File ➯ Automate
menu in Photoshop, I find that the best
approach is to make an edited selection
of photographs via Bridge and choose
Photomerge... from the Bridge Tools ➯
Photoshop menu.
2 The Photomerge dialog will list the
photographs that have been selected and
present a range of Photomerge options. For the
following steps I chose to use the Interactive
Layout option (the one selected at the bottom of
the list of options).
3 As Photomerge launched it opened all of
the images in sequence and attempted to auto
stitch the pictures together. As you can see
here, Photomerge was able to work out how to
assemble six of the eight shots in the work area
all by itself. The two shots that wouldn’t auto
match were held in the Lightbox area above.
At this stage I was able to use the Navigator
controls to zoom in and out of the work space
area and scroll around the composition.
Movie 7
Photomerge and align image
4 To merge the remaining images held in the
lightbox area, I made sure the Select Image
tool was active and the Snap to Image box
(circled) was checked. I clicked to select the
images in the lightbox area and dragged
them across into the work area. The image
appeared semitransparent where it overlapped
the underlying composition. This enabled me
to judge where to position it so that the image
registers as closely as possible to the rest of
the composition. If the image did not appear to
match too well, I could have selected the rotate
image tool and rotated it slightly until it did.
5 Once all the image components were in
place, I could try making further improvements.
I clicked on the Perspective button in the
dialog settings and Photomerge adjusted the
composition preview, transforming each image
component in order to achieve an improved
composition perspective, centered around
the currently active image (which was the one
outlined above in red). If the perspective needed
adjusting, I could select the set vanishing
point tool (circled) and click in the work area
to set a new vanishing point. I then clicked OK
to process the images and render a blended
panorama photograph.
If at this stage I simply wanted to save the
composition settings, I could click on the Save
Composition button and name this as a saved
Photomerge setting. To load a Photomerge
setting, you can choose Photomerge from
the Photoshop (not Bridge) File ➯ Automate
menu (see Figure 15.22) and click on the Load
Composition button in the opening dialog.
Photomerge settings can be saved anywhere,
but they may fail to work if the source folder
name is changed.
Martin Evening
Adobe Photoshop CS3 for Photographers
www.photoshopforphotographers.com
Automatic Photomerge
The new Align Content processing has also allowed the
Photoshop team to update the Photomerge feature such that
it can now do a really good job of automatically aligning a
group of images, bypassing the need to use the interactive
Photomerge layout dialog.
Figure 4 Shown here is the very first attempt I made at using Photomerge in Auto
mode to align a set of 11 photographs, all shot from the same position. I have used
Photomerge quite a bit in the past, but the improved accuracy of the results has really
been quite impressive.
10
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