Saturday, 12 November 2011

Creating a Panorama in Photoshop

Remember : click an image to view a larger version

Whilst out taking some photographs for a project called ABANDONED INDUSTRY I found myself photographing the old Rolls-Royce Main Works building on Nightingale Road in Derby. 

The building is pretty impressive and for years was the focal point for anyone visiting the company. The main entrance also housed the famous Battle of Britain stained glass window depicting a pilot with an eagle at his shoulders standing on a propeller overlooking the Rolls-Royce site.

Having taken the detail shots that I wanted I decided it would be cool to photograph the entire building frontage especially now this majestic building is surrounded by grey railings to keep out vandals.

The building frontage is enormous spanning about one third of Nightingale Road. However the width on Nightingale Road is that of a normal street which means that the photographer can’t get too far away from the building before bumping into the houses on the opposite side of the street.

From this position it is impossible to take in the full width of the building without an extremely wide angle or Fisheye lens, neither of which I possess.  I decided that the only way I was going to capture this building was to shoot a set of individual images and stitch them together in Photoshop to create a panorama. 

Using my Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 set at 17mm I found that if I stood at building centreline I could capture the full frontage in five individual shots.  The secret to shooting for panoramas is to ensure that each shot overlaps a little. This gives Photoshop a fighting chance of finding some detail to use to align and subsequently blend the images.

Having got my images onto the computer I fired up Photoshop and then selected File > Automate > Photomerge. I selected the five images below and left everything at the default settings.  Photoshop leapt into action (as much as it does on my PC) and about 3 minutes later I was presented with a merged Panorama on screen and a five layers with associated masks in the Layers Panel as shown below.

As can be seen, whenever Photoshop creates a panorama the final image is usually anything but rectangular in shape.  Dealing with this irregular shape is a matter of personal choice. It can be cropped, filled, cloned, etc. In this particular case I chose to use the transform tool to level the main image then I cropped it and used the clone stamp tool to fill in the few remaining pieces of empty frame.

The final result can be seen here. I’ve added a small, black stroke and some text to complete it.

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