Creating photomerge panoramas

The Photomerge Panorama command combines several photographs into one continuous image. For example, you can take five overlapping photographs of a city skyline, and assemble them into a panorama. The Photomerge Panorama command can tile photos horizontally as well as vertically.

When you set up a Photomerge Panorama composition, you identify the files you want to merge (called your source files), and then Photoshop Elements automatically assembles them into a single panorama. After the panorama is complete, you can still make changes to the placement of the individual photos, if necessary.

Your source photographs play a large role in panoramic compositions. To avoid problems, follow these guidelines when taking pictures for use with Photomerge Panorama:

Photomerge Panorama
Creating a Photomerge Panorama

Overlap images sufficiently

Images should overlap approximately 15% to 40%. If the overlap is less, Photomerge Panorama may not be able to automatically assemble the panorama. If images overlap by 50% or more, it can be difficult to work with them, and blending may not be as effective.

Use a consistent focal length

Avoid using the zoom feature of your camera while taking your pictures.

Keep the camera level

Although Photomerge Panorama can process slight rotations between pictures, a tilt of more than a few degrees can result in errors when automatically assembling the panorama. Using a tripod with a rotating head helps maintain camera alignment and viewpoint.

Tip: When photographing a panoramic scene from a high place, the natural inclination is to keep the horizon level in the viewfinder. However, this actually produces a noticeable rotation between images. Try using a tripod to keep the camera level when taking photographs in this situation.

Stay in the same position

Try not to change your location as you take a series of photographs, so that the pictures are from the same viewpoint. Using the optical viewfinder with the camera held close to the eye helps keep the viewpoint consistent. Or try using a tripod to keep the camera in the same place.

Avoid using distortion lenses

Lenses, such as fish-eye lenses, that noticeably distort the image can interfere with Photomerge Panorama.

Maintain the same exposure

Avoid using the flash in some pictures and not in others. The advanced blending feature in Photomerge Panorama helps smooth out different exposures, but extreme differences make alignment difficult. Some digital cameras change exposure settings automatically as you take pictures, so you may need to check your camera settings to be sure that all the images have the same exposure.

Photomerge Panorama Guided Edit

The process to stitch multiple photos together to create a panorama is now simplified - introducing the Photomerge Panorama Guided Edit. Creating a panorama now requires you to just perform a series of actions in a step-by-step workflow - and you get a panorama ready to share or print at the end. 

For more information on the Panorama Guided Edit, see Photomerge Panorama Guided Edit.

Create a Photomerge panorama composition

Note:

The functionality and interface of this feature have been enhanced in Photoshop Elements 14. The corresponding article for Photoshop Elements 14  and later is available at this link.

  1. Do one of the following:
    • In Full Edit mode in the Edit workspace, choose File > New > Photomerge Panorama.
    • In the Elements Organizer, choose File > New > Photomerge Panorama.
  2. In the Photomerge dialog box, choose an option from the Use pop-up menu:

    Files

    Generates the Photomerge composition using individual image files.

    Folders

    Uses all the images stored in a folder to create the Photomerge composition. The files in the folder appear in the dialog box.

    Or, click Add Open Files to use the images you have open in the Edit workspace.

  3. Do one of the following to select photos you want to use:
    • Click Add Open Files to use images you have open in the Edit workspace.
    • Click the Browse button to navigate to the source files or folder.

    Note:

    You can add more files by clicking the Browse button again and navigating to the source files. You can always remove a file from the Source Files list by selecting the file and clicking the Remove button.

  4. Choose a layout option:

    Auto

    Analyzes the source images and applies either a Perspective or Cylindrical layout, depending on which produces a better photomerge.

    Perspective

    Creates a consistent composition by designating one of the source images (by default, the middle image) as the reference image. The other images are then transformed (repositioned, stretched, or skewed as necessary) so that overlapping content layer is matched.

    Cylindrical

    Reduces the “bow-tie” distortion that can occur with the Perspective layout by displaying individual images as on an unfolded cylinder. Overlapping content is still matched. The reference image is placed at the center. This is best suited for creating wide panoramas.

    Spherical

    Aligns and transforms the images as if they were for mapping the inside of a sphere. If you have taken a set of images that cover 360 degrees, use this for 360-degree panoramas. You might also use Spherical to produce nice panoramic results with other file sets.

    Collage

    Aligns the layers and matches overlapping content and transforms (rotate or scale) any of the source layers.

    Reposition

    Aligns the layers and matches overlapping content, but does not transform (stretch or skew) any of the source images.

    (Photoshop Elements 10 and 11 only) Interactive Layout

    Choose this option to open the source images in a dialog box and position them manually.

  5. (Optional) Select any of the following options:

    Blend Images Together

    Finds the optimal borders between the images and creates seams based on those borders, and to color match the images. With Blend Images Together turned off, a simple rectangular blend is performed. This may be preferable if you intend to retouch the blending masks by hand.

    Vignette Removal

    Removes and performs exposure compensation in images that have darkened edges caused by lens flaws or improper lens shading.

    Geometric Distortion Correction

    Compensates for barrel, pincushion, or fisheye distortion.

    Content Aware Fill Transparent Areas  Seamlessly fill the transparent areas with similar image content nearby. 

  6. Click OK to generate the panorama as a new file.

    A message asks whether you want to fill the panorama edges that are left transparent. If you click Yes, Photoshop Elements fills the edges with content-aware healing.

Create a Photomerge panorama interactively (Photoshop Elements 10 and 11 only)

Generally, the automatic options in the Photomerge dialog box create satisfactory panoramas. If these options don’t produce the results you want, select the Interactive Layout option. The Photomerge dialog box for interactive layouts lets you manually rearrange your source images.

  1. Choose the Interactive Layout option in the main Photomerge dialog box to open the Photomerge interactive dialog box.
  2. Do any of the following:
    • Select Reposition Only and Snap To Image to preserve the alignment at overlapping image areas. Photoshop Elements applies blending to even out differences of exposure between the source images.
    • Select Perspective and Photoshop Elements selects one of the source images to supply a vanishing point. It also stretches or skews the other images to create a wraparound effect. Use the Vanishing Point tool to change the vanishing point and reorient the perspective.
  3. Drag the images to the work area and manually arrange them.
  4. After arrange the composition, click OK to generate the panorama as a new file. The composition then opens in Photoshop Elements.

The Photomerge dialog box for interactive layouts

The Photomerge dialog box contains tools for manipulating the composition, a lightbox for storing source images that are not in use, a work area for assembling the composition, and options for viewing and editing the composition. You can also zoom in and out to better see the alignment of each file.

Photomerge Panorama dialog box
Photomerge interactive layout dialog box.

A. Lightbox B. Tools C. Work area D. Selected image E. Status bar 
  • To navigate, select the Move View tool  and drag within the work area. Or, drag the view area (the red box) or the scroll bar of the navigator.
  • To zoom, click the Zoom In icon  and Zoom Out icon , or use the Zoom tool . Hold down Alt (Option in Mac OS) to zoom out with the Zoom tool.
  • To rotate images, select the Select Image tool , click the image you want to rotate, select the Rotate tool , and then drag in a circular motion around the image.
  • To reorder images in the lightbox, select the Select Image tool and drag an image in the lightbox.
  • To add an image to the composition, select the Select Image tool, and then drag the image from the lightbox to the work area.
  • To remove an image from the composition, select the Select Image tool, and then drag the image from the work area to the lightbox.

Note:

Make sure Snap To Image is selected to automatically snap overlapping images into place when a commonality is detected.

Change the vanishing point in a Photomerge panorama

The Vanishing Point tool selects the vanishing point image, which changes the perspective of the Photomerge panorama composition.

  1. Select Perspective in the Settings area of the Photomerge dialog box. The middle image is the default vanishing point image (it has a blue border around it when selected).
  2. Select the Vanishing Point tool , and click on an image in the work area to make it the vanishing point image. There can only be one vanishing point image in a composition.

    Note:

    Hold down Alt (Option in Mac OS) when you move the pointer over an image to show the selection border of the photo.

  3. If necessary, use the Select Image tool  to adjust the position of the non-vanishing point images. A non-vanishing point image has a red border around it when selected.

    When you apply perspective correction to a composition, the non-vanishing point images are linked to the vanishing point image. You can break this link by clicking the Reposition Only button, by separating the images in the work area, or by dragging the vanishing point image back to the lightbox. After the link is broken, images return to their original shapes.

    The perspective correction only works up to an approximately 120° angle of view. If your composition has a wider angle of view, deselect the Perspective option.

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