The Photomerge™ command combines several photographs into one continuous image. For example, you can take five overlapping photographs of a city skyline, and then merge them into a panorama. The Photomerge command can assemble photos that are tiled horizontally as well as vertically.
Your source photographs play a large role in panoramic compositions. To avoid problems, follow these guidelines when taking pictures for use with Photomerge:
Overlap images sufficiently
Images should overlap by approximately 40%. If the overlap is less, Photomerge may not be able to automatically assemble the panorama. However, keep in mind that the images shouldn’t overlap too much. If images overlap by 70% or more, Photomerge may not be able to blend the images. Try to keep the individual photos at least somewhat distinct from each other.
Use one focal length
If you use a zoom lens, don’t change the focal length (zoom in or out) while taking your pictures.
Keep the camera level
Although Photomerge can process slight rotations between pictures, a tilt of more than a few degrees can result in errors when the panorama is assembled. Using a tripod with a rotating head helps maintain camera alignment and viewpoint.
Stay in the same position
Try not to change your position 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
Distortion lenses can interfere with Photomerge. However, the Auto option adjusts for images taken with fish-eye lenses.
Maintain the same exposure
Avoid using the flash in some pictures and not in others. The blending features in Photomerge 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.
Photoshop analyzes the source images and applies either a Perspective, Cylindrical, and Spherical layout, depending on which produces a better photomerge.
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 across layers is matched.
Reduces the “bow‑tie” distortion that can occur with the Perspective layout by displaying individual images as on an unfolded cylinder. Overlapping content across files is still matched. The reference image is placed at the center. Best suited for creating wide panoramas.
Aligns and transforms the images as if they were for mapping the inside of a sphere, which simulates the experience of viewing a 360-degree panorama. 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.
Aligns the layers and matches overlapping content and transforms (rotate or scale) any of the source layers.
Blend Images Together
Finds the optimal borders between the images and creates seams based on those borders, and color matches 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.
Removes and performs exposure compensation in images that have darkened edges caused by lens flaws or improper lens shading.
Photoshop creates one multi‑layer image from the source images, adding layer masks as needed to create optimal blending where the images overlap. You can edit the layer masks or add adjustment layers to further fine-tune the different areas of the panorama.
To replace empty areas around image borders, use a content-aware fill. (See Use Content-aware, pattern, or history fills.)
Devices such as the Ricoh Theta V and Insta360One let you capture full 360 panoramic images in a single take. Alternatively, you can combine Photomerge with 3D features to create a 360-degree panorama. First, you stitch together the images to create a panorama; then you use the Spherical Panorama command to wrap the panorama so it’s continuous.
Be sure to photograph a full circle of images with sufficient overlap. Photographing with a pano head on a tripod helps produce better results.
You can edit equirectangular spherical panoramas in Photoshop. With the panorama asset imported and its layer selected, invoke the panoramic viewer by choosing 3D > Spherical Panorama > New Panorama Layer From Selected Layer. Alternatively, directly load a spherical panorama from your system into the viewer by selecting 3D > Spherical Panorama > Import Panorama.
Once you've opened a panorama in the viewer, you can perform a variety of operations on it.
Photoshop lets you adjust the camera view for your panoramic image.
- Select the Move tool.
- Click and drag in the view to look around inside the panoramic image.
The Properties Panel in Photoshop displays the camera properties. Here, you can adjust the field of view of the camera in mm (as in a 35mm camera) or degrees.
You can also click and drag the Axis widget controls available in the lower-left corner of the document window in Photoshop to rotate the camera without switching back to the Move tool.
You can use the painting and adjustment tools available in Photoshop such as the Healing Brush and the Spot Healing Brush to edit the panorama. Filters work only on the visible portion of the panorama. Accordingly, it is recommended that you isolate the image outside the 3D view to apply the filters to your panoramic image.
The workflow given below uses the Spot Healing Brush tool as an example.
Click the area you want to fix, or click and drag to smooth over imperfections in a larger area. For details, see Retouch with the Spot Healing Brush tool.
- To improve the quality and performance while painting your panoramic image, create a new layer above the panoramic layer. After editing this layer, choose the Merge Down option from the Layers panel menu or press Ctrl/ Command+E.
- To apply filters to the entire panorama, double-click the layer titled Spherical Map in the Layers panel, edit as desired, and then save the file. The image automatically gets updated in the spherical layout.