Photoshop CS3: Create panorama shots using “Auto-Align-Layers/Auto-Blend-Layers”

One of my favorite features of Adobe Photoshop CS3 is “Auto Align Layers” and “Auto Blend Layers”, which lets you create a variety of panoramas using a sequence of shots. Here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to achieve quick and good result (Photoshop does pretty much everything for you, once you prepared the document)

Take pictures:

Take pictures with overlapping edges. You don’t need to do super-exact using a tripod and always the same rotation but you should give the images a good overlap (just in case…). I usually let half of the image overlap just to make sure there is enough to work with.
In this example we have 10 images for a ~180 degree shot.

Prepare Photoshop file:

Open the first image and unlock the background layer by double-clicking on the layer and confirming by clicking “ok”.
Create New Layer


layersNow drag the other photos into the same document (one after the other in the right order) while holding the shift key down in order to place the layer in the same position (centered in the document).
Save the file (you know… just in case πŸ˜€ )

Align layers:

Select all layers (select the top layer and shift-select the bottom layer) and choose Edit – Auto Align Layers.
Selected Layers Edit Menu
For this purpose I will choose “Cylindrical” to get that nice wide look that makes the console look more spectacular.
Auto Align
Click OK (this might take a while depending on your image size and speed of your computer). This is what it looks like, now:
Aligned
Save again…

Blend layers:

As you can see, the images are aligned but there are glitches in several parts of the image where the layer borders are. And depending on your source material you might have significantly different colors as well. Edit – Auto Blend Layers solves that problem for you! And the best part is that it’s non-destructive!
Blended SSL
Layer Masks created by Ps CS3
Guess what? Save the file again πŸ˜€

Crop:

Now you need to get rid of the transparent parts of the image. The best way is to use the crop tool and adjust it accordingly and confirm by double-clicking into the layer. In this example I want the mixing console to be in the center so I crop it accordingly.

That’s IT! Here’s the result:

Final SSL photo
My photos were shocking quality… Very shaky, underexposed and partially blurred. Of course, the better the source photos, the better the end result! Happy aligning!

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Published by

attilaacs

I've always been interested in all kinds of art because I felt the need to express myself in many different ways. I paint, draw, create 3D models, motion graphics & designs of all sorts, play guitar, love photography and whatever else is in between... I was born in Hungary and lived in Hungary, Germany, Australia and the UK for a number of years. I speak German, English and a little Hungarian (I'm working on improving that one again!).

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