Photomerge: Snapshots to Poster Prints

You can create stunning panoramas by “stitching” together several adjoining images with Photomerge. Then, with just a few tweaks, you can create a poster print for your home or office.

Shooting a panorama is easy if you keep a few things in mind;

  • Overlap your images by at least 1/3rd when photographing.
  • Set your exposure manually, if possible, to avoid dramatically different lighting conditions across your panorama.
  • Shoot 6 to 8 frames across your horizon, then pick from the best.
  • Please Note: Merging many images together can create some massive file sizes. Be aware…


Once you have your images, go to [File> Automate> Photomerge...] From the Photomerge dialog box, Use [Files, Folders, or Open files] Select Files and click [Browse] to locate the images you want to use. Once selected, the names of your images will appear in the window. By default, Attempt to Arrange source Images will be checked, if you uncheck this you will have to order the pictures yourself. Photomerge does a pretty good job, so I leave it checked. Then click OK.


From the Photomerge workspace you will see the beginnings of your panorama. Any and all of the section can be repositioned, by selecting and dragging the sections. You can even drag them out of the working window to the thumbnail viewer above. Please note, only the images “stitched” in the working window will be merged.


The Photomerge default settings work well and in most cases the Normal setting works best. Perspective is used for 180° – 360° images, but play with it until you get the look you want. Advanced Blending works great to even out image tones and can be “Previewed”. “Snap to Image” is helpful for placement. Keep as Layers will not work with Advance Blending, so you will have to decide if you want to blend on your own. Once you are happy with the merged image, click OK.


Once in Photoshop you will have a merged layer called “Photomerge”. Click the Measure Tool [I], then drag a line across your horizon line or whatever you want to be the horizontally straightened. Then go to [Image> Rotate Canvas> Arbitrary...], the correct value will be entered automatically, click OK. This trick can be used anytime you need to straighten an image. (Works great for scanned images…)


Then select the Crop Tool [C], and drag out your image crop. Your can play with the crop until you have your image masked out, hit [Enter] to accept the crop.


Now grab your Clone Tool [S] and scout out imperfections in the Merge process. There will almost always be areas that require attention that didn’t triangulate correctly. If you enjoy building panoramas, learn to love and master the Clone Tool.


Once you have the image you like, Select the Luminosity of the Photomerge layer, [Shift + Ctrl + Alt + ~] All grayscale values darker than 126 will be selected. [Ctrl + J] will put the Luminosity Mask on its own layer. Then change the blend mode to “Multiply”. This will make your sky really pop of the page!!


Select the Photomerge Layer and duplicate it with [Ctrl + J], on your new Photomerge Copy Layer add a vector mask from the Layers pallet. Now select the Gradient Tool [G] and drag a black to white gradient over the horizon line and set the layer to “Screen”. This will set your landscape apart from your skyline. For this image, I duplicated the Screen layer again to add a more dramatic effect. Note: Keep in mind, every panorama is different. Some may need to be darker on bottom, if so, Multiply the layer. If the effect is too much you can lower the opacity on the layer.


Now it is time to dress up your print. With the Photomerge Layer selected [Ctrl click] the “New layer” button on the Layers pallet. This will create a new layer below the Photomerge Layer.


Grab the Crop tool [C] and drag out the entire image. Now, rather than Crop, we are going to expand the canvas for our background. [Alt click] and drag the left-center handle. You will notice the right expanding proportionately. Then do the same on the top-center handle. You may want to give yourself a little extra room on the bottom if you want to title or tag your print. Once you are happy with the outline, hit Enter. Now fill the layer with White or whatever background works best with your panorama.


Now add a description, title or whatever in a pleasing font and you are ready to print and frame!!


View The Final Image

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Comments Spill 1 Comment »

  1. April 20, 2009 5:03 pmLisa

    This is terrific, but I have one more issue. Now that I’ve perfected my panorama, I would like to pay to have it printed on canvas. The maximum size the vendor can do on a gallery-wrap canvas is 24×36. The space I would like the multi-piece panorama to fill is about 100″ wide and 36″ tall. They want me to send the image to them in 4 pieces. How do you split the image into 4 equal pieces in separate files? Thoughts?

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