This tutorial will show you how to a blend images to form a panorama.
With many digital programs now allowing for almost perfect and seamless panoramas,
advanced software for HDR type images, none that I am aware of can stitch a perfect
panorama combined with a well handheld HDR type result.
I am assuming that you have already read my page on basic image blending. This tutorial
goes one step further and shows a combination of advanced blending techniques that
are used to create such images.
When taking your picture, take two exposures. One for the sky and one for the ground.
Make sure all settings are equal apart form the shutter speed. A tripod is a must.
My panoramic's are normally three horizontal images wide, so I repeat the above steps
for each rotation that makes my panorama. So I will take six images.
The second, and most important factor when stitching your images, is that your chosen
program must allow you to align the images exactly the same for both the under and
over exposed sequence of images. Any misalignment will show when the two images are
merged at a later stage. Auto pano pro allows you to do this, and is the program
of my choice for making such images.
Process the sequence of files for both the sky and foreground in your raw converter,
making sure all of the under exposed images are identical in processing, and the
same applies for the over exposed images.
Proceed to stitch your images in auto pano pro, making sure that the output files
are individual (though stitched) layers. One group of three images for the under
exposed, one for the over exposed. The result should look similar to this.
Three stitched images form the over exposed sequence
Three stitched images form the under exposed sequence
Using the move tool, drag the lighter image into the darker image. This will create
a new layer in the layers palette. Select all and align images horizontally and vertically.
Then select the Lasso tool. Here we will draw around the opposite area we want to
bring out, in this case the foreground. Don’t try and be to accurate.
At the top of cs4 / cs5 there is the option to `refine edge` select this, and `feather`
the edges of your Lasso selection. The amount that you feather will depend on the
intricacy of the area selected and the images themselves. There is no one solution
other than trial and error.
When you have clicked ok on the `refine edge` tool, proceed to the `layer` menu on
the top controls in PS. Scroll down until you see the option `layer mask`, a side
menu pops out and select `reveal selection`. This will then reveal the area you have
selected with your Lasso tool. If the image blend does not look right, or needs refinement,
proceed back to the lasso stage and re-draw and re feather the edge..
Once you are happy with the look of the blend, flatten your image. Then proceed to
process the file as you would normally using adjustment layers. Below is the completed
image, using five adjustment layers. Notice the black and white `masks`. These are
drawn around selected areas, using the same principles as above, but for making refined