Creating a Pano Using Plates in Photoshop®
Taking a look at the second set of images. This is something I'm not going to render out because... Actually, let me ... I'm going to open up these three. Okay. While these are loading, I'm not going to render these out because I want to take these through and show you what some of the difficulties were as I was putting these together and why this one in particular was a little bit more problematic than the other ones. So I went through and I decided on this image. Looking back at some of the other shots here, there were several that I liked. Let me kind of scroll through these a little bit. Remember, it was all about creating an action for them to work with. You'll notice how, in most of these, I tried to make sure they were completely in frame. In some of them, as he was swinging the bag, I lost it in the frame, or this guy over here, I was losing his feet behind the stand. So they take up a lot of the frame. In retrospect, I probably should have backed them up a little bit more to m...
ake my life easier, but I like them having a really strong presence in the image, and that's why they needed to be close. So I originally was going to do the handshake thing, but I ultimately decided that this one here at the end, without having as much of a size difference between the two, I liked better. I thought this was a little bit casual. I liked the way this was framed. I like the casual nature of it. And so I went with one where they were side-by-side, even though that wasn't my intention at all. Now, when you start taking all of these bits and pieces together, one of two things will usually happen. I'm going to go ahead and grab these, and I'm going to take out the middle one, and I'm going to include the main one, which is the same way that we were doing it in the previous image. So I'm going to go to Photo Merge and Panorama. And unfortunately, it tends to throw away things that I would want, things like the guy fixing the engine or leaning down by the tire. I also find ... See, it got rid of this. (audience laughs) I also find that ... (laughs) Yeah. Not especially helpful. I mean, honestly, it does a pretty decent job of stitching it together, it just ... That. (audience laughs) So that's not great. And usually, it's able to find Cylindrical Projection a lot more often than it will find Perspective. There are a lot of times where it just can't find Perspective at all for me, but it will find Cylindrical. That's common. Remember, Perspective is going to make it look more like a traditional wide-angle lens, and so you can kind of see how this stretched out quite a bit over here, whereas on Cylindrical, it almost kind of bows a little bit more to the center. I'm going to cancel this out here for just a second. Show you what I was looking at when I was stitching stuff together. So this is where the image ended up, and I'm going to take you through what this was like in the early stages to make it work. But this is where it began, and the way I got to this is if you go to File in Photoshop, Automate, and you go to Photo Merge, what you'll do is you have to browse and find the files. I had already exported these from Lightroom. You pick the layout, so obviously you can see there are more options for layout instead of just Perspective, Cylindrical, and Spherical. There's also Collage and Repositioning. I generally leave it on Auto, or if I really want to try a few different things, if I'm struggling with making it work, I'll alternate between Perspective and Cylindrical usually. Then it takes about ten minutes to render. It's quite a bit slower than Lightroom, but what it will actually do for you is assemble everything individually. So you'll see the seam, and what you'll have to do is flatten everything out. And so I did that in this image. This was kind of my first attempt at trying to put this together. It's color-graded differently, but this was kind of my first attempt. And what it basically looked like when it came together was this. And it wasn't exactly like this, this is kind of an in-between, This is closer to Cylindrical but I also stretched it quite a bit to make sure it looked a little bit closer to real. So I will take parts of this image ... And so for example in Perspective, let's say it was too wide, it was too stretched. I'll take a selection of it like this and I'll hit Command-T. And then I can readjust the edge of it to give me something closer to natural. So I'll do that sometimes if I have to. This was an auto-stitch that I did in Lightroom by picking the guy over here and the guy in the background but it wasn't ever, as you saw, stitching the two guys in the front successfully. And so what I ended up having to do was bring it in and try to layer it by hand. And it's relatively close, it's not an amazing job. The Cylindrical actually does a pretty good job of not distorting it too much, so I actually didn't have to change it all that much. Again, you can use Auto-Align here as well, which will help you sometimes. But this is kind of how I brought this in. And so once it was in place, then I basically had to figure out if I could maybe blend this back together. I was having a lot of trouble blending the shadow on this particular image because there is such a strong change between light and dark, and it just wasn't really quite giving me a lot of success. So I scrapped it and I said, "All right. "Let's try it again." And so I created a pano, because my issue was this side, as you saw in the original stitch. So I had it create a pano where I didn't use the edge. And it just ended on the picture of them. And I got it a lot closer. And I was actually pretty happy with this as a starting point. I even found that the edge was blended in a little bit better and it was going to be a lot easier for me to work with this edge of the scrim than the one that was a very clean line. Now because of the distortion, you can see how this, like he looks way wide by comparison, and this would have been that instance to come in and you grab that Free Transform, right? And you kind of smoosh it in a little bit. And that helps you with the Perspective a little bit better. Okay? So this is where the image began when I brought it in. Then I brought it into Photoshop ... I started messing around with it. And then I added in the corner, and you can actually see the seam here. So what I did with this particular section was I brought in a small sliver from Lightroom. Because the problem when it was stitching was because too much of this image didn't have them in it. And Lightroom will pull from that even when you crop it. So I brought it in like this, and Photoshop doesn't know better so I used an Auto-Align with Photoshop and painted that in manually. And this is what my new background plate became. And I was much, much happier with this from a starting point. I've got my guy at the wheel, this guy over here, this guy over here, and then I also warped that left side in a little bit so he felt closer in dimension and not overly wide by comparison. So this is where it began. Then I came through and I did a bit of clone stamping to fill out some of the issues that were filled and stitched incorrectly. So I had an extra line over here, this was not anywhere close to good, and that was basically where the image began. The tricky thing about this particular image compared to the other image is this one is lit from the front whereas the other one is lit from the back. The other one is a bit softer and this one just doesn't quite blend as well. So, I had to play a lot with the contrast because I really wanted them to match. And so I started to dial down the different levels of brightness and darkness. So I started by darkening the ground down. I had to change production elements. I wanted them to have matching colored boots. I wanted the flight colors to be the same. And then I started to mess around trying to make the color closer to the original. It had a little bit more of a blueish cast, so I was trying to bring that kind of stuff in, and again this is using Alien Skin Exposure. The setting is called Postcard, which doesn't work in a lot of instances but happens to work on this particular set. And then I just kind of kept messing around with color using different ones, different color adjustments, tweaking little things. This was basically me in the late evening just going, "Do I like this? Do I not like this?" (audience laughs) at like 1:00 in the morning. And slowly kind of trying to find a way to balance this foreground with the background and so this is me kind of working through it with a bunch of different layers and color and so forth and so on. I cleaned it up using a combination of Frequency Separation and dodging and burning, which really helped me blend the seam here. So Frequency Separation is really, really wonderful for blending textures and tones together. I felt like it got me pretty close. I had a little bit of loss of texture and a little bit of texture repetition, so what I ended up doing was copy and pasting this texture from another part of the image, which was over here. So you can kind of see I've lost it a bit here, and I felt that looked not great, so I brought it back in, and then using a clipping mask darkened it down and gave me a better texture across the foreground, so that was that. Then, just a few other ... Throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what stuck. I really don't use this many different adjustment layers and color adjustment layers. I was just like, "I've got to keep messing with this." That's what happens when you do a whole week of CreativeLive. (audience laughs) You're a little bit tired at 1:00 in the morning the night before the last day, so ... That was where this ended up working toward, and the whole point of showing you this is to say that even when you've done this before and even when you know what you're doing, sometimes things don't work and instead of scrapping the image and going, "Welp, nope, it didn't work," you find a way to make it work and sometimes it requires a little bit more effort and a little bit more massaging and a little bit more love, but you really want to just make sure you don't lose what is otherwise a pretty epic staging of a shot, so I wanted to make sure that I got the shot as I envisioned it, and so it just took a little bit more than I was probably intending to set it up for, but that was how I kind of worked through that problem. All right. So, questions? Yeah?
Could you quickly go over how you added the texture back in on the ground there?
Sure, sure, sure. Okay. Again, there are many ways to do this. You can do Frequency Separation and you can texture graft and all of these things, but basically I saw that this texture here was a lot better than this texture here. So, what I did was I started by grabbing more than I needed, so I'm just going to grab all of this. I'm going to hit Copy, Copy Merged. Copy Merged, when you're on a 8.14 gigabyte file, tends to take a little bit longer. I tend to not do a lot of this kind of heavy processing on a laptop, but it will eventually, usually handle it. I think the most I ever tried to put through the paces was, I was on vacation and it was this family of fur seals, and they were kind of nestled in this cave wall, and there were like four or five of them just in the middle of this wall, and so I took a long lens and went (clicks) and I think it was 18 images stitched together. My computer did not like it. It couldn't really handle it the first time I tried to run it. It took 20 minutes to put together. Okay, so I copy and pasted it, I'm going to bring it over so it's right here, and I'm going to place it in the front. Something like that. Okay? And I'm going to mask out the edge so I'm only using what I need. Okay? Now, this one in particular is a little bit closer in tone, but I'm going to show you how to change it so it's exact. This is pretty dark by comparison, so all I'm going to do is grab a Curves Adjustment layer and clip it, so Command-Option-G. And then you make your tweaks. And so, let's see, that's a little bit too bright. Let's split the difference. Something that maybe looks like that allows me to map it across. Now, you may find that you're getting weird color casts, so let's say I change this, this one here, I'm going to change the original layer to Luminosity. Now it's closer to the color. It was a little bit kind of blueish before, now it's in that correct green. Okay? And that does a really good job of just (clicks) mapping it to it.