Crafting Aerial Drone Photos

Lesson 4 of 7

Basic Panorama Workflow

 

Crafting Aerial Drone Photos

Lesson 4 of 7

Basic Panorama Workflow

 

Lesson Info

Basic Panorama Workflow

Okay so here we go. Here's the shots from LA. Now remember what I told you about when we get up there and we just kinda rotate around a little bit? So you can see some of these things really really distort. So, these are the shots that essentially I did. So here's the thing. The rules of panorama are a little different with these. Like typically speaking when you shoot panoramas, rules are you want about a 30% overlap right? Between photographs. When you're doing this, you don't really want to do a 30% overlap because you lose a lot of stuff around the edges when you do the lens correction and you'll see that in a second 'cause I'm gonna have to lens correct all these, otherwise they won't stitch. If I try to stitch these right now it will go to Photoshop and it will fail. It'll just say, it actually won't say nothing. It'll just stack 'em all on top of each other inside one big document. So you want these to overlap and it's not really a rule. Like does it need to be 50%? Does it need...

to be 30%? This is kind of, this is the Colin Smith way of doing this. This is my method, 'cause on of the things I've noticed is when things are in the middle they look nice and straight. When they get around the edges they look distorted. When you do the lens correction they can stretch a little bit on the edges sometimes. So what I'm doing is when I'm flying I'm looking for important things in the image. So for example, the most important building and I'm start with that bang in the middle. And I am gonna remember to round a little bit and keeping that, that will have to stay in the shot but I'm looking for another landmark or another thing that's important in that shot and then when I've got both of those, then I'll take the next shot and then I'll rotate around. So it's not an even amount of rotation that I do between photos. I'm looking for objects that are gonna be really clear for Photoshop when it goes stitch number. Also objects that I wanna preserve their shape, 'cause you don't want to have like something if it only appears on the edge of one photo that's gonna be all warped and really strange looking later on. So, that's kinda my rule there. So the first thing you're gonna do then is we need to fix these before we can start to stitch them. So, what we're gonna do is right click here and we're gonna open them in Camera Raw. And notice I've got all these images in Camera Raw 'cause you can do batch processing in Camera Raw and I just choose Select All. I could go later on, you probably see when you work multiple images you go here and adjust them and you synchronize them. Select All, synchronize. But I notice that if you select all, then when you make the adjustment it's just gonna happen in real time to all the images at the same time. So you don't have to synchronize them later. So, there's a lot of things we could do here. White balance and all that fun stuff which we're not gonna do. We're just gonna jump in and enable the lens profile correction. Notice we grabbed the DGI and notice all of these are now correct and I'm just gonna click Done. So all I did is I just went in there and did that. Now if I'm doing this from Lightroom, what I'll do is in Lightroom I'll go and I'll adjust that one image, do that same lens correction 'cause those profiles are also there inside of Lightroom. Then I'll select all the images, and then synchronize them in Lightroom. So whether you're doing it from Camera Raw in Bridge or you're doing it from Lightroom, the process is exactly the same. So now that we've fixed these, these are gonna stitch we hope. We're gonna keep our fingers crossed because sometimes it likes to throw me a curve just for fun. So, alright. So we're gonna go under the Tools now and we're gonna go to Photoshop and then under Photoshop we're gonna go down and we're gonna choose Photo Merge. Now you'll do exactly the same thing in Lightroom. You'll right click. You'll go under the Photoshop and then there's a Photo Merge option there. Neither Lightroom nor Bridge have Photoshop, Photo Merge built into them. You need Photoshop. That's in Photoshop. So what it's doing is just a little trigger that's causing Photoshop to do this. Pardon me. So I'm gonna click on Photo Merge right now and Photoshop's now gonna pop up and it's gonna ask me some things. So, we could do cylindrical. If I was doing a 360 I'd choose cylindrical. Otherwise I just use auto most of the time. And then we'll get the blend options. You'll see that there's three blend options here. I just only keep the first one on. Typically speaking when you're working with photographs and you're doing a panorama you would choose on the Vignette Removal because you get the little darkening around the edges of the photograph from the vignette but I'm not doing that. Does anyone know why I'm not gonna turn that on? It's a trick question for you. What do you, go ahead. Maybe because when you distorted it it pushed out the vignettey part. That's close. You've got half the answer there. Drat. So what it is is when you do a lens profile correction inside of Camera Raw, that profile does not just change the distortion. That profile also fixes vignette. So that's actually vignette removal as part of that profile. So if you've already removed your vignette you don't need to do it twice. So, I mean it was a little bit of a trick question. You might have known that but, so the lens profiles inside of Photoshop are actually camera and lens specific. So these different things are in there. So it's already done for you. So we're gonna click okay and now we're gonna merge these together. And these are full sized images so it's gonna take just a little second for this to happen. We'll fail and hopefully not fail. Yes, question? So is that, is the helicopter actually able to hold or, not the helicopter, the drone able to hold that still to really be able to do a good panorama? That is a brilliant question and I'm glad you asked that 'cause that's something that I didn't bring up earlier. Yes. So the quad copter, the technically correct term is SUAV, now it's changed. Small Aerial Vehicle Unmanned Aerial Vehicle or Small Unmanned Aerial Aircraft. I mean, there's a lot of different terminology now. That's FAA just using SUAV and SUAS. Aerial System. But we can just call 'em drones (laughs). Yes, it does because with the satellites, what happens is the satellites actually hold it in position so he uses that for stability. There's a couple of different things going on. One is the satellite will lock it into position if you're flying in satellite mode and so you can literally get it, you can push it away and it will fly back to its position and it will hold its position using satellites. The other thing is, the ones I'm flying with, they all have gimbals on them. And when you saw that little video at the beginning you might've saw me like tilting the thing like that and the camera way staying in position. That's because of that gimbal. So, the ones I'm playing with had three axis gimbals which means that it can rotate this way, it can rotate that way and it can rotate that way. So what'll happen is that will keep the camera stable. So even if this copter's flying around and movin' around like this, the camera will stay very very stable. You might get a little drifting. They call it the, when you're rotating we call it the toilet bowl affect. And that's when you flush something it goes down the toilet bowl, it goes like that. It might move a little bit but doesn't really matter because the objects we're shooting are so far away that it's still gonna stitch. So as long as it doesn't get crazy, if it would start tilting like this, you're gonna have problems. So if you're flying without a gimbal you might have some issues trying to stitch it but if you had that gimbal it's really really gonna help a lot and especially for video. So the videos I showed there were shot directly off those copters. If you're shooting video you must have gimbal. Otherwise it's gonna be shaky and jello and wobbly and will not move the hearts of the viewers. It will move their stomachs. Alright. So now we've stitched these together and we've got this kind of weird little thing going on. Now we're going to merge these layers together. So I'm gonna hit Command E or Control E on Windows and what we've done is we've merged these together. And now we're gonna try and fix this distortion a little bit. So this is where we go under the filter and we're gonna grab the adaptive wide angle. So what we're doing is we're just fixing a distortion first before we worry about any of the tonality or any of that stuff. So some great things about using this tool here, I'm just gonna zoom it out a little bit and we're gonna change the scale. And notice that sometimes it'll take it off the screen and if you wanna keep most of that photograph then you're going to have to see it so you can see what you're working with. So this tool's kind of cool. So what it does is oh, hang on. Let me escape. I forgot to mention, let's go back in here. If we go up under the adaptive wide angle, it will know that we're working with panorama. So there's different modes under here. So if you're working on a individual photograph, you could fix it using maybe the fish eye effect. And you can use this for getting rid of the lens distortion on a single image using fish eye and also will work really well for video. 'Cause if you say the videos a smart object all that kinda stuff. So, but we're doing here is we're working on panorama. So, just so you know it detected that. If it didn't choose panorama from there. So what we can do is we can click on these lines and then when we click if we go too far, it'll turn red meaning I can't go this far. And what it'll do is we'll actually enable us to fix this distortion by dragging. So what we do is we get about halfway, just before this building here. Whatever it's called. This is the U.S. bank building there. I don't know what this one is. And then if I just hold down the Shift key this will change to yellow. And then what'll happen when it turns to yellow is when you apply this, it will set it perfectly horizontal. So, what we're doing is just sitting in horizon. So we're gonna go on the other side. Hold down the Shift key and release and it's gonna kinda set the horizon. And it looks a little weird there. I mean I could kind of rotate the whole thing and we can do that later if we want. There's other things we can do with this. Like if you've got areas up there that are distorted you can click on that will straighten them. See that? So we'll automatically straighten these photos. So you can go through and start to play around like crazy and adding tons and tons of them which I'm not gonna do. I should probably add another on there. So you can go in and you can start to fix 'em. Like I could fix that building and as you apply these different things it will warp and stretch this photo to straighten up those different areas. Now, it takes a little, just doing those basic horizon like you did is very easy but to get in there and really get good with this it takes a lot of practice. So you want to experiment a lot and if it doesn't work and it doesn't look right it's fine. You can always hit the Escape key and go back and try again. Or you can hit the option key which will turn into reset and you can reset it and try again and also you can click and drag on some of these. You can experiment with these and move them around, but this is a great place to start and we can click okay and that can get rid of a lot of the distortion for you. So if you look at that before and after. The after I think looks better. I think we can all agree. So the next thing we're gonna do is we're gonna crop this down. So we're just gonna click here and grab our crop tool. Now, we could crop all this stuff out completely. But we're not going to. I'm gonna crop it down about there. I don't care about that. It's just distraction. This is part of it. I'm lookin' here like maybe it should start here. So what they're doing right now is looking compositionally when you're cropping. Like what really matters in a photo? What do you want in a photo? This is like, I'm not worries about these areas, the transparent areas. No really too worried about those right now. I'm gonna bring it up a little bit though, just compositionally speaking and maybe a bit more. 'Cause I kinda like these little ribbon kinda things here but I don't want to go too far. So we'll get a little transparency at the top. Doesn't matter. Make sure that you've got this on to Delete Crop Pixels. So we can actually delete those pixels, we're not going to just crop it in and preserve those. And so we've got a crop. So what we're gonna do now is fill up these gaps. Super easy. Hit the Control key, Command key, click on the layer and it will select all the visible pixels. So we want to select the non visible pixels. So we just select Inverse or Command Shift I. So we're gonna do a Select Inverse here. We'll do it this way so you can see what I'm doing. And so what it's doing now is all it's doing is a little bit there, a little bit up there, a little bit there, and it's selecting all the transparent pixels. So we just want to fill those up. So before I do that what I wanna do is I'm gonna choose Modify Expand. 'Cause you don't want to be doing it right on the pixels. You want a little bit of an overlap so you've got a little smoother transition there. And I'll just grab it by say four pixels, and now it's expanded. You can't, pardon me, really see it. But now I'm gonna do content aware. So that's just shifted the ledge. Shift Backspace on Windows. Go under Fill and we're gonna choose Content Aware Fill. So, we're gonna click okay and this should do a pretty reasonable job of filling it up. There we go. Control D and there we go. So we filled in those gaps. Sometimes it works really well and other times you might have to do it a couple times. Maybe use a Patch Tool or Clone Stamp if it comes down to heavy lifting and really clean it up. But I'll be honest with you, probably 95% of the time Content Aware Fill does what I need it to do right out of the box. So there we go. So we've been able to, we've stitched these together, we got rid of the distortion, we've prepped it, we've got rid of all the transparency, and now we're actually ready to start working on the image. So we're gonna go under the Filter. We're gonna go to the Camera Raw filter, and I think this is such a better example than the first one I showed of the adjustments that I'm gonna do 'cause the first one actually looked pretty good right out of camera. That one I did from the air with the sunset. So this one here, I'm gonna show you the basic adjustments that I'll do. Sometimes I'll play around with the color temperature, maybe warm it up a little bit. And then we're gonna go under here. So I'm gonna do the highlights. I'm gonna recover the highlights. See that? In the sky there? Starting to recover that a little bit. Open up these shadows a little bit. So we're just kind of seeing okay, what is it we want to see as far as detail? You may set your exposure first. You may not. Depends really. I'm gonna do that. I'm gonna move my exposure up just a tad and then from here it's a balancing act between exposure, highlights and shadows. So what I always do is I start off with those three and what I'm trying to do right now is I'm trying to just reveal the information. So it's like what details do we want to see in the shadows? What details do we wanna see in the highlights? That includes recovering skies or opening up those dark areas. So what we're doing right now is just simply revealing the detail that we want. It can be too washed out or whatever. It doesn't really matter at this point because that's when we go down to the whites and the blacks. So the whites and the blacks, what they do is they set the hard black point and set the hard white point just like working in levels. When you use the black and whites lighter in levels, that work with the histogram. The histogram's up here. This little gap there tells me there's nothing in the shadows. I look on the highlights, we've got stuff on the highlights there. There's a little bit of a gap there which is obviously where it clips in the sky and I pulled it back and I recovered it a little bit. So, we could push that back if we wanted but what I'm gonna do is I'm just gonna hit the black point. So if I hold the Option key and I click and drag, you can see you get this clipping here. That shows you where things have been forced to pure black. So this is a quick way to work with the histogram so I'm going to go to just some areas that are starting to have black there. And you can see now that's put the body back into the photo. 'Cause it looks kind of, without blacks it looks like you're looking through a dirty window. And then when you put those blacks back in it's like just pulling out a squeegee and cleaning your window bringing the contrast back. So those are the main adjustments and then we're gonna do a little clarity, a little punch of clarity here. Just what that does is takes the mid tone contrast and basically creates, you know when you create a curve, you all know about curves, you create an S curve for contrast. Mid tone contrast is like just taking a little snippet in the middle and creating a little S curve in there. It'd be kind of like that. And then vibrance. We're gonna give vibrance a little touch of vibrance just to bring back some of the color, especially in those areas that were previously blown out 'cause I found sometimes recovered areas of shadow, actually sometimes recovered areas of shadow can have two much saturation but recovered areas of highlights tend to lack in saturation. So that's why I'm kind of using the vibrance rather than saturation 'cause saturation moves everything across the board. Vibrance looks at areas that are already saturated and preserves those and areas that are not so saturated or not so much color and boosts those more. And typically works really well with skies. So if you look here, see the blue in the sky? Will be effected more than almost anything 'cause it's, that's kinda how it works there. So I'm gonna pull that up a little bit more. You see these little red dots appearing here? That just means it's clipping here in the highlights. See that? So it's not an artifact in a photo. So if you wanted you could pull back the highlight a little bit, recover it a little more if you were worried. And that looks pretty good. So I'm just gonna click okay and apply it and then we'll see the before and after right there. Let's have a look here. Before and after so you can see we've opened that up a lot. We've done a lot of kind of cool things to it. So essentially that's the work flow but then there's all kinds of crazy stuff that you can do after there like color toning and I love to do stuff with values, lights, I'll play around with Curves or maybes even, here's just a real basic kind of a thing you could do with color is, I'm just, you could put a solid color over the top of this thing if you wanted to. And let me just do that 'cause this is a little trick I do sometimes. And I'll change this to Color Blend Mode and I'll pull this all the way back to zero and then just maybe just put just a little, see just that slight touch in there? Before and after? See how it just gives it that nice little golden glow? A lot of times I like to do that with Curves and stuff but we don't have time. I taught Curves last year at Photoshop Week so if you want to know about Curves, watch that one. But this is a quick way to add a little bit of a color feel to it.

Class Description

UAVs, drones, multi-rotors, and quadcopters are flying tripods capable of framing photos in three true dimensions. Learn how to work with the images they capture in Crafting Aerial Drone Photos with Colin Smith.

In this class, you will learn how to set up the perfect shot, and how to turn the images from a drone-mounted camera into a full-sized work of art. You’ll learn what it takes to bring an image from a small camera to life, and how to make aerial panoramas from multiple photographs and video.

Reviews