Landscape Panoramas in Photoshop and Lightroom
Let's talk a little bit about panoramas. So if you're landscape, gotta shoot panoramas. One of the very, very first thing I would say to you is if you're out shooting, try this. It's amazing, the panorama. I'm walking around, I was in Yosemite last month and I'm walking around Yosemite and I have a Nikon D and my poor little D810 is sitting in the bag the whole time 'cause I'm walking around with this thing. It's pretty compelling what you can do with this thing, especially when it comes to panorama, so, main thing I could say is not all panoramas are created equal. We get out there and we think, oh I should shoot a pano, and that's a lot of photos to shoot. Get everything set up and then processing it takes a lot of time when sometimes you don't even know if that's what you want. You don't even know if it's gonna look good, so I shot panos of everything I did, here, I'll show ya. Everybody was making fun of me 'cause I was shooting so many panos. Here. So, I was shooting panos of ever...
ything. That is a vertical pano. Ill tell you why in a second. I mean, this is like, right out of the iPhone. That's pretty compelling, you know, and if you're wondering, that's gonna fall apart, like if I tried to print it. That's pretty detailed. I forget, I mean, this image was something like eight or 9000 pixels wide. It's gonna give us a pretty decent sized print if we wanna print it and you can see, I mean look at the detail on that thing, so, what I would say first is don't discount your phone. There's pano apps on there, there's one built into the phone. I would not discount that. This was a vertical pano because when I held the phone up, I could either get this, like I could either get this shot. Okay let's go back. I could either kinda get like that shot. Or I could get that shot, but I couldn't get both, all right, so I'm sitting there and I'm looking at it, I'm thinking so what happens if I just go like this, I go up and down, and so that's all I did. Random tip for ya on that is, if you go like this, what happens is your iPhone meter, just like your camera does, when you go like this it's metering off of everything in the foreground and as you get up top, the sky starts to get blown out, so what I did is instead if you just tap the little pano arrow, it goes down, so I just start at the top and I just go down, and it meters off of the sky and everything smooths out nice. Not that you guys came here to learn how to use your iPhone, but I don't know, there's something, I think we're gonna be using it more as time goes on. The quality's getting really, really good. The one place I would say it falls apart is if I had a really good foreground and a wide angle, it's gonna start to fall apart there, the other place I think it starts to fall apart is zoom, just don't have zoom on it, but when you're just trying to capture a cool place, it's pretty compelling. But let's pretend we don't have the iPhone. So we wanna shoot a panorama, you get to a scene and you're like, all right, I shot it with the iPhone, it looks cool, but I know this is a cool pano, I wanna be able to print this so we'll go ahead and start to merge one together here. So here's one taken in Colorado a couple years ago. Pretty simple shooting the panorama, I overlap by about 20, 30%, so not to do too much more than that. Give the camera about 20, 30% to overlap. I shoot 'em wide, you can shoot them vertical. That's kind of the preferred way. If you shoot them vertical, what you start to get is more top to bottom and that's ideally good, I was just on a tripod, I didn't have my L grip on my tripod and I didn't wanna finagle with doing it vertical so I just shot it wide. But shooting a vertical's good and if you wanna go wider, you just take more frames. And when we get into Lightroom, the work flow is, we wanna merge it together first. To me it's easier to edit one photo than to edit this photo and then sync the changes and try to get everything to look the same going across. So to me I just get the merge done and then edit the photo. So we'll go and we'll select all four of the photos. Again, Lightroom has, Lightroom Six slash CC has panorama stitching in it, built in it, if you have Lightroom Four or Five or any version before the latest version, then you'll just have to go photo, edit in, and you'll have to merge it inside of Photoshop. Elements also does it as well. But Lightroom Six slash CC has panorama merge. I will say big, big benefit of this one, I hope it's not gonna make a liar out of me. The big benefit of this one is that you can find out pretty quick if it's a panorama you care about, because what I used to do, is if I thought I wanted to merge a pano together, I used to take the raw files, save 'em out as low quality JPEGs, then go into Photoshop, merge that together because it takes like 10 minutes to do it on raw files, do it on the low quality JPEGs, look at it, see if I wanna merge it and if I did, I'd go, but you see how fast it built a preview for us? So at this point you can decide do I wanna go forward with this? I will say yes, I wanna go forward with this. I am not gonna auto crop on purpose. Auto crop will get rid of that stuff. I'm not gonna auto crop on purpose, we're gonna try something. So let's go ahead and click on merge. By the way, just keep it on the default one. Click on merge. And it'll start its merging process which is really a wonderful time for somebody to ask a question about a panorama (chuckles). Yes.
One of the biggest problems that I have when I do panos is that, I'm from Chicago so there's a fantastic sky line and there's a great place to shoot the sky line, the problem is that I get shadows at the edges of where the photos should stitch together seamlessly, so I do the overlap and I still get shadows from where the panos don't stitch smoothly, so I'm not really sure what I'm doing wrong.
What program are you using to stitch with?
Well now I could use these, 'cause now I have these, but I didn't before. I think that it has to do with the quality of the picture that I'm taking, not necessarily the quality of the program that I'm using.
That's a tough one 'cause I haven't seen it happen on the edges like that. If you have a computer with you, we can look at it on break.
One of the breaks we'll take a look at it and if we find something we can share it with everybody, but I haven't seen it happen so I don't know what to say to that one. (indistinct speaking) (chuckles) But hopefully it's halfway done. By the way, these are like D800 files, they're like 36 megapixel files and you can imagine the size of what it's crunching through. Drew, how you doing over there?
I'm doing great.
You been good?
Yeah doing really good.
Have people dropped off because it takes 10 minutes to stitch together?
Not at all. People are asking questions, they're like, I wanna squeeze my question in right now. What app do you use for panos on your iPhone? Do you just use the--
Just the camera. The iPhone app.
Okay. Have you played with any of the other pano apps?
I used to play with the pano apps until the iPhone pano app came out and it was really good. Here let me, while it's, I think it's done, but, I just go into pano mode, 'cause we have a camera here, we can probably zoom in. So if you see that little arrow, if you wanna flip and go down, top to down, whatever, just tap the arrow. I didn't know that, somebody in the group had to tell me 'cause I didn't know I could switch it. I felt kinda stupid. Drew's just like, yeah, you're stupid. All right, so we have our panorama over here. First thing I would do here is let's go develop it. So remember I talked about editing one photo versus editing all four of them beforehand, so I'd rather just edit them now, so since I think we want a little bit more exposure from it, option or alt-click on whites. Option or alt-click on your blacks. Get a little black point. We're a little contrasty up front, so I'll open up the shadows just to bring that out, maybe not too much. A little bit of clarity will help us here. Warmth. That helps out a lot. I'm gonna grab a brush and I use one of my preset brushes. I've got one... Sunshine. Just use your left and right bracket keys by the way, just gonna try. Just gonna paint a little bit of sunshine, right over there and let's just go to white puffy clouds. I'm gonna click new. Remember we can stack brushes on top of each other. If I just switch, did something else now, it would change the effect, but if I click new, I have one called white puffy clouds which will happen to work for white puffy clouds. Just like that and then lastly I would say we just kinda rotate this a little bit. Cool. So remember before when I said I wasn't gonna auto crop out all the stuff? I'm gonna show you something, it's not always gonna work, but it's worth a try. When you have these little empty areas over here, we can bring this into Photoshop, so I'm gonna go photo, edit in, and you can skip this part, we could be done with our pano right now, but if you have some of those areas and you want to try to bring some of them back in, it could be important, a detail area that you don't wanna have to crop it anymore, then try jumping over into Photoshop, because what Photoshop has is that crazy content aware stuff that, my disclaimer, sometimes, will fix it. And I stress sometimes. Remember it senses fear, so, it senses fear and knows that I'm in front of a group so chances are, it's gonna say no. Come on, you can do it, there we go. All right so let's zoom in, so there's our empty area, right up here. I'm gonna go grab my tragic wand tool and click in the empty area and that selects it and then if I shift-click, 'cause if I click again, it makes a new selection, but if I hold down the shift key, it's a little bit difficult to see, but whoa, see how there's a little plus icon next to it? So if I click here, it adds to the selection and then I just go to edit, fill, choose content aware. And sometimes, maybe, possibly, it'll go in and fix it. (chuckles softly) It's really like building up the suspense, isn't it? Okay there we go, thank you. So there we go, look at that. I don't even know where it was in the sky. It's done that one really good. All right, so, there you go. This doesn't happen a lot, it actually hasn't happened to me in awhile but I've seen it happen before. Do you see the line? I'm gonna undo. And what I'm gonna do is, I have my selection. If you just go to select, modify, expand, and just expand it by about two pixels, it grows the selection just a little bit, and then, I'll go to edit, fill and wait another 10 to 15 seconds as it decides what to do, but that'll help get rid of that line. Just meant the selection that it chose the first time was probably a little bit too close to transparent and nothing in the background there but that'll kind of expand it out a little bit and it should blend in pretty nicely. Maybe. There we go, yep. And up in the sky, a little bit of funkiness there, but I think we'd only see it 'cause we know. I don't know that anybody else would see that. But it's looking pretty good, and if we wanna see how big we could print this thing, 16,000 pixels wide. So there is an advantage to not doing it on your iPhone, if you wanted to print it really big. Let's take a look at what this is in inches. So yeah we could go 67 inches. So, that's probably almost as tall, at 240 pixels per inch so it's probably almost as tall as I am that we could print it. Not too bad, and that's the difference between the iPhone, one of the differences, but why we can't shoot everything on our iPhone yet. But pretty cool, we'll kinda make it a little bit bigger on the screen here. It's a lot of fun, all right, sir, I think you had a question.
No, not a question, just a comment on one of the other groups that you used to work for, they were recommending four pixels per--
Okay. Could be four, you give that a try.
Doug wants to know, does Matt ever use a nodal slide to reduce parallax?
I do not.
A nodal slide is basically something that you put on your tripod if you haven't seen one yet, and that parallax, you see the slant and you lose the top and the bottom so the nodal slide with help avoid that. I just, I don't have the patience to get it out, I usually just have my tripod and my ball head and I'm shooting and I'm not usually around that stuff, but when you use one, I will say, it's pretty cool, when you use it and you use it right, because when you stitch together that panorama, you don't see any of that stuff, it stitches together and it's good, but, it's just, it's a little bit extra work out there. What else you got?
We got tons more.
I was wondering if that panorama is still a raw photo and if it still gives you the option to pull down overexposed areas?
Yes it is still raw, it actually converts it technically to a DNG photo and yet it will have a ton of leeway to pull back on highlights and shadows.
Got it. And then we've gotten a couple questions about sharpening versus clarity. So Linda wants to know, please explain when you're in Lightroom, when you focus on clarity versus sharpening. I've been avoiding sharpening much in Lightroom but loving clarity and loving is all caps, by the way. (chuckling) I always thought sharpening was more important to leave 'til the end, before output.
So (sighs), the lines have blurred between sharpening and clarity, I would say that to be, it's a bad joke but, clarity looks like sharpening a lot of times. It kinda brings out details in your photos. So it actually does look like sharpening. Linda, I hope you're okay with this, but if you're happy with the way it looks, she said she's loving clarity, leave it. If it looks sharp, that's all that matters at the end of the day. I don't care how you get there. If clarity got you there, great. If the sharpening slider's got you there, great. All that I care about is that your photo looks sharp and that you're happy with the way that your photo looks, so they both really have, they've become almost interchangeable these days so it's tough to even create a line between the two. As far as what she said about leaving sharpening toward the end, remember when I go down to the detail panel here inside of Lightroom, Lightroom doesn't stack adjustments on top of each other, so I can go to sharpen first or I could go to sharpen last. The end result of the image, if I save it as a JPEG or I print it, the end result of the image is exactly the same, so that doesn't matter of where I sharpen it.