24 August, 2009

My latest “creation”

Panoramic picture with Pash + Julia

Dancing!! From my “long” digital photographer experience, I just created my first panoramic photo! Do not expect to find an actual panorama… why I call it so it is because I have successfully managed to stitch two pictures together… and the result came out quite nice. (Or at least… this is what I like to think.) I will show you how it started, how I went through, how I got to the final result. But first, let me tell you its story:

I was walking with my girlfriend and two of her friends (a very nice couple) that came to visit us from Russia on Charles Bridge (Karluv Most – as they call it in Czech) across Vltava, in Prague Czech Rep. Well, it is an old bridge and at each 10 meters there is at least one statue, made of either bronze, either rock. There is the saying that if you rub your hand against one of the bronze statue and you make a wish, that wish will turn reality.

So as we were passing through, Julia decided to make a wish so she placed her hand on the statue. Her boyfriend Pash was right behind her, and he thought he could go on and make a… Whistling…a wish Open-mouthed. A big wish I’d say! So I took the shot, and unfortunately I was not quick enough to take a one shot only. I needed two: one for Julia’s wish, second for Pasha’s. After one year… more than a year, I found out that you can put together two pictures, and to create a picture from two “halves”. The software I used is Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended. Enjoy the “tutorial”:

I shall start by showing you the initial pics I took, untouched, exactly the same way I shot them (now they are resized for publishing purposes):

This is the first one, with Julia making the wish. I have also published them on my Flickr page, so you can click on them and you’ll see them in large size:

Julia making a wish -- click to see it on Flickr

Second is Pasha, making his “wish” now:

Pasha makes his wish


So I have used Photoshop to stitch them together, in an attempt to create a “panoramic” photo. First I had to load them both in Photoshop, then from the File menu –> Automate –> Photomerge… and this is the result I got:


As you observe, the top right corner is stretched all the way up (which is normal in the original picture). The black areas need either to be cropped (which will not make a good picture after all – try to see it in your mind if black was cropped) or… either be constructed. I decided to do a little of both.

First thing to do was to use the amazing Vanishing Point from the Filter menu to get rid of the distorted top-right corner. After playing a bit with Vanishing Point, the picture looked like this:


So far so good. The corner does not look distorted anymore, so I can say now that I can move on to the next step: constructing the areas under black or cropping them.

I will start with the black area in the bottom-right corner. As you notice, there is pattern that can be easily copied and multiplied. You can create ground, cracks, corners, using the existing background. The tool I’ve used is called Clone stamp tool, and you can access it from the toolbar in the Essentials display mode, or simpler, by pressing S on your keyboard. After I’ve reconstructed that corner, the picture looked like this:


The corner is now built totally. I have used nothing but pattern already existing in the picture itself. And the great Clone stamp tool, of course.

Now only one step remains: the black area at the top. For an easy to understand reason, I have decided to crop it (there are trees and bricks from the house, very hard to construct without creating a repeated pattern). So I will simply crop that. Doing so it will just save me some extra time + work, and besides, the pic will get a more widescreen aspect ratio.



We are here so far. Everything looks more or less OK. Now it is time to work a bit on the enhancing. I’ve decided to go for a B&W treatment, and to add a nice 12 pixel black frame, each side bordered by a 2 pixel thin white border. This is the final result!

Panoramic picture with Pash + Julia

Hope you’ll find this tutorial helpful when creating your own panoramic photos. Photoshop will help you the same way it helped me. So… gotta end this… Yawn… Please share your own work too, and if you’re a Flickr member, keep up with me on there!

Later edit: I have found a couple of tutorials/ applications, and I must add before you click on them, that they are for purchasing only. There are other free tutorials on the web, but these helped me the most.





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