Photoshop Elements 11; Make a panorama

Ever try to take a picture of a scene, and it just doesn’t fit?  One way around this problem is to take a panorama.  You don’t need a fancy camera or a tripod.  You just need a computer and Photoshop Elements.

The first thing to do is take pictures in a way that you can make them into a panorama later:

  • Take a picture of the left end of the scene.
  • Pick out some landmark near the right edge of the viewfinder, like a tree.
  • Shift your view so your landmark is near the left edge of the viewfinder.  This image should overlap with the one you just took by about 25%.  Take another picture.
  • Keep on taking overlapping pictures until you’ve covered the whole scene.

Upload the pics into your computer.  (I’m using an iMac, but if you’re using Windows this procedure won’t be very different than what you’d do.) If they’re in a photo library like iPhoto, export the pics for your panorama to files.

05 choose picsSelect them in Finder (for Windows, use Windows Explorer).  Right-click them; a floating menu appears.  Open them with Photoshop Elements (PE).

10 open picsMake sure PE is in Expert Mode.

15 expert modeClick the Enhance menu.  Select Photomerge.  Select Photomerge Panorama.

20 photomerge panIn the Panorama window, click a panorama style, like Cylindrical.  (If you don’t like the result, come back here and try a different style.)  click Add open files.  Click OK.

25 add open files

In about a minute, your panorama image will appear. It will probably have some irregular edges, for example because your pictures weren’t quite aligned when you took them.  PE asks whether you’d like it to fill in the edges.  This will often spoil the picture, because you have no control over where in the image PE harvests pixels for use in filling in the edges; so I advise clicking No.

30 no edgesInstead, you might use the Crop tool to trim off projecting bits of image and make a smooth edge.    (You’ll need to flatten it first; see below.)  But I prefer posting an image with a ragged edge.  This way, the viewer knows that it’s a very wide image.

The panorama is made up of a layer for each original image.  So, to perform an operation on the whole panorama, you’ll need to flatten it first.  Click the Layer menu.  Click Flatten image.

35 flattenYou can make a vertical panorama too.  To stitch the images together with PE, first rotate each image 90 degrees left.  Then make the panorama just like we’ve done here.  Then flatten the panorama and rotate it 90 degrees right.

45 vertical

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