How to deal with difficult panoramic image stitching in Photoshop the easy way

May 13, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How to deal with difficult panoramic image stitching in Photoshop the easy way

May 13, 2016

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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With the speed boosts and memory capacities of modern computers, stitching multiple shots together to make larger panoramic images has become a very common technique used by many photographers.  Chances are, if you’re reading this, you probably have too, or you’ve at least thought about giving it a go.

While most stitches go pretty well, there are times when Photoshop isn’t quite sure what you want it to do, and gives you a result you definitely didn’t expect.  In this video tutorial from Photoshop wizard Jimmy McIntyre, we see some pretty in-depth techniques for recognising these issues and how to overcome them.

YouTube video

I know I’ve come across at least a couple of the issues shown in the video, and ended up resorting to other software, but I may now have to revisit those shots with Photoshop and see how some of these techniques work out.

Strange artifacts where two images blend is one that I used to see quite often, especially in scenes with moving objects such as boats, trees in the wind, or wildlife.  Jimmy’s answer?  Simply crop them out image that’s causing the problem and let it make them up from the rest.  It seems such an obvious solution when you actually see it in action.

difficult_panoramics_stitching_artifacts

Jimmy does stress in the video that other software is available, such as PTGui or the more popularly priced (free) Hugin, both of which are excellent, but it’s good to know how to deal with these problems within Photoshop, too.

Sometimes you just want to put a couple of images together quickly, and the dedicated stitching alternatives often seem to just add too much time to the workflow, even if they do usually produce a flawless result.

Is stitching a part of your regular workflow?  Do you do it in Photoshop, or another application?  What tricks do you use that aren’t mentioned in the video to help you get around problems?  Let us know in the comments.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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3 responses to “How to deal with difficult panoramic image stitching in Photoshop the easy way”

  1. Matt Crace Avatar
    Matt Crace

    PTGui for stitching

    1. Gvido Mūrnieks Avatar
      Gvido Mūrnieks

      For occasional panorama – PTgui is not worth 80$. But for serious panorama shooters and equirectangular panoramas – it is the best!

  2. Paul Anders Avatar
    Paul Anders

    I have been using Microsoft Image Composite Editor exclusively for about 3 years. It will seamlessly stitch anything I throw at it without fail.
    A friend of mine had a 45 shot (9×5) panorama that he was never able to resolve no matter what software he used, and ICE put it together flawlessly in about 2 minutes.

    http://research.microsoft.com/en-us/um/redmond/projects/ice/ And it’s free.