I make quite a few stitched panoramics. Occasionally I shoot them when I go on holiday and find a cool place. Mostly, though, I shoot them when I’m location scouting. When I come across a new area to potentially photograph somebody in the future, I fire off a few shots to stitch in post. They’re very handy for that. But they often suffer from the same problem. All kinds of warping and perspective issues.
The effect is bad enough if your lens already has some natural distortion of its own. When multiple images are stitched it worsens the issue. This video from photographer Rex Jones comes to the rescue, though, showing us how we can correct it in Photoshop. A great method for perfect distortion free images.
1. The first step is to import your images into Photoshop. In the case of a stitched panoramic, that means the Photomerge feature. Make sure these options are checked…
- Blend Images Together
- Vignette Removal
- Geometric Distortion Correction
2. After the images have been brought into Photoshop, the resulting image is often a little unbalanced. So, merge the layers into one, and use the transform tool to balance out the horizon to give it a symmetrical curve.
3. With the image a little straighter, you’ll want to flatten it again. Then, it’s time to run it through the Adaptive Wide Angle filter. Even though your stitch might not have been shot with a wide angle lens, it’s such an extreme field of view that it is a wide angle shot.
You’ll want to use the “Constrain Tool” to map out the horizon. Once you release the mouse button, it will make that curve straight and adjust the rest of your image to compensate.
Of course, you can tweak to your heart’s content if it’s not quite perfect. But the Adaptive Wide Angle filter is one of those most powerful tools you can use to correct this sort of thing. It’s a whole lot easier than trying to use the Warp Transform tool.
You’ll still need to crop it down once you’ve finished your transform, but it’s a much better pleasing image.
It works just as well on those ultrawide panoramic shots, too. This distortion puts a lot of people off trying stitched photography. But it really is quite simple to solve.
I use the Adaptive Wide Angle filter regularly for mine. It’s the quickest method for getting rid of distortion, and it’s so much more powerful than the basics shown in this video.