into one NYC panorama
By Mike Pobega
|Creating this panorama was both challenging and rewarding.
Here's a step-by-step guide of how I photographed and merged
the six photographs into one using Adobe Photoshop 6.0.
|Getting the shot|
My camera was equipped with a
40mm lens and a roll of Kodak TMAX 100 ASA film. I chose
my spot and shot from left to right, trying to keep the
horizon on the same level. I opted to pivot on my heels rather
than using a tripod as it gave me a little bit more
flexibility. All the while making sure the horizon was as even
as possible. In retrospect I wish I had planned better and
brought along my tripod.
Three things to note:
1. It is important to
significantly overlap the shots, i.e. take the next shot from
the middle third of the previous shot don't worry about using
a lot of film.
2. To help you get an even tonal range, meter the middle
tonal range area; here I metered the cityscape. I used my
cameras manual mode to do this. (good metering skills wouldn't hurt here).
3. Take the successive shots from left to right for an even
workflow and easy visualization.
Both negatives and prints may be scanned
but - if using prints ensure they match in contrast/exposure.
Scanning negatives is the easier option (if possible) - once
the primary setting is selected, you can scan the balance of
the negatives and achieve continuous tonal range throughout.
Once the scans are complete, take the
first scan, (#1) and stretch the canvas roughly 5-6 times to
the left. Then take scan #2; overlap 20% to 33% into the #1
shot. Try to find a landmark to help you match up - in the
example below, I used the vertical lines of buildings to
assist me. Repeat this process for the remaining scans.
Scan #3 Scan #2
|Where the image won't match exactly, I use the clone tool.
I also used a high magnification, 400-800% to do the fine
detailed work and mostly used soft spheres. Knowledge of the
TRANSFORM command is helpful here, if two areas don't
laterally line up you can CHOOSE that area, TRANSFORM, and
SKEW accordingly. Many users are afraid of this command, but
it is a wonderful and powerful tool nonetheless.
Another invaluable technique in this
process is painting with hi-lites. Hi-lites paint dark areas
lighter and light areas darker. In this panorama, this was
mostly used around the Statue of Liberty, the roofs of the
buildings on the left and the promenade on the right where the
people are walking
Step by Step Guide for Hi-Lites
From the HISTORY
PALETTE, choose NEW SNAPSHOT and then select FROM MERGED
LAYERS. Next click on LAYER/NEW ADJUSTMENT LAYER/CURVES (I
pulled the curve to lighten the image). Select NEW
SNAPSHOT/FROM MERGED LAYERS, then click onto the first "New
Snapshot" and then choose LAYER/NEW ADJUSTMENT LAYER/CURVES,
then pull the curve to darken the image a little. Click
on NEW SNAPSHOT/FROM MERGED LAYERS and click onto the original
"Snapshot". Select the HISTORY TOOL button, place the HISTORY
TOOL ICON in the snapshot you wish to paint be it light or
dark et voila! Paint away to your heart's content.
|Note: this procedure is not saved in PSD or any format so
once you finish the job/save/open, you will have to start from
scratch if you choose to paint some more. You should make an
ACTION for this procedure, as you will use it over and over
again. (Feel free to email me for more info on this
Since the final image was a 1:7
ratio, (Height to width) screen viewing and printing were
difficult as the image measured 3.1" x 22" (printsize). I
needed to do a FREE TRANSFORM to bring it to a 1:5 or 1:6
ratio. I had opted for a 3.1" x 17.5" image. I was able to do
this with no noticeable distortion of buildings because I had
used a wide-angle lens to capture the originals. I finished
the picture by adding some clouds on the left, a high
magnification clean-up, a slight toning and an unsharp mask.
All in all I worked on this for approximately 8 hours.
Since its completion, this image has seen many
transformations. Luckily I did not delete it from my hard
drive even after I made a back-up CD… within days I tried to
read the CD only to find an error…. backup?