Panoramic Questions?

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by Hardrock, Aug 13, 2009.

  1. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    So Im going to shoot my first panoramic of the Dallas sky line and I have a couple of questions. I will be using cs3 to stitch them together but have never stitched pictures together so how do I do that using cs3? I plan on shooting them in raw. Do I adjust the white balance on each picture indvidually (which does not make sense) or do I stitch them together and then adjust. Also when I size the picture what sizes should I size them to so I can get it printed. Sorry for all the questions but thanks in advance for all the help!
     
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    When shooting multiple shot pano, it's important that you use the same exposure settings for all the shots. So maybe take a few test shots to see what setting will be best for the whole series. You will also need to make the WB the same for all the shots, but that's easy to do if they are all RAW files.

    I'm pretty sure there is a stitching utility in CS3, so you just need to find it and point it toward the images. Maybe look up a tutorial on Youtube or Adobe etc.

    Size it to the print size that you want (or save a separate copy and resize for whatever print size). As for resolution, we usually like 300 PPI for printing, but for large prints, you can easily go lower, which saves file size.

    Also, a good tip for shooting panos is to turn your camera to portrait orientation and shoot vertically. You have to take more shots to cover the area but you get less distortion.
     
  3. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the info! As far as the size of the picture Im asking what are normal pano sizes (like portraits are 8-10 for example) that get printed.
     
  4. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I don't think there is a 'normal pano size'.

    Try working backward from your final print size. Look for a frame than make your pano to fit that. Or check your lab/printer for a size that you like, then make your pano that size.

    A lot may depend on what you are shooting and what size/ratio it will look good at.
     
  5. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Okay, panos, a subject near and dear to my heart. First of all, a repost:

    John's basic 'How-to' guide to Panoramas...

    1. In order to get a good pano, your camera has to be level, and has to rotate around the nodal point. This the point at which the image inverts. For practical purposes, with most lenses, using the sensor plane will work fine. What this means is that you have to shoot from a tripod for best results.

    Therefore, put your camera on your tripod and level it. Even though my tripod legs and head both have levels built-in, I carry a small dollar-store spirit level in my camera bag to make sure everything is as close to level as I can get it.

    2. Once I'm satisfied that everything is level and square and my tripod is locked (except for the rotating axis) where I want it, it's time to work on the exposure. Another important factor is to NEVER SHOOT PANOS IN AUTO (this includes WB)! Set your camera to a manual or semi-manual mode (I use full manual, but either shutter or apeture priority will work as well).

    Determine the range of your pano (eg the left and right limits) and then go through and meter the different areas. Find out what the camera is recommending as maximum and minimum exposure, and when you've done this for the full range of the image, then average the settings. Don't change these settings; yes some will likely be slightly under exposed, and some slightly over, but deal with it in post.

    3. Now you're ready to start shooting. I always start at the left-hand end of the intended pano and work right, simply so that the images are in the correct order when they're on my computer, but that's up to you. Expose the first image, and choose a landmark about 2/3 of the way to the right-hand side of the frame. Now, being careful to ensure that you don't upset your level, move your camera so that the left-hand edge of the frame lines up on the land mark you just chose. Ideally you want about a 30-35% (or 1/3) overlap between each image. Continue shooting in this manner until you have the whole sequence captured.

    4. Download and stitch using your favorite software.
    A few tips: With respect to the issue of exposure: If there is an extreme dynamic range within the pano, (say bright sun to deep shade) I will often bracket each image 1/3 stop on each side, so that for every image used in the pano, you actually expose three. This gives you a bit of latitude in terms of trying to produce an image with a pleasing and realistic dynamic range, but be warned, it often looks hokey.

    One of the most important tools you can have for taking panos (aside from a good tripod) are filters. There are two types, one is the circular polarizer (CPOL)for enhancing colours and deepening the blue in sky and the other is graduated neutral density(G-ND); these help to prevent blown skies and preserve detail on the ground. When using a CPOL, it's important to remember not to change it's setting through the course of the pano either. Find the optimum setting and use it at that setting for the whole image. Likewise with your G-ND; don't change their position or intensity.

    The pano stitching function in CS3 is called "Photomerge" and is located in the File menu (In the 'Automate' sub-menu).

    The work-flow for panos is this: Shoot in TIF or RAW (and convert to TIF) and then merge the images. Once you have the final pano, then apply your image corrections, cropping etc. If you try applying light or colour corrections to a single image, it will be obvious in the final result. With respect to your question on sizing, once you have the assembled and PP'd image, crop/resize to suit. There is no standard size for panoramic images.
     
  6. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    just to add something to the above.

    the move images, the longer the pano which will effect how large the image will print. Think 3 or 4 images, then a nice larger size on a 11x17 paper, 20 inches and the size of the image will be about 1/2 inch high if that.
     
  7. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    Just the info I needed , thanks a ton! I will post the end result hopefully this weekend. Its going to be a night shot so hopefully I wont have to many problems.
     
  8. Hardrock

    Hardrock TPF Noob!

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    Ok so hopefully the last question? Im shooting a digital rebel xt and I plan on using my 50mm 1.4 for the shoot. Its a night shot and I know the xt is not great at high iso so what do you guys recommend? I will be shooting on manual mode at 11f and what ever the camera meter says for shutter speed thats correct exposure. Thanks once again.
     
  9. tirediron

    tirediron Watch the Birdy! Staff Member Supporting Member

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    It really depends on how dark it is, but meters become very inaccurate to useless when there's too little light. Your best bet, if it is really dark will be to take a series of test-exposures and go with what looks right. You might also want to consider bracketing, say by 1/2 and 1 stop.
     
  10. Vautrin

    Vautrin No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    You might want to try looking into autopano and gigapan.

    Autopano is a tool (that unfortunately costs money), but in my opinion it makes creating panoramas so much easier.

    Gigapan let's you take a pano you've created and zoom in and out. It's pretty cool -- take a look on the web site.
     
  11. ann

    ann No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    We have tested a lot of stitching software and Serif makes a great product called Panorama plus and it is only 49 dollars. great customer support.

    and no i don't have anything to do with the company.
     
  12. Dwig

    Dwig TPF Noob!

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    Be sure to only meter once and use the same exposure settings for each shot.
     

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