Digital cameras are so inexpensive now that there is no reason to not be taking photos at high resolutions. But what good is having these large photos when you need to make them tiny anyway to put them online?
I’ll show you a method of taking a collection of large photos and turning them into a panorama. Once you have a large panorama put together, there is still the problem of being able to put it online for others to use. You don’t want to have to make it 900px wide.. because obviously you will lose all the quality. Uploading it as a huge image file and having a scroll bar is no good, who is going to wait for that to load? I’ll show you the perfect solution to this problem.
Step 1 – Take Photos
Well you’re going to need photos to make a panorama! You can use a tripod with a camera, and take multiple photos as you turn the camera around until you reach the original position. Make sure to overlap the photos as you take them so there will be somewhere to blend. If you don’t care about them being perfect, or you don’t have a tripod on you, just hold it as still as you can, and turn in a circle as you take pictures. That’s the method I used when I took all these photos in St. Maarten last year. I actually like the effect it gives not having the top and bottom edges lined up, (you’ll see what I mean soon).
Step 2 – Creating the Panorama
Photoshop has a great build in tool to create the panorama with. It’s called Photomerge, and it’s under File > Automate > Photomerge.
Choose the folder that you have the photos in, and watch as Photoshop does it’s magic of combining and blending all the photos.
When the process is complete, you will have a file with the panorama, and a bunch of layers like this:
In this case I’m happy with the outcome, except for one area, my sister. Photoshop thought I wouldn’t notice if they blended half of her head in, but that’s sooo not cool. No big deal, 10 minutes of a little blending of my own and I fixed the problem. I then filled in a black page background and blended the edges a little.
Step 3 – Putting the Panorama on the web
So we have the panorama now, and we need to put it online. We will use another tool built into Photoshop, called Zoomify. This is located under File > Export > Zoomify.
The idea behind this tool is to take your large image, slice it into a ton of tiny photos, and put them in a viewer. When complete you will have a viewer for you webpage that lets you scroll around the picture, zoom in and out, all while not losing any of the quality of your photo. It loads the small slices as you go, so you aren’t waiting for one huge photo to load.
The tool lets you pick the color, size, etc.
Once it’s done this is what’s created, a folder with a .swf, .xml, and a bunch of image folders. Those folders hold the slices. It also creates a .html file, this is where you can view the Zoomify viewer.
As you use the viewer, you will see that as you drag the photo around, it loads the slices as you go. Pretty neat trick to make this work.
Click here to check out the finished product.
Check out Zoomify.com for more info about the tool. Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!
Update: Since this post I have created a couple more Panoramas using this process, they can be seen here.