I mentioned in the first part of this Blog that I would be adding some information on Adjusting Your Photos, so here it is. This section starts with “Step 8” as a continuation to the first section, but these instructions can be used independently from the Panorama function in the event that you have any photos that would benefit from adjustments such as exposure, contrast, highlights, dark areas, etc. Once again, I will mention that the required software is already installed on your PC if you have Windows NT, 7, or 8. If you need to find where it is, go back to the first steps of the first part of this series.
Please remember that the Panorama creation process also works well with a vertical series of photos, for those Corner Cabinets, sculptures, etc.
Now for Part 2 . . .
Step 8 – Earlier, I mentioned adjusting the exposure once the photos were combined. To do this, click on the “Fine Tune” button, and you will see a set of controls appear on the right side as shown below. The main one to use first is the “Adjust exposure”, and this will permit individual adjustment of brightness, contrast, shadows, and highlights.
Once again, I will say don’t worry about doing anything wrong. If you look at the top right corner of the window, you will find a button marked “Revert to original”. So, if you end up with an image that you are not happy with, click on this button, and you’ll be back to Step 8. Remember that your originals have remained untouched, so you also have the option to go right back to Step 1 and have fun doing this all over again.
Now try the “Contrast” and “Brightness” controls first, then touch up any really dark or light areas by using the “Shadows” and “Highlights” controls to bring them more into balance.
I usually work back and forth between all 4 controls until I’m satisfied.
There is also an “Auto adjust” button on the menu bar that you can try. This will also apply changes such as “straighten”. You can use this “Auto adjust” to obtain a starting point, then you can use the manual adjustments just mentioned to do any further changes.
Step 9 – Once you are satisfied with your adjustments, click on the “Close file” button at the top right. This will save the Panorama with the name you previously selected, into the folder that you chose, and you will be returned to that folder.
Step 10 – Double click on the new Panorama photo to admire your results in the Windows Photo Viewer.
• When I try to create my Panorama from the selected photos, I sometimes get an error if I have selected more than 4 or 5 photos. Usually, I can get around this by selecting the first 3 photos, making a Panorama as described, then I make a second Panorama using the rest of the photos, and finally I make a third (final) Panorama by using the 2 Panoramas that I have just created.
• If you want to make any further adjustments to your new Panorama, you can use the “Open” control on the menu bar just as you did in Step 2, then go through whatever additional adjustments you need.
• You can also use the “Edit” process to adjust any single photo that you have (exposure, rotate, straighten, effects, etc.).
• If you want to play with the various features of this process, simply make a copy of the photo that you want to work with, and play with the copy rather than your original.
• Since I enjoy carving walking staffs and canes, some of the items that I photograph really need this feature in order to show a reasonable level of detail on a long item. This permits me to take a series of detailed photos along the length of a staff, then produce a Panorama photo of the entire piece. With this type of photo, I find it best to move along the staff as I take the overlapping photos. If I stand in one spot, and “pan” along (rather than moving along), the final Panorama ends up having distortion due to the angled shots. A final cropping of the Panorama eliminates unwanted background and also helps to reduce the file size if I am posting or E-mailing the photo.
Have fun with your photos.
-- John, British Columbia, Canada