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How to Make a Panorama with Adobe Lightroom's New Boundary Warp Feature

Photo Merge to Panoramas with Adobe Lightroom

When Adobe Lightroom CC debuted, I had a chance to check out the Photo Merge features. The latest version of Lightroom has brought with it the option to create HDR images and panoramas within the application.

To get started with panoramas in Adobe Lightroom, select the images that you want to combine while working in the Develop module. My favorite way to do this is by holding Command on Mac or Control on Windows and clicking on all of the images to combine.

Multi select imagesMulti select imagesMulti select images
To create a panorama, you'll need to select the individual files to combine. On Windows, you can do this by holding control on your keyboard and clicking on all of the images. You can do the same on Mac by holding command and choosing all of the images. On either platform, you can click on the first image in a series, hold shift, and press the last image in the series to choose every image in between. I will often select all of the images in grid view in the Library module, then jump over to the Develop module to begin the panorama.

After you've selected the images to composite, make sure you're working in the Develop module and choose the Photo > Photo Merge > Panorama option. Lightroom will go to work combining and aligning your images into a single file.

The Problem with Panoramas

Stitching many images together into a single panorama can lead to some stunning effects. When you can't fit everything into the view of your lens, a panorama can help capture a wider view than a single shot can. Panoramas also can generate ultra-high-resolution images, suitable for wall-sized prints.

The problem with PanoramasThe problem with PanoramasThe problem with Panoramas
I tried to stitch a set of images together in Photoshop, and the problem here is clear: the imperfect alignment of the images creates problems on the edges. The green line shows where i'll have to crop the image for a usable final image. However, with Boundary Warp, we can fix the problem without losing as many pixels on the edges.

The problem with panoramas is that it can be difficult to align the shots properly, especially if you aren't traveling with a suitable tripod. As you pan through a scene and capture a series of images, they might not match up perfectly on the edges. 

Although your software will help you crop a stitched panorama, you may still have an issue with the edges of the image. As the illustration above shows, imperfect panoramas lead to loss of pixels on the edge - that's where Boundary Warp comes in.

Boundary Warp in Action

When our finished panorama isn't a perfect rectangle, Lightroom's new Boundary Warp feature is incredibly useful. Check out this video to learn more about the power of Boundary Warp.

Recap and Keep Learning

I hope that this tutorial will allow you to stitch together those less-than-perfectly composed panoramic images. The Boundary Warp feature is great for saving pixels on the edge of your panoramic images.

If you want to learn more about panoramic photography, I would highly recommend Jeffrey Opp's excellent tutorial on creating 360 degree panoramas. Jose Antunes also has some great tips on shooting handheld panoramas. 

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