Two incredibly powerful tools are best used together in tandem. In a way these tools do what Photo-merge used to do but they do a lot more and do it a lot better. (Photomerge still exists in an improved format thanks to these amazing tools). If you have a series of images that you need stitched together in a panorama or grid, this is your solution. In this tutorial we will create a panorama.
Open all the images into Photoshop CS3. Drag each image onto a separate layer in the same document (hold the shift key to center each image). You could use a script to open the images and place them into a single layered document.
Select all the layers by clicking on the bottom layer in the layers palette, holding Shift and clicking the top layer. (Note: For this to work, you cannot have any locked or linked layers except for the background)
Choose Edit>Auto-Align Layers
You will now see a dialog box that offers 4 options. For the majority of panoramas, the auto option will work the best.
After a little thinking and a progress bar you will see your images arranged in such a way as they overlap each other nicely. Don’t worry about the seams and color differences. The important thing is the arrangement. In this case I have 8 images arranged, notice that the canvas size has automatically changed to accommodate all the images.
Choose Edit>Auto-Blend Layers
Very quickly Photoshop adjusts the exposure and white balance of each image and prepares a layer mask with gradients between images. You can see a close up to examine what a good job Auto-Blend has made to these images. Also click the thumbnail to see a comparison with Photo Merge from Photoshop CS2. What a difference!
Finally crop and display. The hardest part of all this, is trying to find a printer large enough to print out these massive files.Click for larger view
Keep you eye on PhotoshopCAFE.com for CS3 training videos and resources!