The top of the Continental Divide in the Colorado Rockies is too much fun to miss the chance for a 360º panorama. Easily accessible Loveland Pass, on a beautiful, clear morning just as the final snow melt was in progress is fine inspiration. A few steps up a little hill provided the view of road and 14-thousand-foot peaks; a flight of motorcyclists the human interest.
I use a 2-handed hold when making iPhone panos to be both steady and level. Use the same essential stance and arm position to assure the series in a circle will stitch easily. I made multiple images to guard against bad angles or shaky movement and chose the 3 best ones with most similar levels for my 360º.
The base image
was an easy pick. I lightened the road with the dodge tool in Photoshop to emphasize the motorcyclists and the melting snow along the road. Incidentally, that image as recorded in the iPhone is almost 10MB in size, compressed.
doubled the canvas size from 45 inches (@ 240PPI) to 90 inches. Unsure of just how much space I’d need, I just guessed. Image>Canvas Size> move arrows to place the original to the left> double the physical size of the canvas shown
Steps 3 and 4
added the next two images turning right. It’s ok to turn left too – your preference. I was really steady – with a measure of luck – and the three images meshed with good level and easy overlap. A good example of how careful camera position and steadiness in capture saves time later. Even with no exposure controls, and even turning through angle of the sun, the iPhone images were very closely matched in density.
Obviously the added image stack must be masked back to create the blend. You can automate this – but I still like to do the hand work myself, especially when it’s this easy. Just a few strokes made this 360º perfect.
- Click the add mask button for each layer at the bottom of the Layers palette.
- With a mask active paint with black brush to reveal the image underneath or white brush to conceal it.
Option/Alt – Click (on the mask icon in the layer) = your painted strokes shown black on white
Command/Control – Click = a marching ant border
Option/Alt + Shift – Click = your painted strokes as a red overlay on the original photo
Shift – Click or second Option/Alt – Click = return to the original photo alone
Command/Control + D = removal of marching ants
Combining all three images gave more than 360º, so I cropped off the overlap in the final image. The proportion ended up about 9:1. A great memento to save and post.
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