Work in Progress: 360 Panoramic


I went out a couple of weeks ago with the plan to take a picture I have envisaged for quite some time. In my city there is a place called Plac Wolności (freedom Square). Plac Wolności used to be an area like a market square, on the square is a Church and the Old Town Hall.

The modern day Plac Wolności is more of a Roundabout junction with a plinth and statute on the top. It is used as a meeting place for young people or tour groups.

I had always had two ideas for the picture but I also need a few conditions to be met as well before shooting.

First I didn’t want the image to be too busy with lots of people near the centre of the square as that is where I would be taking the picture. Secondly the picture would need to be taken when the sun is not in the higher points of its arc. The picture is to be a 360degree Panorama and if the sun is too high I would be shooting into it and blowing out the sky, but I did need a sunny day.

The shot i ended up taking was a 77 image panorama. I used the four sides of the plinth plus its corners as my view points. I divided each view point into 9 areas with each area overlapping by about a third. Before I took any pictures I used the manual focus to get a general focus of the buildings around the square and then did the same for the exposure.

The exposure was F4/60.

This is the first stage of my edit. It has taken a white to get to this point. Mainly because I had to work around the huge file size of 3.5gb. The image is 10inches by 70inches.

When the panorama stitch was complete, I first had to straighten the image. I used the puppet warp tool to do this. Once the image was straightened I decided to edit the picture in zones.

The first zone I am looked at was the sky. In the original stitch the clouds were just white and blown out. I went back to the original picture used and adapted them in Camera Raw and brought them into Photoshop and blended them in.

Once the sky was blended I turned all the layers into a smart object. I did this to lower the file size but also to make sure any edit I made was not destructive to the image. This smart object is like my negative now.

Next I created folders in my layers pallet and named them for the different parts of the image for example; “foreground”, “Building centre”, “sky” ect. I made separate level adjustments for the different areas. The image at the moment is at the point where I can objectively look at it as see what needs to be done.

Here are enlarges sections of the whole image.

As you can see from this first part the computer is not always the most intelligent person in the room. Part of the stone tiling in the fore ground has not matched up the same with the third lamppost from the left. Also when I used the puppet warp tool I bent some buildings slightly out of their natural shape.

This I will fix in the next stage.

One of the main problems with this part of the image is the Museum in the middle. The sun was just rising behind it so there was a bit of flaring on the front of the museum. This is why it is not a great idea not to shoot into the sun. This will need to be worked on.

Generally this part of the image is pretty good.

Thankfully this part of the image is good. There are some masking issues which I normally clean up next. The reason I work rough first and then clean second is that I am just trying to get a look of what the image is like and then perfecting it. If you spend a lot of time carefully masking just for it to be thrown away it is pointless. It is better I believe to see how it works and then perfect.

I do like the image but I will need to play with the colours and levels some more.

The next step is to go into the smart object and merge the layers and then duplicate it into a new window. I will do this so I can close my large file and work on a smaller one to correct stitching mistakes and clean the image. I will then add it to the smart object later.

After this I will correct the colours, tone and saturation of the image. For example the sky is not perfect and there are tones of grey that I would prefer them to be more white. I expect it will take me a couple more sessions to finish it.

It is great the image turned out well but I am not sure how I will print it and if I did where I would hang it.

Let me know what you think.

If you want to know how to take digital panoramas, I wrote a post called “The World Through a Letterbox Frame”.

41 thoughts on “Work in Progress: 360 Panoramic

    • I am glad that the post has inspired you to have a play with panoramic images they are great fun to take.

      I find it funny that you said,

      “you also happen to have incredible scenery surrounding you…”

      because a lot of my students and people I know in the city, call it grey and miserable. I glad to see my images counter this vision.

    • Taking panoramic photos can simple if you take your time, just like most things in life. If you follow the link at the end of the blog it takes you to a previous post where I describe taking panoramic pictures in more detail.

      I am glad you found it useful let me know if you take any panoramas.

      • We will have to see but I hope you will. At the school i teach at I am starting a new photography course so I will be posting a lot of things relating to it.
        I hope you find it useful.
        Thanks for following and the comments

  1. These are great shots! I Have always been interested in doing panoramic shots, but never had a camera to do that. But since purchasing the Galaxy S3 which is just a simple camera in a phone, the panoramic theme works pretty well on it (surprisingly).
    I love taking photos myself, but depending on what you’re going for, I’d try to capture a few shots with a few more people in it, just because I think it adds to the scenery, unless you’re going for the full scenery minus people, then you got it perfect 🙂 Just curious, what camera do you use and what photo editing software?
    Again, great shots!

    • I agree that people can add to a picture or a focus of interest in the frame. When I am taking pictures in the city i am normally capturing architecture. With buildings being the main subject for example having lots of people can distract the eye from what is the subject and may take away from the details of the subject.

      With this panoramic, there are people in the scene but not in the direct foreground. There are two reasons for this; one it is hard when stitching a panorama together to have lots of movement because you will have ghosting of artifacts in the image. In other words half people or cars which will need a lot of work to remove and clean. And two it would be a hassle to take with people walking past. I am an advocate of getting it right in the camera first because there are limits to photo editing software.

      At the moment i have five cameras i use I have a Holga 120 CFN, and a Mamiya 135 both of which are film cameras. I also have a cannon 300D which is up for replacement very soon as it is getting old and a Cannon G10. I have as well but more for fun a homemade pin hole camera which take film.

      For photo editing I use a mixture of programs but mainly Photoshop, Realviz, and Photomatrix. Depending on the image and I want to do with it depends on what i use.

      Thanks for your comment.

  2. I am incredibly impressed by the thought process it took to get this right, and the patience you have to wait for the perfect day and the right time to get the picture. It is inspiring and beautiful to behold.
    Thank you for sharing your talent. And congratulations on getting pressed!

    • Thank you for your comment, there are two Images in photography one is a Image that is in this moment and there is only one chance to catch it, others are more like still life’s where you wait and wait for the conditions to be right for the image. The only problem is you have to be good at both.

      • Well, I’ve seen a lot of photography and admire anyone who has the talent to bring “still life” into a world of constant motion. Your work shows that talent.
        Someday I will move from my frozen place of oceans and deserts to capturing “the moment”.
        Keep bringing us beauty!

  3. Good job!

    Tip 1: It’s inevitable in panoramas that some of the straight lines won’t stitch properly. You can perfect the obvious ones with the clone tool in Photoshop.

    Tip 2 (really cool): How about making this into a Little Planet picture? There are instructions and examples on my blog. It’s quite quick to process (at least it’s much quicker than the stitching process) and this panorama has all the characteristics of an interesting Little Planet.

    Try it!

    • One idea i did have was to make it into a mini planet like i did with others here but i really like the straight panoramic version.

      Fixing stitching is quite annoying I usually do it with a mixture of the clone, heal and patch tools depending on how bad the area is.

      Thanks for your comment.

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