The addition of the panorama merge feature in Lightroom 6 is a welcome one. I imagine we will start to see a plethora of panoramic images on the photo sharing sites as well as Facebook now that creating a panoramic image is incredibly easy. Lightroom has made the process fool-proof but it’s not perfect.
Much like the creation of HDR images in Lightroom 6, all you do is select the images you want, click “Photo” at the top of your screen, scroll down to “Merge” and select “Panorama”. It couldn’t be any easier than that. Once you’ve selected your images it will open a window, similar to the HDR window, and allow you to make limited selections.
The panorama tool in Lightroom does not keep your images in the order you select them… Therefore, if it decides it wants to add one of your middle images to the front of a series, like attaching an arm on Frankenstein, it will. You’ll be left with an odd panoramic image from time to time and there is nothing you can do about it. A simple fix would be to allow users to either add them in the order they are to be used or number them after they’ve been selected.
Aside from the weakness above, the random series you’ll get that looks like it was pasted together by a preschool student, the results are pretty impressive. It can be inconsistent and you’ll struggle with the same issues you would with most any panorama software (merging moving water may result in inconsistent ripple lines in the water, fast-moving clouds may not line up perfectly) but overall it’s ease of use more than makes up for its shortcomings.
Don’t make any local adjustments on the images (brush, radial filter, etc.) you’ll be using in the panorama merge. According to Adobe, you’ll lose those adjustments when the photos merge so don’t waste your time.
Adobe also recommends using the lens correction tool to select the profile correction box before merging the images.
Creating panoramic images has difficulties of its own, before you introduce any type of software to the equation. Great software will get out of your way and allow you to realize the vision that you have for the images you take.
Lightroom certainly gets out of the photographers way… A little too far out-of-the-way. You’ll be able to easily create panoramic images out of images that aren’t too busy but if you have images with a lot going on you’ll need more sophisticated software.
For a version 1.0 implementation I would say Lightroom is on the right track. If, over the next year or so, we see more manual control given to the photographer through software updates you’ll see Lightroom pass up seasoned panorama software because of its intuitive software design.
Check back regularly for more tutorials including one all about creating panoramic images. You can share your thoughts in the comments below.