I’ve long been a fan of panoramic images, after switching to digital cameras and computer-editing back in the early 2000s. One of the occasional tasks is to find the most current and efficient way of stitching individual images together. Down the years, I’ve used several pieces of software: since 2013, Panoedit has been my programme of choice. I’ve used Hugin, but due to my over-activity when taking photos, I usually don’t have the time to spend a couple of hours perfecting each image in this more advanced piece of software. I don’t generally make 360° interactive panoramas, so a simpler programme usually does the trick.
One part of the process which slows me down is that all of the images have to be pre-edited in Lightroom through my normal process. Then, they have to be exported in TIFF or JPG format, before stitching them together in Panoedit. That produces the end result of a TIFF file, which can then no longer be edited with as much range as a RAW (or DNG) format file.
The newest version of Lightroom smooths the process for well-planned series of images, by enabling panoramic “stitching” direct in the app. From the first few tests late last night, I can see that it does an excellent job on images which match up well, although complex images or images which need overlap areas to be manually “masked” will still need to go via Hugin. But for 99% of my images, I can save myself 75% of the processing time by using the new built-in function.
An added bonus, and one which makes me coo with delight, is that panoramic images generated from RAW or DNG format files retain this format. That means that even after being compiled from separate images, the resultant image can be completely re-edited in the same way as the RAW originals.
Taking that a step further, it’s also possible to shoot series of HDR images for a panorama, merge these using the (also new) built-in function, and then merge these new generated RAW HDR files to a RAW panorama. (The process is explained simply in the video attached.)
More from the video series introducing the new version of Lightroom can be found at photorumors.com.