A. Pre-stitch Image Adjustment:
Before we start putting (stitching) all our shots together. We need some adjustment on each image to make sure all exposures are even. So for this procedure we will using Lightroom.
Slight adjustment of highlights, shadows, contrast and vibrance will do. Don't do too much as it will cause the final render unrealistic and overdone. Unless, you are aiming for that effect.
Import all 10 images to Lightroom Library. (By the way, I use star and color rating to identify the scenes. )
Then click the Develop Module next to Library, to begin our image enhancement.
This our Develop Module and where we will adjust our images. We need to select our base image first like this one. It contains good amount of highlights and shadows, and vibrance/saturation compared to other shots.
I mentioned that we need to shoot each scene in RAW format. So we can capture all the details and make the adjustments ourselves and not in camera.
With real estate or interior design situation, we need to create an image as close to the actual scene as possible. Meaning we will only apply minimal adjustment.
There are a number of ways and reference on how to use Lightroom. But most of the time I only adjust Color Temperature, Exposures, Highlights, Shadows, some Vibrance and Saturation.
This is our Before and After image. The one on the left was our original and since it was shot in RAW it looks dull. On the Right, after we made the adjustment giving finer color and contrast.
Lastly, go to the Lens Correction setting and check Remove Chromatic Aberration.
This will correct/remove Chromatic Aberration and Purple Fringing mostly seen on the corners.
Also, do not check Enable Profile Corrections because Lightroom will try to correct lens distortion and straighten it up based on our len's profile.
We want to preserve Tokina's native lens distortion and let the stitching software (Autopano) take care of it.
After we made our adjustment with our base image we can Sync it all the rest to apply.
Just select the base image first and then hold control+click/select the rest, and then select Sync.
A Synchronize Setting pop-up will appear. Since, we only made adjustment with Basic Tones and no cropping or others done. We can click Check All and then hit Synchronize.
All adjustment were now applied on each frame. Double check again each for uneven exposure if one of the image becomes darker or brighter. Use the Exposure slide to adjust no need to re-sync. Apply it only on the affected image.
B. Nadir Patching
We now have our images color corrected, let's go ahead and patch our nadir using these shots we took.
From Lightroom let's export it to Photoshop. Hold Control and select the images, then right click go to Edit In > Edit Adobe Photoshop
This will open 3 separate Photoshop files. We will select the first image as our base.
Photoshop Tools will be using on this process are Layers and Mask, Clone Stamp, Content-Aware Fill, Distort and Warp
Copy our first/base image CTRL+A and paste it on the second image (IMG_0306.CR2)
Our base image will be called called Layer 1 as default but you can Rename it like Base Nadir, to avoid confusion with other layers.
Then we need to unlock out Background layer, just drag the Lock icon to the Trash Bin icon and rename it like 2nd Nadir.
As mentioned on the previous page we will be removing parts of the tripod/panohead through masking. Then combine it all together to make our final Nadir image. Red part are the areas we will be masking or removing.
To do this we need to make a layer mask on our Base, click the Add Vector Mask icon.
Double check your Foreground color it should be Black and not White. You can use keyboard shortcut 'X' to switch in between.
In Masking Black color is used to hide part of the image and reveal what's behind it, for this case it's our 2nd Nadir layer. It's the opposite case if we use White.
Select Brush Tool
Adjust the Brush properties. Size 400px and Hardness 0%. Opacity 100% and Flow 100%. You can use bracket keys [ and ], as Brush size shortcut.
Then brush it on the vertical arm to reveal floor area on the 2nd layer.
Our next step is to remove the tripod legs.
Go to your layers right click and select Merge Layers.
After merging we need to make a Duplicate layer as a backup just in case something went wrong or as a reference.
Then we will need to use Clone Stamp Tool to remove the tripod legs. One of the key here is your clone stamp should align with the pattern, like on tile grout to make it natural. Check for tripod shadows as well on the floor area.
Our image will look like this and ready to remove the center tripod post using our 3rd image.
On our 3rd image, use Polygonal Lasso Tool to select the area we needed for patching. This image will have a different lens distortion but with the use of Free Transform - Distort and Warp, we can align it with our Base nadir layer.
After selection copy it (CTRL+C) and go to our Base layers and paste it (CTRL+V). It will create a new Layer.
While the new layer is selected use the Move Tool (V) to center our patch, base on the tile pattern. Then use Free Transform (CTRL+T) - Distort to stretch and align our patch
After placing our patch, we will now use Free Transform - Warp to match the lines/tile pattern.
We now have our patch perfectly aligned. Merge the layers and Duplicate. Then we can do final cleaning using Clone Stamp and Content-Aware Fill.
After finalizing our Nadir image we can now Import it back to Lightroom.
Just select a layer and right click, choose Flatten Image and then Save.
Your final Nadir image is imported back to Lightroom as TIFF file. We are now ready for our stitching.
Pre-stitch Image Processing
Select Brush Tool