A panorama is when you have several individual photos taken in succession of a scene – usually a landscape – and you create one picture by connecting and overlapping the individual photos. So, for example, I took the 4 pictures below with the intent of putting them together into one panorama.
Picasa does not have a Panorama feature, but you can approximate the result by using the collage feature. Select all 4 photos and click the collage button, size them and position them overlapping each other to make them look like one. If one is darker than the others, you can right click on it and choose View and Edit. This takes you to the editing tools, where you can use the fill Light slider to lighten up the picture. (Member Tutorial Video:Basic Edits) Then just click on the collage tab to get back. To bring one photo on top, right-click on it and then choose ‘Bring to Top.’
Click the Create collage button and you now have one picture that is a composite of the original 4. Crop it so the edges are straight and you have something like this: (Member Tutorial Video: Crop Size Options)
Notice that the seams between the original photos are pretty obvious. And, there’s not much you can do about this. If you want to do a lot of panoramas, this is an area where it may be worthwhile to use another software. I have a Canon camera and it came with software called ‘PhotoStitch.’ After simply selecting the pictures and setting their order, below is what I get with Photostitch. It’s really quite amazing how it perfectly aligns the photos and blends the intersection lines.
You can save this panorama in your My Pictures folder and Picasa will then treat it like any other picture.
If you have a Canon camera, you probably already have Photostitch – it works with both Windows and Macintosh. If not, and you’re on the Windows platform, you can download Windows Live Photo Gallery – this is a download, not the Gallery that comes with Vista. It makes panoramas as easy as 1-2-3. 1)select the photos, 2) click Make – Create Panoramic Photo and 3:Save. The saved photo is now in My Pictures and can be managed by Picasa right along with all your other photos.
The problem with Live Photo Gallery is that it is a full featured photo management tool like Picasa and it may get confusing having both of them on your computer.
One other free download is Hugin. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux. There is a good article all about it with additional tips on making panoramas at Lifehacker.
I am usually not a proponent of Picasa adding features. One of its strengths is that it doesn’t do it all – so what it does do is nice and fast. I like software that is lean and mean. But, when it comes to Panoramas, I’m hoping that this could be added to Picasa without losing any performance. We’ll see, Google adds new features all the time.
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