AfterBefore Friday Week 55

Today marks Week 55 in the AfterBefore Friday series managed by Stacy Fischer of Visual Venturing.  It’s open to anyone and participants share their approach of transforming one of their own images into its final form, an expression of their creative vision.  You can find links to all of the other participants here.

I thought this would be a good opportunity to try out one of the new tools that appeared in the most recent Photoshop CC upgrade.  Most writers have been rhapsodizing about the new “Dehaze” tool, but I have been far more pleased by the integration of the Photomerge capability into the Adobe Raw Camera (Version 9.1) process.

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 55 Before

Original Image (one of four)

The above image is one of four used to produce an overall image the front of the Jefferson Memorial at sunrise.  Longtime readers may recall that I used a single image from this set in ABFriday Week 44.  But that was to produce a much tighter crop. This week it will be a wider view to include the tree on the left side of the building and some balance on the other side.  Now, I could have captured all of this in a single image using a wide angle lens, but I wanted to avoid the distortion of an extreme wide angle and I also wanted to be able to make really big prints if the image turned out nicely. (Technical: Four images with a Nikon D800E; 24-70mm f/2.8 lens at 42mm; Exposure: 1/160th sec. @ f/16, ISO 400)

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 55 Screen 01

The Well-Hidden Photomerge Button

The screen capture above shows the Adobe Camera Raw (ACR) display window with the  four RAW images opened as the first step for a photomerge.  In what must be one of the most obscure placements of a functional command in history, Adobe has seen fit to place this teeny little button in the upper left corner of the window, just to the right of the word “Fimstrip”  (Red Arrow).  If you select 2 or more images and then click on that little spot, you get the flyout menu (Yellow Arrow) that is displayed showing several options including “Merge to Panorama.”

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 55 Screen 04

Preview of Photomerge Process

If you click on that command, a preview window quickly appears as shown in the screen capture above. The ACR process has chosen which of three “projections”  it believes will produce the best result which, in this case, was “Perspective”  (Red Arrow). If you are not happy with that one, you can click on one of the other two to compare the results. It also provides a preview of an “Auto Crop” (Yellow Arrow) which essentially cleans up the ragged edges of a typical photomerge process.  A very nice touch, I thought. The image below shows the result when this box is unchecked.

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 55 Screen 03

Auto Crop Unchecked.

In some cases, one may decide to handle the cropping on their own, but it obviously did a fine job here.  Once you are happy with the result,  click on the “Merge” command and it quickly goes to the “Save As” function as shown in the screen capture below.  Just give the file the approapriate name and select the folder in which it is to be saved.  So far about 60 seconds have passed.

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 55 Screen 06

Saving the Merged image

As shown the Screen Capture below, a new thumbnail of the photomerge has appeared in the filmstrip (Red Arrow) and is ready to be processed like any other RAW file.

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 55 Screen 05

ACR Window after Save Command is Executed

From here one just uses their standard workflow.  In this case I used the follwing settings: Highlights decreased to -31; Shadows increased to +73; Whites increased to +57; Blacks increased to +16; Clarity increased to +30; and Vibrance increased to +39.  The image was then opened in Photoshop, where I spent some time removing a few of the people on the steps.  The final result is shown below.

Robin Kent ABFriday Week 55 After

Final Image

Comments and Questions are welcome.  Please be sure to check out the other examples of post-processing techniques at Stacy’s post, ABFriday Week 55.

Keep Shooting…….


20 thoughts on “AfterBefore Friday Week 55

    • Thanks for visiting and for your comments. I take your point and I have a number of images taken at other times that do just that. So in normal circumstances, the shot would have included what you suggest. In this case, the cherry blossoms were blooming and, even though it was early, a lot of people were around and the activity at ground level was pretty chaotic. I felt that would detract from the main subjects, the light and the architectural structure. As it was, I still had to remove a few folks from the small portion of the steps that did appear. But I do appreciate the feedback and I hope you’ll drop by again.


  1. Such beautiful golden light on the Jefferson, Robin! Given that you took this during cherry blossom season, I can understand your decision to crop out the people in the foreground! Thanks for pointing out where the merge function is “hidden” in PS. Strange choice on Adobe’s part. I have to admit I haven’t yet used the function natively in ACR; I’ve been having fun using it right in LR! I wonder if there is any discernible difference between the images merged in LR and those in ACR. Hmm, perhaps an experiment is in order 🙂

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    • Thanks, Stacy. I figured that the ACR addition came from LR since they are based on the same engine. It would be interesting to compare the results. But I also like the convenience of having the merge result all set for RAW processing without having to move back and forth between various components of LR, ACR, and PS. Another factor in that shot by the way is that I had just finished a long session with a full moon setting over the tidal basin and was walking back to the car as the cherry blossom fans were starting to roll in. The sun came up and hit the Jefferson just as I was approaching it and obviously one cannot resist a gift like that.


  2. You’ve caught some really nice sunrise light on this building Robin, it looks great. I’ve not really used ACR at all, having started off in Lightroom, but how strange, when they are so similar, that the photo merge option has only just been added, maybe that means it is a newer version? It seems to work very well and even better if it saves you so much processing time. Thanks for including such clear instructions too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks very much. I appreciate the comments. I think you can do this same thing in Lightroom as Stacy points out in an earlier comment. This ACR feature was added quite recently and probably came straight from LR.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Hi, Katie:
      I just ran across a Lightroom tutorial about Photomerge and it is basically the same thing. First you slect the images to be merged (most likely you will be in the Library module). Then, do a right click and a flyout menu will appear. Click on the Photomerge option and it will open up a window that looks very much like the one in ACR and from there do the same steps as shown above. Have fun!


    • Thanks very much. The pano feature in ACR is new, but I think it is pulled pretty much directly from Light Room which has been avaialble for a while. Not sure, since I don’t use LightRoom. It’s been a feature with Photoshop for quite some time, but there the process is more cumbersome.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beautiful results! Do you know how the merge tool in Adobe Raw compares to the new one in Lightroom? Or vice versa? I have not used it yet. Your work is always impressive and I love the golden light you’ve brought out in your final image. I also get the impression that you’ve moved some of the people around, not just removed them. Either way, a beautiful job!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Emilio. I appreciate your comments. I’m not sure how the LightRoom version compares since I don’t use Lightroom, but I suspect others in the ABFriday community who do use LR would know. My guess is that they are pretty similar since ACR is pretty much pulled from LightRoom. Actually, I did not move any of the people to new locations, just removed some of them. It may be hard to see in the small size on the screen. Since it was a merge with images from a 38 Megapixel sensor, the image could easily go up to about 3-4 feet wide and it would be a lot easier to tell what was done to the small section at the lower edge.

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