Monday, November 16, 2009


Photojournalists, cover your ears (or eyes, in this case). This does not apply to you.

One of the interesting properties of landscapes is that they can usually be stretched horizontally without anyone noticing. Hills become more gentle, rocks become flatter, but there's nothing particularly odd about that, so most people never question it. Why do we care? Because this can be very useful for creating a panoramic image from a relatively square one.

Not only can the image be stretched, but it can be selectively stretched. Here's an example with a single image of Chelsea:

The top image is the original, full frame of the photo. Chelsea clearly wouldn't appreciate it if I'd simply widened the whole image (and her figure along with it). Instead I widened only the areas to the left and right of her by doing the following:

  • Resize the canvas (not the image) to the desired width.

  • Select the landscape to the left of her with the Marquee tool.

  • Edit -> Transform -> Scale...

  • Stretch the selected area to the left until it fills the left side of the canvas and press Enter.

  • Now do the same for the landscape to the right of her.

What I find amazing about this is that widened areas of the image blend right into the unaffected areas. It's a neat trick that can be selectively applied around people, trees, or any figure of known proportion. Give it a try!

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