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On 20 Jun 2006, at 6:08 PM, Roger Klinger wrote:

> So what programs are you guys using to create these?  How can I do  
> it in Photoshop Elements?

I use Photoshop CS2, but I only put together sequences occasionally  
(such as the ones at  <http://www.kevinbroderick.com/gallery/v/ 
BoltonValley/SkiingAndRiding/11FebruaryChillZone/ 
JumpingTheMoon.jpg.html> and <http://www.kevinbroderick.com/gallery/v/ 
Biking/KnightsJumps/WallMerge1.jpg.html>).

With CS2, the usual trick is to bring in each frame as its own layer,  
reduce opacity to line things up, and then erase unnecessary parts of  
the background.  If you are planning on making a sequence of a set of  
shots, shoot from a tripod and make sure that all relevant points are  
in focus, then don't refocus, zoom, or move the camera between shots-- 
it will make it much easier to create the combined image.

If you shoot as most people normally do (i.e. tracking a skier or  
rider down the hill or whatnot), you'll probably need to do a bit  
more work after the fact in Photoshop as things won't line up quite  
right (e.g. small movements in the camera position might make  
background elements that should line up not line up because the  
distance between them has changed due to the new angle).  Both of  
mine above actually fall into this category, but the snowboarding  
sequence was still easy to put together--several frames were mid-air,  
and the only really problematic part was that I had to either cleanly  
erase the background around the board in the taking-off shot (which  
is only partially clear of the trees) or get the treeline to look  
natural in the composite.  Getting the landing photo to line up was a  
little tricky but not terribly hard.

Oh, and make sure you use the same exposure and white balance on all  
the shots, especially with snow involved.  I shoot RAW, so I can  
adjust white balance after the fact, or I'd have been more or less up  
the creek trying to get the snow to look right in the image linked  
above.

(and Ben's email just showed up, rendering much of the above  
redundant.)  To contrast with the way Ben does things, I usually try  
*not* to be creating artificial fill--I'll generally try to pick a  
frame that would contain all the desired positions and copy into it,  
or otherwise crop a composite such that I don't have dead space  
around the edges.

Another caveat: I don't believe Elements supports layers, but I could  
be wrong (or it may have changed since 2.0, which is the version that  
came with my camera).  If you're on the fence as to whether or not  
the full deal is worth it, you may want to consider (a) whether or  
not you can get it for a discounted price due to affiliation with  
academia and (b) whether or not you want to risk getting addicted  
after downloading the 30-day free trial from Adobe.  I did the free  
trial and decided that it was worth the upgrade cost; YMMV.

Kevin T. Broderick
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