Joshua Cohen is a principal at Fat Pencil Studio
The Rose Festival often attracts naval ships to lay anchor in Portland's downtown Waterfront Park. After a weekend of celebrating their shore leave, the sailors had to depart on Monday. I happened to catch one of the larger ships beginning its journey down the Willamette River under a fully raised Steel Bridge. I took a series of photos thinking I could string them together for a nice little animated GIF. I tried to hold the camera in a steady position, but when I got back to the office I realized that I make a pretty lousy tripod.
That’s when my colleague Sebastian turned me on to Photomerge, a nifty feature of Photoshop that can stitch, blend, and align multiple photographs to form a panorama or collage. In this case, I didn’t want to blend the photos, just align them and make some slight tweaks to reduce the distortion caused by slight differences in the camera angle.
It’s a very easy process. Just select “Photomerge…” from the file menu, load the images, uncheck “Blend Images Together” and hit “OK”.
The software does the rest, and in about 30 seconds, I had a new file with each of the aligned images on a separate layer, ready to create the final animated GIF.