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what tool for stitching shift images?

Massive Si

Active member
What are people using to stitch their shots together? Photoshop or some dedicated tool?

I am just starting out with my tech cam shifts and wondered if there is something better than photoshops auto stitcher?


Well-known member
1. Lightroom works well
2. PtuGUI is good
3. Microsoft ICE (free)

I've used all three but rarely ever need anything other than Lightroom. I'm sure Photoshop is as good or better. Where these all fall down, in my experience, is when you ask them to stitch regions that don't have enough detail to allow the software to figure out what goes where. That's rare with standard flat stitching (one image left, one image centre, one image right). It was more common when I was flat stitching a whole bunch of images in a matrix layout of rows and columns.

Massive Si

Active member
thanks, my current workflow is Capture One and Photoshop, so adding lightroom seems overkill. I will check them each out though


Active member
For shifted images you really don't need very special software, especially if you already applied lens corrections, Photoshop should have no problem. If you have to batch process them it might differ slightly and you would need to do some testing which works best and fastest with your computer.


Well-known member
As noted by others here, Photoshop works fine for flat-stitching - i.e., stitching images made by shifting the back. I routinely stitch two images shifted +/- 20mm horizontally. Helicon Focus has bailed me out on the rare occasions that PS failed (generally where there was minimal overlap between the source images) - I suppose taking a third, unshifted shot can help bridge the gap but when the light is changing quickly this isn't always an option.



Active member
Ditto on Photoshop for flat-stitched images, either 'Reposition' or 'Perspective' alignment modes. I use PTGui for problem images (usually where I messed something up shooting).
Either PTGui or Photoshop for me. Although Photoshop works most of the time, I find that PTGui does a better job at times. Since I haven’t quite figured out when, in general I try PS first and if I don’t get a good result I then try PTGui.


Well-known member
Another vote for Photoshop. I frequently do flat stitching from the technical camera through Photoshop using "Reposition" layout, which does not transform any of the source layers/images. When making horizontal panoramas, I always shift the back as far as the camera will allow, then crop after the images are blended. Shifting less just duplicates the overlap and gives you less of the original scene to work with. On a 54x40 sensor and +- 20mm, there is a little less than 14mm of overlap, or 25% of the frame. I find that to be plenty for Photoshop to almost always recognize and apply the correct positioning of the two images. The only exception is some ocean/water scenes where there is both wave action and significant cloud movement between the two images. On the rare occasion Photoshop cannot align the images, it is relatively easy to do it manually since there is only one primary dimension to worry about. I just zoom in to the layer interface and bring one of the layers over in small increments using the keyboard arrow keys.

You have to be a little more careful when horizontal stitching with the back vertical. At 18mm, I find the 4mm of overlap (10% of the sensor) to be enough in a static scene, but Photoshop will struggle if there are moving clouds or water. Again, they can be manually aligned relatively easily. There may be some necessary cloud repair with Content Aware Fill after the images have blended. At 20mm+-, there isn't any overlap in this orientation so you really do have to take a third image on-center. Again, that is on a 54x40 sensor.

Assuming you are using Capture One on the raw images (or Phocus), I apply LCCs and all other global corrections before they are blended. The joint is near the lens optical center, so you can usually get away without LCCs even if there is significant vignetting. Obviously that is lens-dependent.

I often apply a slight graduated mask across the sky before blending if the sky needs to be darkened. However, that mask needs to be copied and aligned across to both images in order to eliminate brightness differences between the two files; you cannot be too heavy handed prior to blending since the skyline is usually not linear across both images.



Sr. Administrator
Staff member
PS works well. Autopano Giga used to be excellent, but I haven’t used it in years.

Ed Hurst

Well-known member
PS has certainly improved a lot and works well in most normal cases. But i do use PTGui. For me, it's the gold standard of stitching software. It gives you a lot more control over how it works, projections, control points, etc.. I also find its ability to create a template, then apply that to other sets of files, to be very powerful when I have bracketed a pano sequence of files and want to create identical stitches of the differently exposed files. PS will work out how to stitch each set of files separately and thus differently, leading to anomalies when you come to layer them together. PTGui allows you to ensure they're stitched identically, making them line up perfectly when layered. If you don't do that, then it's irrelevant of course! :)
Good luck!