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Merging files has been made extremely easy thanks to Adobe. They have created the automated ‘Photomerge’ action which allows you to quickly (and painlessly) merge edges/files without the fuss of doing this manually.
Gone are the days of manually cloning, healing, brushing away nasty seam lines. Photoshop now does this for you!
The only issue I have noticed is that you lose some information around the edges sometimes, so you need to crop it out. You will see what I mean once you try this a few times. If you have crucial information in your file/image around the edges, you may need to manually merge.
Today I am working with this fashion illustration for fashion label Dangerfield / Alannah Hill. Although simple, this two file merge will give you a clear idea of how to merge files using this technique. Hopefully this will help you cut out a lot of time from your editing process.
Instructions as follows:
1. Have your files ready in a folder. I always put my files in order to merge.
2. Select file menu, automate, photomerge.
3. Select all your files you wish to merge, select perspective, I use ‘Auto’ though you can play around with this and find
one that suits your images. Click okay
The merge itself takes some time. You may have an error message pop up saying it can’t merge the layers. This usually happens when the scans/files edges don’t meet properly. If that is the case I would rescan your artwork so you know the edges overlap when being merged. It gives Photoshop more to work with. If not, you will hopefully have an image pop up, like this:
You can see above that the edges are rough, so you will now need to crop these back.
This artwork was quite wavy, you can see this at the edges. Because of this wave in the paper, the centre has a merge line, it is faint though definitely needing removal. This is a great example of a faint merge line to look out for. They can sometimes be difficult to see on a monitor though very obvious when printed.
4. Flatten the layers. You can see in this screen shot, the layer masks show you the merge line. Using a brush, you can go in and edit the merge line using these masks.
So the Photomerge is really just a beginning point, from there you go in and smooth the merge line further and begin the reproduction process.
You can do this by using the heal or clone tools. If your background is white then you will most likely be stripping it back to white so you won't need to worry about it at this stage. Read our blog post on stripping a background to white below.
If you are happy with the merge, flatten these into one layer.
Here is the end result (after retouching). You can see in the close up image that the merge line is not visible and the entire image is seamless. We use this method a lot when helping our customers with their reproductions, we think it’s an amazing aspect of Photoshop’s automated menu.