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Making Lightroom Panos and HDRs From Just The Smart Previews

OK, this didn’t get much attention in last week’s Lightroom CC update, but I think it’s actually pretty significant, and that’s the ability to create Panos and HDR images using just the Smart Preview (without having to have the linked original file).

Previously, if you didn’t have the original, both Panos and HDR were grayed out in the menu, but there’s enough resolution in those smart previews to actually make decent images, and now you can. Take a look:


Above: Here are the thumbnail for a pano, and you can see (over in the Histogram panel, and in the thumbnail badges themselves, both circled in red above), these are just the Smart Previews — the originals are not available. Select all and go under the Photo menu; under Photo Merge, and choose Panorama.


Above: This little warning dialog will appear letting you know you’re only working with the Smart Previews (and not the high resolution originals). Click the Proceed button.


Above: It brings up the Panorama Merge Preview window just like always (shown above), and here I used the incredibly awesome Boundary Warp feature to fill the gaps around the edges of the image (rather than cropping them away).


Above: The resulting pano is more than 21-inches long at a resolution of 240 ppi, all made from the Smart Previews.

A high-five and a big thanks to the engineering wizards at Adobe for making this happen. 🙂