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I have a set of photos that I would like to stitch together into a panorama in Photoshop. One of the photos contains a fast moving subject (birds) that I would like to preserve. How can I force Photoshop to preserve this detail and not swap it with an overlapping portion of a different image?

Photoshop seems to blend layers by cutting them along special seams (using layer masks) and then adjusting the masked portion of each image to ensure the tone transitions are smooth. An obvious sounding solution would be to manually edit the layer masks and manually reveal the birds. The problem is that with this I destroy the smooth blending of the pictures: Photoshop seems to have adjusted only those parts of the images that are not masked out, introducing a sharp transition along the seam.

See here what happens when I start to manually alter the layer (using a paint brush) to reveal parts of a layer:

Smooth blending destroyed

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I finally found a solution which is embarrassingly easy, but it has not occurred to me before.

Perform the auto-align and auto-blend steps separately. After the auto-align step, simply wield the eraser tools and delete the offending parts of the layer that could cover important content. Finally, execute the auto-blend command.

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