I've been doing a number of panoramas of a flat barren landscapes lately, but I have been running into issues with a wavy horizon. I can remedy this to a certain degree in Photoshop with cloning but surely there must be a better way to fix the geometry/projection. I love the convenience of doing panoramas in Lightroom and getting a DNG output to work with afterwards. Is there a way by means of a plugin or otherwise to correct this in Lightroom itself? If not, please recommend efficient Photoshop methods. enter image description here

  • @MichaelClark Except that question already assumes parallax error, given the way the member images were shot.
    – inkista
    Feb 27 '16 at 19:55
  • At those distances the parallax error on the horizon is negligible when moving all the way from one side of that fire tower to the other. The problem on both questions is not keeping the camera level.
    – Michael C
    Feb 27 '16 at 23:02

Check that your camera is level in pitch and roll.

These types of issues happen when you shift the orientation/location of the camera between shots. The bumps typically happen at the seams between member images, and the changed orientation caused misalignment.

Do not rely on a level on a tripod, especially if you're using a ballhead, as that typically only tells you if the legs are level. A 3-axis hotshoe spirit level can come in handy for this. You may also want to do a little research into rotating around the no-parallax point of your lens, but with this kind of scene, that's unlikely to be the problem.

Suck it up. Don't use Photoshop or Lightroom to stitch.

Use a real panorama stitching package, such as Hugin or PTGui. The reason for this is that Photoshop's photomerge, while a good basic panostitcher, doesn't give you a whole lot of control to correct stitching errors like this. Specialized panorama stitchers do. Both Hugin and PTGui can let you set individual image parameters for pitch and roll.

Both Hugin and PTGui also have "preview" modes, where you can drag to correct horizons. Dragging vertically corrects for pitch, dragging horizontally corrects for yaw, and right-dragging corrects for roll. This is a very fast and convenient way to correct for bowed or s-horizons in stitched panoramas. And you can also correct for mismatched control points, as well as mask specific portions of member images, to achieve smoother seams when parallax error interferes with a clean stitch.

See also:

  • +many for using dedicated stitching software. I started using Hugin after somebody's recommendation here (maybe yours!) and the comparison between that and the Canon software I'd been using before that was like, er, going from a bad thing to a really good thing. Feb 27 '16 at 19:51
  • Thanks, I downloaded Hugin and it does not support dng files and that's a deal breaker for me. I will get a trial of PTGui which does support dng and see how that goes. $90 seems a fair price. I would certainly like to have a more advanced sofware for doing night panoramas as those are stacked and require usually more than 15 images. Feb 28 '16 at 15:10
  • @Jakub, Yeah, PTGui does RAW formats. They have a tutorial on creating HDR/exposure fused panos. For me, PTGui's patching tool and viewpoint correction make it well worth the price, but I stitch 360ºx180º panos.
    – inkista
    Feb 28 '16 at 16:42

Are you using LR CC? Have you tried boundary warp?


I think the wavy lines are caused by distortion from your lens before the photos are stitched. Do you apply lens corrections to the images before stitching in LR?

  • Looks interesting but is this an effective tool for the horizon problem? I don't much care about the boundary although it would be nice not to have to use photoshop for that. Feb 27 '16 at 15:34
  • @Jakub I have edited my OP.
    – user15163
    Feb 27 '16 at 15:37
  • i didn't correct distortion, good point. i didn't think it was necessary since i took this with a 50mm prime so there isn't that much distortion. Still, i went back and corrected distortion using the lens profile and re-built the pano. Much better but still some issues. Feb 27 '16 at 15:45

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