Boundary Warp is a new feature in Lightroom Classic CC 2015.4, and if you subscribe to Adobe’s Photography Plan you may have downloaded this update without paying it much attention. But Boundary Warp adds a useful new function to Lightroom’s Panorama Merge feature that lets you keep more of the image area.
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Normally, the panorama stitching process creates ragged edges which you then have to crop off and lose. You can check a box to have Lightroom do this automatically.
The alternative to losing these areas is to use Adobe’s Content Aware Fill technology to fill in blank areas around the margins using nearby image data. This is slow, however, and doesn’t always give good results.
The Boundary Warp option offers third way. It doesn’t attempt to fill the blank areas around the margins of the picture but instead warps the image to ‘push’ it right out to the edges.
Here’s quick walkthrough to show how it works:
Step 01: Normal cropping
This is how you would create a panorama the old way, checking the ‘Auto Crop’ box so that Lightroom trims off the untidy edges of the picture.
Step 02: Why you need to crop
If you un-check this box you can see why you need the Auto Crop feature. Lightroom has to twist and distort the individual frames in the panorama to make the perspective work and the overlapping frames line up properly – and this is what causes the ragged edges.
Step 03: Boundary Warp applied
But if you push the new Boundary Warp slider up to maximum, the picture content is pushed right out to the edges. You do get the maximum possible image area, but there is a downside – the objects in the picture can become distorted. In reality, you’ll probably need to experiment to get the perfect balance between distortion and image area preservation.
Step 04: Before and after comparisons
From top to bottom, here is the regular cropped panorama, the uncrossed panorama and the uncropped version with the Boundary Warp applied.