If I drag-and-drop one layer on top of another, how can I make sure they are perfectly aligned? Do I need to use the "shift" key while dragging and dropping?
These are several RAW images of the same subject, each one shot at a different exposure. I am doing "hand" HDR processing using layers and layer/masks. After bringing each image into Elements from ACR, I then turn each image into a layer by using layer>new>layer from background. Once that is done, I drag/drop one layer onto another and use the brush tool. Then drag/drop another layer..etc etc. Even though these images are all shot on a tripod, there is always the risk of movement, and I'm looking for a way to make certain they are aligned. In CS5, I would hold down the "shift" key while dragging and dropping, and this will "auto-align" the layers perfectly. I would like to know if this is possible in Elements 9.
The same thing works for photoshop elements.
If you want to make sure of the alignment, change the blend mode to difference after you drag and drop the photo.
If the image on the screen is solid black then it's perfect, if you see colors then the alignment is off where ever you see the colors.
Instead of dragging and dropping each image you could just use the place command. (File>Place)
I did not find the Shift key to auto align images in Photoshop elements 10 and there is not Edit > Auto Align so I started to get frustrated. Then I remembered that when you create a panorama it aligns all the layers for you and keeps them as layers!!...unlike the scene cleaner and other automated tools that were included.
So your answer. Do New > Photomerge Panorama. You'll notice that it masks out pretty much 100% of your other photos but you can remove some of the mask and see that your photos are aligned. You might need to adjust the position of one of photos slightly but it gets you pretty dang close if not perfect on the first shot.
Hope that helps!