Focus Stacking


GlynM

Link Posted 29/03/2011 - 19:48
I have been inspired to try some focus stacking.

I have tried it before but found doing the processing by hand had lots of problems because, even with the DFA100 macro lens, the framing changes with a shift in focus setting.

I understand that Photoshop CS4, but not PSE, can sort this out for you. Only having PSE9 I did a quick hunt for a tool and found CombineZP which is a free download but only works with Windows.

CombineZP appears to be a bit clunky, gives you a choice of several different process methods (including all), required some post-processing cropping but with some care produced very reasonable results.

You can see one of my attempts in the gallery here.

This is a combination of 7 shots looking along one of our flower beds today after some light rain.

If you don't have CS4 and feel tempted I found CombineZP here.

Next I think I'm going to have to try some really close stuff

Glyn

GlynM

Link Posted 29/03/2011 - 21:09
Just so you can see how it was done here are some small versions of the original shots. Notice how the frame coverage gets a little bit wider with each shot:

Focus Point 1



Focus Point 2



Focus Point 3



Focus Point 4



Focus Point 5



Focus Point 6



Focus Point 7




Here is the combined result



Glyn

senn

Link Posted 29/03/2011 - 21:34
sublime .. thanks for this very enlightening and effective illustration
senn
my flickr gallery
my PPG

Mannesty

Link Posted 29/03/2011 - 23:37
That's an interesting use of the technique on a non-macro subject Glynn.

Good job, well executed.

I've used it to stack images of a macro subject and in that case, rather than change the lens focus, I move the whole camera + lens + ringlight on a macro slide rail. Some photographers even use a linear stage with micrometer adjusters to achieve very small but consistent steps.

Here's one I did of a wasp nest to show it's use in macro work, it's made up of 22 images stacked using CombineZM, the predecessor to CombineZP.



Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream

lemmy

Link Posted 29/03/2011 - 23:44
Very effective technique, works well on t hose pics.
lemmy
My Home Pages, Cartoons and Videos

karma mechanic

Link Posted 30/03/2011 - 07:58
I find it interesting that multiple exposures can be used very effectively to achieve greater depth of field, while over here I've been painstakingly going in the opposite direction to reduce the apparent depth of field by increasing the field of view.

Both techniques need patience and some very clever software. Where will it all end?
My own website is www.richardgaddphotography.com

Also on 500px

GlynM

Link Posted 30/03/2011 - 08:22
Mannesty wrote:
... Here's one I did of a wasp nest to show it's use in macro work, it's made up of 22 images stacked using CombineZM, the predecessor to CombineZP.

Peter, That is a fantastic image and definitely some inspiration for me to have go using stacking with close macro subjects.

Many thanks,

Glyn

GlynM

Link Posted 30/03/2011 - 08:47
karma mechanic wrote:
... I've been painstakingly going in the opposite direction to reduce the apparent depth of field by increasing the field of view.:

That is very interesting. I had not thought about going the other way. I have used stitching to create some huge landscape panoramas where of course I tried to keep each shot fully focused.

Your images look superb.

Many thanks,

Glyn

pentaxian450

Link Posted 30/03/2011 - 10:10
You can also try Helicon: http://www.heliconsoft.com/heliconfocus.html
Yves (another one of those crazy Canucks)

GlynM

Link Posted 30/03/2011 - 11:09
cardiff_gareth wrote:
I have CS4 but never seen the photo stacking option Will relook for it !!

I downloaded the CombineZP file though so either way it'll be covered !

One thing with photo stacking, I've sometimes wondered why, as when shooting a non macro scene, like the flower shot, then would a uber small aperture produce a simular result?

For macro where the DOF is so limited then I can see why you'd do it and the benefits

Not having CS4 it is not something I have tried but I found this explanation on how to use it here.

I think you are right for many non-macro applications reducing the aperture would probably be the easiest thing to do although probably some care is needed to avoid resolution issues.

However this would not have worked for my shot simply because of the distances involved. I did try, the day before, originally going to F22, which is as far I would normally go with the DFA100, but I still could not get the required DOF:




I could have probably got away with less shots to combine by going to, say, F16. I used 7 shots & F8 simply because there appeared to be 7 major blocks of flowers which the F8 DOF nicely bridged.

There is some terrific foreshortening going on in my stacked shot. From the flowers in the bottom left to those in the top right along the ground is just over 12 feet, two fence panels or 3.7m which you can see in this sideways shot that also shows how scraggy our flower beds really are :




Glyn
Last Edited by GlynM on 30/03/2011 - 11:43

nass

Link Posted 30/03/2011 - 11:14
I'm surprised that manufacturers don't offer focus stacking in camera
... just another middle-aged guy with a hobby. I have an extreme macro learning site at extreme-macro.co.uk - Pentax-centric, your feedback and comments would be appreciated!

karma mechanic

Link Posted 30/03/2011 - 12:03
Much neater than my garden, I'm a follower of the chaos approach.

I think that one day general-use cameras will just take what is effectively video, you'll wave it in the general direction of the scene (possibly while moving along) and it will sample loads of image data. Then the stored data will be used to generate images of the type you've selected, and the image parameters such as depth of field and point of view would be entirely generated by the software.

I guess by then the real enthusiasts will have plugin that produces a flat picture that looks like it was taken on a vintage K-5
My own website is www.richardgaddphotography.com

Also on 500px

nass

Link Posted 30/03/2011 - 13:14
^^ Hehehe funny =). Agreed!
... just another middle-aged guy with a hobby. I have an extreme macro learning site at extreme-macro.co.uk - Pentax-centric, your feedback and comments would be appreciated!

Mannesty

Link Posted 30/03/2011 - 15:28
nass wrote:
I'm surprised that manufacturers don't offer focus stacking in camera

I put it down as one for my wish list ages ago when somebody posted the question here.

It would be so easy to do in firmware, set your start and end focus points, enter the number of frames you want to divide that distance by, press go. Simples.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream

Mannesty

Link Posted 30/03/2011 - 16:03
cardiff_gareth wrote:
One thing with photo stacking, I've sometimes wondered why, as when shooting a non macro scene, like the flower shot, then would a uber small aperture produce a simular result?


I think you might get close to it Gareth, but my wasp nest example was a good 2 - 3cms in depth which would have needed a very small aperture, f32 or smaller, which is well outside the 'sweet spot' of f8 - f16 where most lenses produce their sharpest images.

Using a focussing rail or linear stage is not mandatory, I've seen many images that use this technique with hand held images.

I think a linear stage might be required for very tiny bugs like springtails for instance, but trying to keep 'em still is a whole new ball game.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream
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