Author Topic: Focus stacking, software, how to do and results  (Read 473 times)

Bent Hjarbo

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Focus stacking, software, how to do and results
« on: November 11, 2018, 19:06:07 »
Michael Erlewine have inspired me to do some close-up with focus stacking.
The idea of the thread is the we can discus how to do it and show images made with focus stacking.
I will start with 2 pictures, they ar both processed in PhotoShop, the first one straight from the application.
The second one was done so I had the original layers (45) to make adjustments to improve the result.
The picture may not have great artistic value, but was make for practice.
Comments and input are welcome.

Birna Rørslett

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Re: Focus stacking, software, how to do and results
« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2018, 19:42:17 »
How was the actual image stack acquired? Moving camera, refocusing, ..., ??

You might consider using a dedicated program such as Zerene Stacker or Helicon Focus. There are free alternatives for the Linux universe, too.

Bent Hjarbo

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Re: Focus stacking, software, how to do and results
« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2018, 19:46:51 »
The image was made by moving the camera, not the front standard. Using the PB-4 bellows and the dedicated 105mm.

Birna Rørslett

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Re: Focus stacking, software, how to do and results
« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2018, 20:06:15 »
Manually moving the camera with precision is not an easy task. Plus, the intervals might not be evenly spaced. However, when magnification is moderate the final result might be fine.

I suggest you download and run a trial version of one of the stacking programs to see what the software can do for you. Manipulating 45 layers in Photoshop is a formidable challenge I'd imagine.

Seapy

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Re: Focus stacking, software, how to do and results
« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2018, 21:00:06 »
This is a question on the tip of my tongue, I am considering a close up, macro lens, the Laowa 25mm F2.8 2.5-5x Ultra Macro Lens.

https://www.ukdigital.co.uk/laowa-25mm-f28-25-5x-ultra-macro-lens-nikon.html?utm_source=googleshopping&gclid=EAIaIQobChMI8q7qpOjA3gIVysqyCh1wRwFDEAQYASABEgKi6fD_BwE

I think a couple of NG members have this lens, given the extremely thin DoF, focus stacking is almost obligatory.  I would be interested in comments about the Laowa Ultra Macro Lens, perhaps in another thread.

While I can see some justification, my take on using focus stacking for a single largish flower or bunch of flowers is that the bokeh sometimes enhances the image, a fully stacked image is more akin to an artists impression, beautiful as the images may be, sometimes they seem almost too perfect.

That said I have focus stacked Magnolia trees where whole branches of flowers have been re-focused and blended together without moving the camera because in my idea moving the camera changes the image perspective, I am talking about a couple of feet difference for each branch.  Moving the camera forward a couple of feet would completely change the image, whereas re-focusing, the change is minimal and with hand blending it can be adjusted.
Robert C. P.
South Cumbria, UK

Bent Hjarbo

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Re: Focus stacking, software, how to do and results
« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2018, 21:02:17 »
Yes the task takes time both a coffeebreak and sometimes even lunch :)
I can see that both software packages is full functionality for 30 days, so will try them, was my original idea.

CS

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Re: Focus stacking, software, how to do and results
« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2018, 23:46:19 »

While I can see some justification, my take on using focus stacking for a single largish flower or bunch of flowers is that the bokeh sometimes enhances the image, a fully stacked image is more akin to an artists impression, beautiful as the images may be, sometimes they seem almost too perfect

Precisely my issue with a great many focus stacked images. Of course my particular artistic values were never part of the consideration in their creation, nor should they have been. This site houses mountains of images that absolutely please me to no end, but, some folks like anchovies while others don't.  ;)
Carl

Bent Hjarbo

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Re: Focus stacking, software, how to do and results
« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2018, 14:43:07 »
I have downloaded both HeliconFocus and ZereneStacker.
Tested the Helicon first, and as ZereneStacker don't work with RAW files, it is not going into my workflow, don't want to make TIFF files of all files.
The result strait out of HeliconFocus is promising, see the image. Made with default settings (B,Radius8,Smoothing4).

Birna Rørslett

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Re: Focus stacking, software, how to do and results
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2018, 14:55:49 »
There is an inherent advantage of getting the input to these stacking programs as perfect for the purpose as possible. I use an SSD  scratch disk to hold the TIFs while running Zerene.

Bent Hjarbo

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Re: Focus stacking, software, how to do and results
« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2018, 15:02:09 »
I may give ZereneStacker a try.
I was impressed by the very quick loading and rendering done by HeliconFocus.

Bent Hjarbo

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Re: Focus stacking, software, how to do and results
« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2018, 15:33:45 »
I have now given ZereneStacker a try.
Less contrast in the default image, can be corrected, but also less sharp on the from of the flower!
It was fast as HeliconFocus, had to make TIFFs from LightRoom.

Bent Hjarbo

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Re: Focus stacking, software, how to do and results
« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2018, 17:32:12 »
Now that I have the trial period on the HeliconFocus, it must be used.
Training on a fly form the summer, was saving it for this purpose ;)
I am inspired by the images made by Levon Biss to Oxford University. Some of the insects was collected by Charles Darwin, so they can be stored for long time ;)
I have a long way to go before I am as skilled.
I used 2 105mm F4, one normal and one bellows stacked using the K3 ring.

Michael Erlewine

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Re: Focus stacking, software, how to do and results
« Reply #12 on: November 13, 2018, 19:42:25 »
IMO, the only thing to consider is what works best, no matter how inconvenient it may be to me. I have tried all of the software, but not all of it lately. Photoshop was among the worst, but they may have improved. Zerene Stacker is the best for my work because of its retouching abilities, and the ability to lighten up photos while retouching so I can see clearly, but not affect the original. You have to know how to use the software. With Zerene Stacker, we work DMap for color and retouch with PMax for detail. Retouching is an art, IMO. And as far as focus stacking, you have to do it a lot. I have done many hundreds of thousands of images, including the layers. And last of all, for my work it is all about lenses and APO lenses at that, the finer, the better. Everyone will find their methods. These are mine.

Nikon D850 and SCHNEIDER KREUZNACH MACRO VARON 4.5/85mm
MichaelErlewine.smugmug.com. Founder MacroStop.com, MichaelErlewine.com (articles), https://www.youtube.com/user/merlewine (video tutorials), All-Music Guide, All-Movie Guide, Classic Posters.com, Matrix Software, SpiritGrooves.net, DharmaGrooves.com

Bent Hjarbo

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Re: Focus stacking, software, how to do and results
« Reply #13 on: November 13, 2018, 20:21:32 »
Thank you Michael for the heads up.
From what I have experienced now Photoshop is still the worst, and the slowest.
I certainly know that I have a lot to learn  ;)