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Thread: Adventures in Focus Stacking

  1. #17
    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    My most recent attempt....


    The first time I made it, i used 10 images in the stack.... I dropped that back to 5 and it looked better.
    (Helicon Focus)

    It seems the less images in the stack the less processing errors (common sense I guess), but you also have to have enough overlap to prevent banding.

    Too many and "ghosting" starts becoming an issue... and the more shallow the subject, the better the results it seems

    (I think this was 20 images @ f2.8 IIRC: http://bluegrasscarnivores.com/rose/rose4.jpg) definitely has some "ghosting"

    Reaper, try the free software I posted the link to.... but you've got to convert your images to tiff before it will load them.

    Butch
    Last edited by Av8tor1; 11-17-2011 at 05:23 AM.

  2. #18
    Kyle's Avatar
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    I did try that, Butch, but it was doing the same thing. At first, I was thrilled with it because it gave me good dew stacks (which Photoshop didn't like last time), but then I realized it was relatively buggy and no more effective than Photoshop (since, today, it handled dew just fine...). And if I'm going to use Photoshop anyway for the final touches, might as well do it all in Photoshop.

    I've been using JPEGs, actually, so I'm going to try RAW. I guess I'll find out if that works any better. And I'll try pushing the aperture to around f/16 so I can get fewer slices without banding.

    Experimentation FTW!

  3. #19
    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    I use raw with Helicon, works my poor laptop to death LOL
    Dont have CS5 to give it a try.... still got CS3 here

    I was reading the blog of one artist who does FS.... she said she will also groups stacks. She will make a foreground, midground and background stack and then stack those.

    But she also said sometimes you just gotta post process and put back in the areas that ghost, etc.

    Natalie, love the image btw.... very cool....
    Larry, yours are always stunning :P
    Last edited by Av8tor1; 11-17-2011 at 05:20 AM. Reason: add detail

  4. #20
    Sarracenia freak Brie's Avatar
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    Wow those dew shots are AMAZING dude.. Were those done in the other program or CS5?

    One suggestion I have for the utric shots, when reading up on focus stacking, I read in a few places that the photos need to be a good exposure(not too dark) and every picture needs to be exactly the same exposure, or else it confuses the program. Maybe thats the problem with the utric photo? Just not enough for it to go off of or something?

  5. #21
    Kyle's Avatar
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    @Butch: Huh, that sounds interesting. I never even considered the option of stacking stacks, lol. And, in Photoshop anyway (dunno about Helicon), you can go through and edit the masks on each layer to compensate for little things, sometimes bigger things like halos if you're somewhat experienced with Photoshop, but bigger things are probably more effort than they're worth. I dove into the masks on a couple and quickly got lost in them. It's kind of a weird concept to wrap your head around. And I've got around a decade of Photoshop experience. o.O

    @Brie: Graci. They were all done in Photoshop. Camera was on manual, so exposure and everything stayed the same. The idea to make sure it's well exposed is something I'll try out today. I'll even try overexposing it (not so much that it blows anything out, obviously, just enough to be like "huh, that doesn't look right," lol) and adjusting for that in Photoshop.

    One thing I should also note: I had a picture of just one of the flowers against the black background, and it REALLY didn't like that. It wouldn't even process it. Apparently because more than 60% of the image was black, Photoshop got all huffy about it. Said something about at least 40% of the image being something it can see, or else it can't decide where to auto-align. LOL.

    Whatevs, silly technology. I'm not sure, but I would venture to guess that the technology to digitally automatically stack images is fairly new, so hopefully things get better in the next few years. There's a lot of potential, for sure. But even the images that are coming out as pretty good for me are still not quite right. They seem to lose some clarity along the way. Which I can't exactly blame Photoshop for, that's GOT to be a ridiculously complex process.

  6. #22
    Kyle's Avatar
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    Here're today's trials:
    (Click for full size)







    I tried using higher apertures combine with fewer slices as well as shooting in RAW, and that seemed to help some. Don't know which of those alterations is the one that helped, or if it was all of them, but they seemed to go a bit smoother. Although I then ended up with banding. It truly is a fine science finding the right aperture:#slices ratio. Lol.

    I also tried the above coupled with longer exposures for the Utrics, and it still hated them. Who knows. Maybe if I ever get Helicon, I can find out if it handles such compositions any better.

  7. #23
    Devon's Avatar
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    Your pics are AMAZING! Keep em' coming!!

  8. #24
    Kyle's Avatar
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    Thanks, Devon. I'm sure I will keep experimenting with it... I'm determined to get these kinks hammered out. LOL.

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