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Thread: Question for Rob...

  1. #1

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    Mary... or Lucy... either is fine with me. ;)

    Question for Rob...

    Stacking... Don't laugh at my question... okay... laugh, but privately.

    I was looking at your botanical images today. I know that you use stacking. Is it just in my mind, because I am picturing the layers stacked one on top of the other in my head... or does the stacking actually give depth (thickness) to the petals of flowers etc.?

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    Re: Question for Rob...

    Quote Originally Posted by ilovelucydog View Post
    Stacking... Don't laugh at my question... okay... laugh, but privately.

    I was looking at your botanical images today. I know that you use stacking. Is it just in my mind, because I am picturing the layers stacked one on top of the other in my head... or does the stacking actually give depth (thickness) to the petals of flowers etc.?
    Focus stacking......................shooting with a larger aperture and getting the depth of field of a small aperture. Can i laugh too?

  3. #3

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    Re: Question for Rob...

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    Focus stacking......................shooting with a larger aperture and getting the depth of field of a small aperture. Can i laugh too?
    No. I said no public laughing.

  4. #4

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    Re: Question for Rob...

    Are we laughing at Rob, cause if we are count me in....... Rufus too....

  5. #5

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    Mary... or Lucy... either is fine with me. ;)

    Re: Question for Rob...

    No... not laughing at Rob. This is a completely serious question for Rob.

  6. #6
    rob marshall

    Re: Question for Rob...

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    Focus stacking......................shooting with a larger aperture and getting the depth of field of a small aperture. Can i laugh too?
    Oooo!, you little cow, you. I'm putting you on my ignore list.

  7. #7
    rob marshall

    Re: Question for Rob...

    Quote Originally Posted by ilovelucydog View Post
    No... not laughing at Rob. This is a completely serious question for Rob.
    How long have you been here, Mary. Don't you know yet - I don't do serious.

    To be serious... No, it doesn't give thickness, it just takes the most in-focus part of each shot in the sequence and uses that in the final composite image. In fact, technically speaking, I suppose it may even make the image look flatter in some respects, as the fading DOF in a normal flower shot may appear to give more dimension front to back. It's all a matter of taste I suppose. Horses for courses and all that. What do others think?

    I think this is the one you were referring to?

    Question for Rob...

    In comparison to one with more depth of field?

    Question for Rob...

  8. #8

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    Re: Question for Rob...

    What I think you are talking about, Mary, is taking a number of photos with slightly different focus points then combining them, as separate layers, into one image which has a staggering amount of focus depth.

    Quite a tricky method to get correct and you can't have any movement in your subject or camera. So it doesn't usually work well for outside wildlife/flower photos. Although I have sometimes managed to combine a couple of shots.

    Some people who use this method have a tripod with a slide adjustment for the camera mount which means that they can very precisely control the focus over a number of shots.

    There are a number of specialist editing programmes for combining these images and automatically stacking the layers then just using the sharpest areas from each layer.

    I have tried a couple of them but didn't get much success. One wasn't compatable with my computer and Helicon Focus, which is popular although rather expensive, produced excessively sharpened results. But I think most of my troubles were from using the auto control instead of making careful manual adjustments to the settings.

    Creating a number of layers and processing them into one final image does take quite a lot of computer power but some people do get very good results.

    I now see that Rob was typing an answer at exactly the same time as me.

  9. #9

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    Re: Question for Rob...

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post
    How long have you been here, Mary. Don't you know yet - I don't do serious.

    To be serious... No, it doesn't give thickness, it just takes the most in-focus part of each shot in the sequence and uses that in the final composite image. In fact, technically speaking, I suppose it may even make the image look flatter in some respects, as the fading DOF in a normal flower shot may appear to give more dimension front to back. It's all a matter of taste I suppose. Horses for courses and all that. What do others think?

    I think this is the one you were referring to?

    Question for Rob...

    In comparison to one with more depth of field?

    Question for Rob...
    Sigh... I still can't tell when you are serious and when you are not... others I can read pretty well... you... not so much.

    Thank you, Rob. Yes, that was the one. I guess it is just my mind perceiving something that is not there...
    Last edited by ilovelucydog; 21st June 2011 at 10:17 AM.

  10. #10

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    Mary... or Lucy... either is fine with me. ;)

    Re: Question for Rob...

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff F View Post
    What I think you are talking about, Mary, is taking a number of photos with slightly different focus points then combining them, as separate layers, into one image which has a staggering amount of focus depth.

    Quite a tricky method to get correct and you can't have any movement in your subject or camera. So it doesn't usually work well for outside wildlife/flower photos. Although I have sometimes managed to combine a couple of shots.

    Some people who use this method have a tripod with a slide adjustment for the camera mount which means that they can very precisely control the focus over a number of shots.

    There are a number of specialist editing programmes for combining these images and automatically stacking the layers then just using the sharpest areas from each layer.

    I have tried a couple of them but didn't get much success. One wasn't compatable with my computer and Helicon Focus, which is popular although rather expensive, produced excessively sharpened results. But I think most of my troubles were from using the auto control instead of making careful manual adjustments to the settings.

    Creating a number of layers and processing them into one final image does take quite a lot of computer power but some people do get very good results.

    I now see that Rob was typing an answer at exactly the same time as me.
    Thank you, Geoff. I know Rob's process. But for some reason... even though I understand and use CS5... my mind is picturing the layers stacking on top of each other like pieces of paper and the petals slowly getting thicker and thicker... I don't get enough sleep... obviously.

  11. #11

    Re: Question for Rob...

    Mary I understand what you are asking (I think) the petals do not get thicker (darker, more intense,lose detail) because the oof bits are discarded - made transparent if you like. In fact if you think of each layer as a transparency it is rather like scratching the emulsion off of the bits that are out of focus and leaving the bits that are in focus. Provided you take enough shots with the point of focus at a slightly different depths (and the DoF is shallow) when you stack the transparencies you should end up with the full picture with everything in focus. Obviously the software algorithms that simulate this effect are far more complex than that but I believe what I have described is broadly the principle. i find it all rather clinical but I cannot dispute the effect of the end product or the level of skill that is required to get the results Rob does - don't worry Rob I will insult you in another thread

  12. #12

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    Re: Question for Rob...

    Quote Originally Posted by Wirefox View Post
    Mary I understand what you are asking (I think) the petals do not get thicker (darker, more intense,lose detail) because the oof bits are discarded - made transparent if you like. In fact if you think of each layer as a transparency it is rather like scratching the emulsion off of the bits that are out of focus and leaving the bits that are in focus. Provided you take enough shots with the point of focus at a slightly different depths (and the DoF is shallow) when you stack the transparencies you should end up with the full picture with everything in focus. Obviously the software algorithms that simulate this effect are far more complex than that but I believe what I have described is broadly the principle. i find it all rather clinical but I cannot dispute the effect of the end product or the level of skill that is required to get the results Rob does - don't worry Rob I will insult you in another thread
    Thank you, Steve. That makes a lot of sense... even to my brain... that runs on very little sleep. There needs to be a sleeping smiley.

  13. #13
    rob marshall

    Re: Question for Rob...

    Quote Originally Posted by ilovelucydog View Post
    Sigh... I still can't tell when you are serious and when you are not... others I can read pretty well... you... not so much.
    It's easy, Mary. If I put smilies in my posts then I am acting the Muppet and not being serious. If there are no smilies, then things are very, very serious. (insert no-smilie smilie here)

    On the focus stacking - imagine you have 6 photos of the same flower with the same composition, with the same field of view. The only difference between the shots is that each one has a certain area that is more in focus than in the other five. You get a pair of scissors and cut out the best in-focus part from each shot. You then lay each in-focus layer down on the table, one on top of the other, which is probably where you are thinking of the extra 'thickness'. But then, as if by magic all the layers are collapsed into one using only the most in-focus bit from each. You end up with a single shot of the whole flower, but using the most in-focus area from each. Actually, one of the stacking programs - Helicon, actually does this and you can see the focus sections it has picked as it's processing. Does that help?

    No smilies there either.

  14. #14

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    Re: Question for Rob...

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post
    It's easy, Mary. If I put smilies in my posts then I am acting the Muppet and not being serious. If there are no smilies, then things are very, very serious. (insert no-smilie smilie here)

    On the focus stacking - imagine you have 6 photos of the same flower with the same composition, with the same field of view. The only difference between the shots is that each one has a certain area that is more in focus than in the other five. You get a pair of scissors and cut out the best in-focus part from each shot. You then lay each in-focus layer down on the table, one on top of the other, which is probably where you are thinking of the extra 'thickness'. But then, as if by magic all the layers are collapsed into one using only the most in-focus bit from each. You end up with a single shot of the whole flower, but using the most in-focus area from each. Actually, one of the stacking programs - Helicon, actually does this and you can see the focus sections it has picked as it's processing. Does that help?

    No smilies there either.
    Thank you, Rob. That makes sense... even the part on how to discern if you are serious or not serious.

    It really is amazing... at least to my mind. Your work is beautiful... thank you for sharing the 'hows' of what you do.

  15. #15
    rob marshall

    Re: Question for Rob...

    Quote Originally Posted by ilovelucydog View Post
    Your work is beautiful...
    Surely you meant to add "You are beautiful!" < smilies!

  16. #16

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    Re: Question for Rob...

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post
    Surely you meant to add "You are beautiful!" < smilies!
    I thought that's what I typed?

    Rob, you are beautiful!

  17. #17

    Re: Question for Rob...

    Quote Originally Posted by rob marshall View Post
    Surely you meant to add "You are beautiful!" < smilies!
    Woah! Kay,.... I remember you mentioning, once, that Rob had found his "inner smiley" and it struck me as funny. (How does one find his inner smiley?) Well, I don't know but, I think I see what you mean! (Deliberate non-use of smileys to make you all wonder what in the world I think abou THAT! ~HA! Although,... wow! It's hard not to use them!)

    I'm so glad that you asked this question, Mary! I've wondered about this. Thanks, Mr. F.W. and Rob for your explanations - that's exactly what I wondered. And, do these shots just look so "rich" because of the lighting and post processing? (I cannot believe what computer programs can do!)

  18. #18
    rob marshall

    Re: Question for Rob...

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    I remember you mentioning, once, that Rob had found his "inner smiley"
    I have two inner smilies, but I keep 'em apart to avoid a scandal...

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    And, do these shots just look so "rich" because of the lighting and post processing? (I cannot believe what computer programs can do!)
    Well, you had better think again, my dear - because they can.

    Original RAW out of camera and the edit from the other thread

    Question for Rob...
    Question for Rob...

  19. #19

    Re: Question for Rob...

    Oh. No. I'm tripping over my tongue, today - should have used the smileys!!! That came out in a .....er, curious way!

    The difference between the sooc and your presented photo is amazing - the detail, etc. - wow!

    I remember you making a comment about a link to a list of gorgeous floral photographs HERE. (Oh, gasp! That photo of yours is SO gorgeous!!! - all over again...) Anyway, that thread was about focus stacking, too, and you said,

    "Those are amazing shots in that link. But you have to remember they don't look like that in real life. There's a lot of Photoshop there."

    I've been thinking about that a lot and changing my ways! (Hopefully, the effect has been good!)

    So! All of that to say that I don't doubt that computer programs can do ever so much - my disbelief is, really, just amazement.

    btw, speaking of incredulity.... if I've said anything else bizarre, unthinking, etc., today, er, just ignore it, everyone....

  20. #20
    rob marshall

    Re: Question for Rob...

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    The difference between the sooc and your presented photo is amazing - the detail, etc. - wow!
    Katy

    You have to remember that a RAW shot is just that (it's not an acronym!). Most RAW shots look a bit rough when you first download them, which is probably what puts some people off RAW. But the detail is there, and so long as you have got as much right in camera as you could you should have no problem getting a much better finished product.

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    I remember you making a comment about a link to a list of gorgeous floral photographs HERE. (Oh, gasp! That photo of yours is SO gorgeous!!! - all over again...) Anyway, that thread was about focus stacking, too, and you said,

    "Those are amazing shots in that link. But you have to remember they don't look like that in real life. There's a lot of Photoshop there."

    I've been thinking about that a lot and changing my ways! (Hopefully, the effect has been good!)

    So! All of that to say that I don't doubt that computer programs can do ever so much - my disbelief is, really, just amazement.
    Assuming that you have a good composition and it's interesting and well focussed, if you get the exposure right (and by that I mean 'right' for the effect that you want, not some standardized 'right') in the camera and add to that some PP to enhance the exposure/contrast then it's pretty difficult not to end up with a good shot. When I look at a scene to shoot, I'm not thinking so much 'this is an attractive scene' , I'm thinking more 'what does the light look like, and how can it be improved'. The PP just improves what you have captured, and it can make a considerable difference, especially if you were constrained by poor lighting. So... get it as right as possible in camera, then use some well-honed PP skills to bring out the best in it. Simple!

    Quote Originally Posted by Katy Noelle View Post
    btw, speaking of incredulity.... if I've said anything else bizarre, unthinking, etc., today, er, just ignore it, everyone....
    But, Katy, that's one of the things we all love about you!

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