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Thread: focus stacking software

  1. #1

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    focus stacking software

    Hi all-I have been doing a bit of macro work and hear about focus stacking. What software do you feel is the best. That said I use Aperature 3 for post processing and I know alot of members use PS-any help?--m

  2. #2

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    Re: focus stacking software

    This site is a bit dated now, but it seems to reflect significant understanding of the enterprise: http://www.laurieknight.net/article/view/7 FWIW

  3. #3

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    Re: focus stacking software

    Hi Mary,

    I have used Helicon Focus 64 bit, together with Helicon Remote, for several years, and found it reliable and easy to use. The Helicon website is here: http://www.heliconsoft.com/heliconfocus.html

  4. #4
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: focus stacking software

    This is an excellent book on all sorts of multi shot techniques.

    http://www.amazon.com/Photographic-M...ds=multi+image

  5. #5
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    Re: focus stacking software

    I do a lot of focus stacking because I do a lot of flower macros. I now use only Zerene. It has two different stacking algorithms that behave somewhat differently, which is helpful. (It will do both at the same time if you want, so that you can compare.) It's quite fast. It's biggest advantage is that it has a retouching tool that allows you to paint from any image in the stack (or from a different stacked image) onto the composite image. This is very handy because stacking can produce halos, for example, if there is a large distance front-to-back between the surfaces creating an edge. It's main disadvantage is that it does not have a manual alignment option. I believe there is a free demo.

    Stacked with Zerene:

    focus stacking software

  6. #6

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    Re: focus stacking software

    Try CombineZM - free, program by photographer.

  7. #7

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    Re: focus stacking software

    One thing to remember about shooting for focus stacking, Mary, is that you need to shoot carefully to prevent any camera or subject movement.

    Which means careful adjustment of focus with the camera on a good tripod and no wind movement etc. So normally better used in controllable studio conditions than outside work.

    I find the layer alignment and auto blend in CS5 works OK for a few layers. But this ends up as an expensive option if you don't have, or want to get that software.

    Working with multiple layers can also need quite a bit of computer power.

    I was attempting to take some moth photos recently. Just two shots to be combined but although everything remained steady the moth twitched it's antennae so I can't get an auto stack/blend to work. However, I might get away with hand editing using a mask providing I can correctly align the layers.

    Some people actually prefer to hand blend aligned layers.

  8. #8
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    Re: focus stacking software

    Mary:

    One of the gurus in macro work is Lord V (you can Google him):

    http://photography-on-the.net/forum/...d.php?t=807056

    Although I would never do any stacking without a tripod, he apparently can do it.

    My personal approach (others may vary):

    1) I use Zerene which is very easy to use,

    2) I always use a tripod - this eliminates camera movement,

    3) I always use the camera's timer, and a remote release to avoid vibrations from the shutter and vibrations from manually focusing.

    4) I always use the viewfinder to focus (others prefer Live View).

    5) In light breezes I use a Plamp (plant clamp).
    http://www.tripodhead.com/products/plamp-main.cfm
    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ating_Arm.html

    6) In strong winds I do something else. My subjects are never indoors. http://www.naturescapes.net/portfoli....php?cat=24479

    7) I frequently take fifteen to twenty images - if you want to blend this many layers together, that's your choice.

    8) I use a fairly large aperture to blur the background (f/2.8 to f/4).

    9) I usually use a CPL - this removes glare - particularly from the background.

    10) I frequently use a diffuser to soften the light, but prefer to shoot at sunset or just after when there is no direct light and the wind is often lower.

    Glenn

  9. #9

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    Re: focus stacking software

    THANKS EVERYONE111 I've got alot of research to do. I knew that I could count on your help. It may be awhile before I can get any images back to you-- My internet is also down at home and being rural that may take longer to fix. Thanks again and as my brother always says-"Photography is a contact sport- so get out there and shoot".--happy shutters--m

  10. #10

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    Re: focus stacking software

    Quote Originally Posted by Vrgl View Post
    Thanks again and as my brother always says-"Photography is a contact sport- so get out there and shoot".
    Shouldn't that be, "Photography is a contact sport, so get out there and PRINT?"

  11. #11
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    Re: focus stacking software

    I have not received the copy of Photoshop CS6 that I recenty ordered but, in reviewing Internet writeups, apparently CS6 is capable of focus stacking....

  12. #12
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    Re: focus stacking software

    apparently CS6 is capable of focus stacking....
    CS5 had this capability. It's slow, it has only one algorithm, and there is no retouching tool per se, but it works. If you google, you will find youtube demonstrations of it.

  13. #13
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    Re: focus stacking software

    All if the focus stacking images I've posted at this site were done with Photoshop CS5. I have tested Zerene and when I pick up more focus stacking projects, will likely purchase this product. Although I have five Focus Stacking examples in the linked project, this is my favorite image: Project 52 by Frank Miller

  14. #14
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    Re: focus stacking software

    Super image Frank...

  15. #15
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    Re: focus stacking software

    Quote Originally Posted by rpcrowe View Post
    Super image Frank...
    Thanks Richard. I've had a lot of fun doing focus stacking and look forward to doing much more!

  16. #16
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: focus stacking software

    Quote Originally Posted by FrankMi View Post
    Thanks Richard. I've had a lot of fun doing focus stacking and look forward to doing much more!
    I am looking forward to playing with focus stacking...

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