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Thread: What tools to combine multiple images into one

  1. #1
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    What tools to combine multiple images into one

    Hi all

    I am new to post processing, and would like to accomplish the following thing:

    I have multiple shots, in RAW, made with a tripod, of a building at night that is lit by three colored floodlights. Each shot has the same exposure and is mostly well-lit in itself. The colors of the floodlights changed over time, so each shot has a different coloring, but usually only two or three colors.

    I would now like to combine several of my differently colored shots, to get a broader range of colors on that building.

    What tools are available to achieve that? I own Aperture which doesn't seem to be able to do it, and I got the Nik collection trial, which also does not seem to be able to do what I want. Due to the steep learning curve and price, I would like to avoid photoshop, if possible.

    Thanks in advance,
    Toby

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    Re: What tools to combine multiple images into one

    Toby,
    Are you trying to stitch images into a panorama?
    If so there are a number of free and paid for programs you can use, which a web search will identify. If you are on a windows operating system Microsoft ICE is a simple programme that can be downloaded and run for free and is simple to use and quite impressive. Hugin is another program, with quite a bit more functionality.

    James

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    Re: What tools to combine multiple images into one

    Hi James

    Thanks for the quick reply. I am not trying to create a panorama. I would like to layer the images and then selectively make the top few layers transparent at different regions, so that I can have lower layers "shine through".

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    Re: What tools to combine multiple images into one

    I think you have given the answer yourself--it seems to me that the obvious way to do this is with layers. You don't need photoshop for this. There are cheaper, smaller software packages that do it, such as Paint Shop Pro.

    Maybe someone else can suggest a way to do this without layers.

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    Re: What tools to combine multiple images into one

    From what I can gather they are all of the same building and you want to combine the lighting effects. If this is the case you could try using software that supports layers. Put each image on a different layer and set the layer blend property to either colour or lighten and play around with each layer's transparency or use layer masking. Sounds like a fun project if you have photoshop.

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    Re: What tools to combine multiple images into one

    Quote Originally Posted by DanK View Post
    I think you have given the answer yourself--it seems to me that the obvious way to do this is with layers. You don't need photoshop for this. There are cheaper, smaller software packages that do it, such as Paint Shop Pro.

    Maybe someone else can suggest a way to do this without layers.
    Or GIMP is free. and has layers.

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    Re: What tools to combine multiple images into one

    You need several things from your software, Toby. Whatever programme you get.

    The ability to auto align images on different layers then editable masks. None of this is particularly difficult for the right programme. But you also want inexpensive which limits the options.

    Does Gimp have auto align options? It can do the layers OK.

    Adobe Elements should be able to cope if you can find one of the later versions at a reasonable price.

    I have done this sort of work with Serif Photo Plus although the alignment didn't always work well for me in the older and cheaper versions, say X3 which should be available at a good price. The latest one which I think is X6 should work better but at a similar price to Elements.

    Adobe CS5 will do exactly what you want with no problems, except requiring a little skill, but there is a hefty price tag.

    I have done this sort of thing with manual alignment of the layers but I found it to be a bit of a struggle.

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    Re: What tools to combine multiple images into one

    Toby, I agree with the previous replies, this is a layers issue. I don't use aperture, but I would guess layer blending works in a similar way to PS. Apart from checking out how to blend layers you should also read about basic masking since you will probably want to control which part of each layer is allowed to interact with the ones below. As has been said earlier this will be an interesting challenge.

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    Re: What tools to combine multiple images into one

    If it's a "one off" I'd be quite happy to combine them in Photoshop for you -- should only take a couple of minutes.

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    Re: What tools to combine multiple images into one

    Toby: what you want to do is stack the images an then blend them together into one image. If you have Elements (9 to 11) or Photoshop you would open one image on to a layer, then go to file>place select the next image have it then place that image over top of the orginal image and keep doing this until all the images have been placed on their own layer above the orginal one. Sometimes thay do not always line up correctly so you have to nudge them alittle. Once done than using masks either reveal or cover over those areas that you want to see. As Geoff states it can be a bit of a struggle I myself you change the word bit for something more stronger.

    Cheers:

    Allan

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    Re: What tools to combine multiple images into one

    Quote Originally Posted by Polar01 View Post
    Sometimes thay do not always line up correctly so you have to nudge them alittle.
    They should do is snap is turned on [shift+ctrl+;]

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    Re: What tools to combine multiple images into one

    PSE11 is going for $63 at B&H now.

    http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/search...op+Nav-Search=

    I just bought a copy. Gimp is ok but the learning curve is pretty steep.

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    Re: What tools to combine multiple images into one

    OK, thanks everybody for all those helpful answers and hints. I will do the following:
    1) play around with gimp and see if I can manage what I need
    2) if gimp doesn't cut it, I'll ask a friend who is photoshop-savvy to help me and
    3) based on that help, I'll decide whether I need photoshop or not

    As it seems though, PSE11 won't help me, this page claims it doesn't support masking: http://www.adobe.com/en/products/pho...omparison.html

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    Re: What tools to combine multiple images into one

    Quote Originally Posted by Tman View Post
    OK, thanks everybody for all those helpful answers and hints. I will do the following:
    1) play around with gimp and see if I can manage what I need
    2) if gimp doesn't cut it, I'll ask a friend who is photoshop-savvy to help me and
    3) based on that help, I'll decide whether I need photoshop or not

    As it seems though, PSE11 won't help me, this page claims it doesn't support masking: http://www.adobe.com/en/products/pho...omparison.html
    this may help. http://www.photoshopelementsuser.com...y-layer-masks/

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