First attempt @ stacked focus

Discussion in 'Photography Beginners' Forum' started by Ron Evers, Mar 14, 2010.

  1. Ron Evers

    Ron Evers Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    The pic below is a composite of three frames:
    1. Focus on bud @ rear,
    2. Focus on flower centre,
    3. Focus on edge of near petal.

    I used free download "Combine ZM" & it took me over an hour to figure the damn thing out.


    [​IMG]


    Not sure I am pleased with the result, it looks odd somehow.
     
  2. The Shoe

    The Shoe TPF Noob!

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    Hmm... I don't know, looks a pretty pretty good to me.

    Does seem like there's a bit of a halo around parts of the petals. Maybe fringe is a better word?
     
  3. Aayria

    Aayria TPF Noob!

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    What I like most about this photo is how you really managed to show the nice velvety texture of the petals. I agree though, there is something that my eye doesn't like in this shot, and I can't place my finger on it. Maybe somebody with more experience will figure it out.
     
  4. Olympus E300

    Olympus E300 TPF Noob!

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    I like it but could it be a slight touch over exposed perhaps? There also appears to be a slight blurr to the image possibly due to miss-alignment? This is pronounced on the red petal just left of center. The edge of the petal is "shadowed" (is that the correct term for it)...
     
  5. Ron Evers

    Ron Evers Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    How could that be, the exposures were only 1.6 seconds long. :D I agree it looks over exposed.

    The individual shots are sharper than the composite, maybe that is what is bugging me. So you can see for yourselves, here is the first shot of the bud in focus.


    [​IMG]


    My impression is that the merging gives a softer composite than the parts of the whole.
     
  6. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Welcome to the complicated and frustrating world of macro stacking :)

    I do agree something appears to be off with your stack as I can clearly see some halo effect going on as well as overexposure; a few things might help/be responcible:

    1) Overexposure - you have to be really carefull with stacking as it can blow out composit images where the separate images are infact not overexposed, but very close to it. Also you have to avoid clipping in the colour channels and I suspect this is what has happened here. If you can view a histogram of the image and have it show each colour channel (red, blue and green) I suspect you will see a few hotspots (on teh rear bud) as well as quite a bit of the red channel clipping the right hand side of the graph. If you tone this back in editing the image (remember if you adjust the whitebalance do the same for all 3 images - infact try to keep all editing before you merge the same).

    2) Blur and the odd halo - afew things here:
    2a) image order and focus. Double check that the series of images you captured cover the whole desired focus of the image and that between each shot there is some overlap to the previous shot (the more overlap the better).

    2b) when you import the images into combineZM make sure that you import them in order - front to back or back to front - but they have to go in order. If one image is not in order the merging software will get confused.

    for refrence with the program this is my general order of use :
    Open Combine ZP
    From the little bubble window that appears select the "Enable menu" control (second icon on the right)
    Go to "File" then "New" and select the desired images in order (remember order must be kept)
    Once the images are imported go to "Macro" then "Align and balance used frames (thorough)"
    Then once that process is complete "macro" then "Do stack"

    If the stack fails to work you can try experimenting with do "All methods" which will create and save a folder in the source of where you got the images for the stack from containing stacking results from all the stack process it has. This might take some time.
     
  7. Ron Evers

    Ron Evers Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Thanks, I assume ZP is a mistype. Furthermore, I do not get "From the little bubble window that appears select the "Enable menu" control (second icon on the right)" when I open the program. I get two windows: "CombineZM" & "CombineZM Progress". It is all very confusing to me not being a computer type.
     
  8. HannahRebekah

    HannahRebekah TPF Noob!

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    Perhaps overexposed, but I think definitely oversaturated. The whole thing almost glows from a combination of the two. Other than that and maybe a little centering issue, it looks great IMO.
     
  9. Ron Evers

    Ron Evers Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Perhaps so but I did not mess with the saturation. I was not concerned with composition but trying to get three focal points for merging in this first attempt.
     
  10. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Ahh sorry Ron - It's not a misstype ZP is the "new" version of ZM (far as I can tell). So yes you have a slightly different setup.

    Ignor the progress bar it just shows you what is going on with the program in the background. Instead there should be a menu bar on the main page, File, macro, view etc.... Just open up the images in "New" as I said above and then once they are loaded just go to "Do Stack". I belive ZM does all the alignment and such during this process as well.
    You might find ZP worth upgrading to as (I found it) its slightly faster in processing and there is also a helpfull help window that opens when you start it up.

    http://www.hadleyweb.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/CZP/files.htm
    download the first link on that page (the CombineZP.msi installation package on the very first line) and install. Don't worry about the rest of the contents - they are the components of the file and since some get updated you can download and swap them in yourself or just download the installation package and reinstall

    edit - since you have only 3 frames would you mind uploading the other two? I could have a try my end (even though websized images are not the best to work with I might find something)
     
  11. Ron Evers

    Ron Evers Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    Here you go Overread, have fun.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]


    These are off the camera RAW converted to jpeg & downsized only.
     
  12. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Well first thing is first I check the levels/histogram for the shots - if you look at the red channel it is very much blown out (easily done with flowers - I find yellows blow out very easily). It's slightly different to overexposing with light in that you still have details, but that the red colour is just far too strong. You can pull that back a bit if you lower the saturation of the reds or fiddle around with the white balance settings in the RAW editor.

    Then it came to the image, and using both ZP and ZM I got the same halo and errors as in your first shot. I took a closer look and I think the problem is the first frame. The problem being that it has little to no overlap in sharp areas with the second frame (whilst if you compare frame 2 and 3 there is quite good overlap of the two areas).
    Note I also resized the 1st frame (only editing done outside of combine) since its a difference size than the other two.

    Removing the first shot I was able to get this:

    [​IMG]
    Done using ZP and with no changes to the original files

    I think part of the problem is possibly how you shot this - you took 3 shots with different focus points (using af?) and then tried to merge the three. Myself I would shift into manual focus for this type of work - keep the focus fixed and move the camera a little bit closer for each shot. You might end up with more frames this way, but more is better than less.
     

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