Advice for Focus Stacking

Wawe

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 27, 2014
Messages
36
Reaction score
0
Location
Finland
Website
www.tommiaarniophotography.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Hi,

I’m looking for advice for certain issues I’ve encountered in my attempts at focus stacking. Especially the manual retouching after the automatic part causes trouble.

First, I’ll briefly list my equipment. My relevant gear consists of a D800 body, AF-S VR Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED, Kenko automatic extension tube set (DG) and a Gitzo GT3542LOS tripod with RRS BH-55 ballhead. The software choice for me has been Photoshop CC & CC 2014. Yesterday after frustrating myself for hours with Photoshop I also downloaded the trial version of Zerene Stacker, but have naturally very little experience with it yet.

As for my shooting, I’ve been interested in macro photography for some time now but am fairly new to focus stacking. By stacking images, I wish to extend depth of field while avoiding extensive diffraction caused by tiny aperture. Other methods in addition to increasing the F-number are necessary, too, especially when moving really close to the subject such as when using the extension tube set I have.

However, when trying to stack images in Photoshop (CC & CC 2014), I’ve noticed that the end result is far from perfect, containing “spots” visibly out of focus. Apparently something has to be done to fix these imperfections manually, but presumably due to my very limited skills with Photoshop I can’t figure out a systematic way to do the work. Can anyone recommend some video tutorials or other material that would help?

Thanks in advance!
 

Overread

has a hat around here somewhere
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
25,373
Reaction score
4,943
Location
UK - England
Website
www.deviantart.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Can you show us a few examples of these shots and the spots you're getting which are a problem - there's a couple of sources for the problem and it would be best to see examples first .
 

Overread

has a hat around here somewhere
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
25,373
Reaction score
4,943
Location
UK - England
Website
www.deviantart.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
Also have a look at this and the comments I put below it :
Zerene 1 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

In addition here are some of the Combine ZP results
Pyramid Weighted Average a | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
regulara | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
regularb | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Pyramid Weighted Averageb | Flickr - Photo Sharing!


Remember I'm not saying one software option is the outright best; but that each one works slightly differently and as a result each one might give significantly different results to the same stack of photos. Considering the cost of stacking software next to the chances of fail/success I rank this as one of those occasions where its worth owning several options to work with.
 

480sparky

Chief Free Electron Relocator
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2011
Messages
24,921
Reaction score
8,883
Location
Iowa
Website
pixels.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
The 'spots that are visibly out of focus' are most likely due to not taking enough frames to cover the entire depth of the scene. In other words, the parts that are oof weren't recorded as being in focus in any of the images.
 
OP
Wawe

Wawe

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 27, 2014
Messages
36
Reaction score
0
Location
Finland
Website
www.tommiaarniophotography.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Can you show us a few examples of these shots and the spots you're getting which are a problem - there's a couple of sources for the problem and it would be best to see examples first .

Of course, I'll post an example as soon as I get home.
 
OP
Wawe

Wawe

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 27, 2014
Messages
36
Reaction score
0
Location
Finland
Website
www.tommiaarniophotography.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
Also have a look at this and the comments I put below it :
Zerene 1 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

In addition here are some of the Combine ZP results
Pyramid Weighted Average a | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
regulara | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
regularb | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
Pyramid Weighted Averageb | Flickr - Photo Sharing!


Remember I'm not saying one software option is the outright best; but that each one works slightly differently and as a result each one might give significantly different results to the same stack of photos. Considering the cost of stacking software next to the chances of fail/success I rank this as one of those occasions where its worth owning several options to work with.

Thanks for your input!

Have you noticed any patterns in what works best in certain situations? Say, is there a clear difference in how the stacking software options deal with noise, color etc? I didn't manage to find any comprehensive comparisons for the software choices and ended up first working with what I already have (Photoshop) and then trying out what seemed to have been recommended a lot (Zerene).
 
OP
Wawe

Wawe

TPF Noob!
Joined
Aug 27, 2014
Messages
36
Reaction score
0
Location
Finland
Website
www.tommiaarniophotography.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
The 'spots that are visibly out of focus' are most likely due to not taking enough frames to cover the entire depth of the scene. In other words, the parts that are oof weren't recorded as being in focus in any of the images.

Thanks!

However, I'm not sure that is the case here. Some of these spots that were out of focus in the end result of Photoshop were in focus in the end result of Zerene Stacker. The two appear to be doing the stacking very differently.

Also after doing some more research on the matter it seems to me that every focus stacking software produces these "errors" in most output images, depending on the input ones, of course. So some manual work appears to be needed in any case to enhance the end result.
 

Overread

has a hat around here somewhere
Staff member
Supporting Member
Joined
May 1, 2008
Messages
25,373
Reaction score
4,943
Location
UK - England
Website
www.deviantart.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I think I recall someone doing a study ages ago that identified some patterns of behaviour; however the general summary was that whilst there were patterns the patterns were such that you couldn't shoot with the patterns in mind. So you couldn't adjust your method to suit a specific software package.

So again it flipped around to learning to use several bits of software. Look into it - if you look at what I linked to the combine ZP had three or four different stacking codes to use and each one gave a marked different result.

Sometimes even leaving a frame of the series out of the setup can help so long as the frames before and after it cover that area of detail fully.
 

480sparky

Chief Free Electron Relocator
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2011
Messages
24,921
Reaction score
8,883
Location
Iowa
Website
pixels.com
Can others edit my Photos
Photos NOT OK to edit
..........Sometimes even leaving a frame of the series out of the setup can help so long as the frames before and after it cover that area of detail fully.

+1. I use this trick for stitching panoramics as well.
 

Most reactions

ClickASnap
Top