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Subject: "focus stacking" Previous topic | Next topic
pasknucklehead Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Feb 2008Fri 17-May-13 02:58 AM
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"focus stacking"


creekside, US
          

Hi everyone, I'd like to try my hand at focus stacking to see if it is something that would be helpful with my style of photography...I just checked one of the post on here and it is saying that many of the forum members use this program. http://hadleyweb.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/CZM/News.htm I clicked on that, but for the life of me don't have a clue what to do or which one of the whole list to download.
Can anyone help me out? I'd really appreciate it..And can someone explain to me in layman's terms just what is focus stacking and how it works.
Thanks friends.

Darlene

  

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four eighty sparky Silver Member
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four eighty sparky Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Apr 2011Fri 17-May-13 04:13 AM
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#1. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 0
Fri 17-May-13 04:16 AM by four eighty sparky

US
          

Full Versions CombineZM.msi. You don't download it, you run the installation right from the link.

Then, you need a set of images where the focus point is changed from one image to the next.

Launch the software, then choose File > *New > then load the images you want to stack. Let the software ingest the images.

95% of the time, choosing Macro > Do Stack is all you need to do.

____________________________

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pasknucklehead Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Feb 2008Sun 19-May-13 02:23 AM
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#2. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 1


creekside, US
          

Hi and thanks for the quick reply...I did just that, this is my first attempt, and boy it sure doesn't look anything like what I see on line..
Am I doing it wrong? I will attach the photos of a little stem photo I took with my 105 macro...Am I correct in that 1. tripod is a good start 2. You focus on a spot, move the camera just a hair to the next out of focus spot, refocus, repeat this until you cover the whole initial photo? And can the focusing only be going side to side, meaning when I focused on this stem, I started from the left and moved to the right, I didn't tilt my camera up to get the top of the stem...Am I starting out correctly or is this just a poor subject to do? It seems on the final photo, I somehow grew an extra bud...











Darlene

Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)
Attachment #3, (jpg file)
Attachment #4, (jpg file)

  

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liamtoh1ps Registered since 17th Apr 2012Sun 19-May-13 02:55 AM
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#3. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 2


US
          

Darlene,

I can understand your difficulty in using that software for focus stacking. I tried and failed with that software. Maybe I do not have enough patience for learning any new software and probably did not gave it a fair chance. I also think that with whatever little time I spend with the software, it does not work directly with RAW files and the files needed to be converted to TIFF or JPG. Someone can please correct me if I am wrong.

So, I started to use the software that I already have (LR4 and Photoshop CS6). I watched this youtube video by Jay Goodrich and the process was really painless. I have to still learn how to fix the errors after automatic stacking process.

You can see some of my examples at my still nascent website.

In all the cases, I never moved the camera. I only changed either the focus points and re-focussed or just focussed on another part of the flower without changing focus points. I also used LV in most cases and manual exposure and manual focus settings.

I am also starting to learn this process (focus stacking) so I am by no means an expert, but please ask any questions and I will be more than willing to help you out.

Pravin.

  

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kentak Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2010Sun 19-May-13 05:50 AM
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#4. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 2


US
          

Hi, Darlene

Here's another YouTube video that also shows the basic process.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3Dz34MMjQ0

Your main mistake in the above attempt was to move the camera, which is why you probably grew the extra sprout. As the videos will show, your camera is locked down on a tripod and the subject should be stationary as well. Using manual focus, you focus on the closest part of the subject, take a shot, refocus slightly further back--overlapping the in-focus area a little--take another shot, and so on until you've covered the entire subject. The last step is to use the stacking software, whatever that may be, to automatically combine the focused parts of each image into one composite.

Good luck!

Kent

  

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four eighty sparky Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Apr 2011Sun 19-May-13 01:54 PM
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#5. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 2
Sun 19-May-13 01:57 PM by four eighty sparky

US
          

>..........Am I correct in that 1.
>tripod is a good start 2. You focus on a spot, move the camera
>just a hair to the next out of focus spot, refocus, repeat
>this until you cover the whole initial photo? ..........

That's one method. However, it's exceedingly difficult to do when you move the entire camera and tripod. Use a focus rail instead.

The other method is to change the focus point of the lens.

It's time-consuming and takes a lot of patience, but stick with it and you'll see some great results.

____________________________

My toys: A pair of gripped D600s, gripped D7100, Sigma 8mm circular fisheye, Sigma 15mm full-frame fisheye, Tokina 17/3.5 SL, 17-35 2.8D, 24-85 G, 24-120/4G, 28-200 D, 50/1.8D, 50/1.8G, 50/1.8E, 70-200 2.8 G VRII, 70-300G, 105/2.8D Micro, Tamron 150-600, 500 f/8 Reflex: Sigma 600mm, Celestron 2,000mm: PB-6 bellows, Nikon 1.4 and 1.7x TCs, auto macro tube set: SB600: Manfrotto 055XB/804RC2/390RC2 & 560B-1: Gossen Starlite: Easy-Up AP1500: 40' WonderPole

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pasknucklehead Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Feb 2008Sun 19-May-13 03:38 PM
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#6. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 5


creekside, US
          

Okay, so my first mistake was to move the camera,,okay will correct that, but I watched a few of the videos and it seems that the only way to keep focusing is for example a quarter, to focus on the front and then inch your way back until you've covered the whole quarter..I can see how that would work, but as far as my stem, which is horizontal and not even in a straight line horizontally, how do I focus step by step with that?

Darlene

  

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liamtoh1ps Registered since 17th Apr 2012Sun 19-May-13 04:30 PM
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#7. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 6


US
          

Darlene,

This is how I do focus stacking.

1. Set up my camera on a tripod and compose the shot
2. Decide my area of focus. pun intended
3. Decide on the exposure (taking a test shot and checking histogram) and making any adjustments as necessary. The exposure is manual.
4. So far most of my shots are without using flash. Reason: I am not really well versed with using flash and macro photography.
5. Use LiveView and manually focus on the nearest focus area (see point 2). I do not have to change my focus point as I rely on my eyes to decide if the shot is correctly focussed.
6. I work my way of changing the focus point from the nearest focus point to the farthest focus point and taking shots at each of the focus points.
7. I sometimes do review the image anywhere from 50% to 100% zoom to check if the shot is correctly focused or not.

That's it.

I have explained the remaining portion of focus stacking i.e. using the software (LR4 and PS CS6) as mentioned in the youtube link in my previous post above.

The process of capturing the shots is more important and very challenging in the outdoors. Since a slight breeze will cause problems later with automated focus stacking. One has to be extremely careful and patient when shooting outdoors.

Pravin.

  

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four eighty sparky Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Apr 2011Sun 19-May-13 05:02 PM
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#8. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 6
Sun 19-May-13 05:12 PM by four eighty sparky

US
          

>Okay, so my first mistake was to move the camera,,okay will
>correct that, but I watched a few of the videos and it seems
>that the only way to keep focusing is for example a quarter,
>to focus on the front and then inch your way back until you've
>covered the whole quarter..I can see how that would work, but
>as far as my stem, which is horizontal and not even in a
>straight line horizontally, how do I focus step by step with
>that?


A focus rail....



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GLSBa1jyQUk


...or change the focus ring on the lens.

____________________________

My toys: A pair of gripped D600s, gripped D7100, Sigma 8mm circular fisheye, Sigma 15mm full-frame fisheye, Tokina 17/3.5 SL, 17-35 2.8D, 24-85 G, 24-120/4G, 28-200 D, 50/1.8D, 50/1.8G, 50/1.8E, 70-200 2.8 G VRII, 70-300G, 105/2.8D Micro, Tamron 150-600, 500 f/8 Reflex: Sigma 600mm, Celestron 2,000mm: PB-6 bellows, Nikon 1.4 and 1.7x TCs, auto macro tube set: SB600: Manfrotto 055XB/804RC2/390RC2 & 560B-1: Gossen Starlite: Easy-Up AP1500: 40' WonderPole

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SheriB Silver Member Awarded for sharing her exceptional images and details of rural farm life. Nikonian since 11th Sep 2010Sun 19-May-13 05:03 PM
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#9. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 6


US
          

If your lens itself moves ..like my Tamron, the barrel moves in and out as you adjust focus.. it is harder, as the framing of the photo will change. If you use the focusing rail, your are moving the camera, but just in tiny increments to get new areas in focus. It takes practice. I havevonly ever gotten one or two shots I was happy with, but I do not practice. I think they were both luck

Sheri Becker

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jtmcg Gold Member Nikonian since 22nd Mar 2007Sun 19-May-13 08:26 PM
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#10. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 0


Simsbury, US
          

I've been using CombineZP for about 5 years and have been pleased with the results. There are times when it doesn't work as well as others and that usually is due to too many artifacts. Sometimes there are none or only a few which can be cloned or blended out and others where it is difficult to get rid of them. My workflow is as follows:

1. Using a tripod focus on the nearest (or farthest) point in the image that you want sharp. Incidentally this isn't always apparent when looking through a 2 dimensional viewfinder (or Live View) at a 3 dimensional object.

2. By refocusing change the point of focus and shoot successive points of focus as you go from the nearest point to the farthest point (or vice versa). Make sure you have enough overlap. If you don't you'll have a soft area in the middle and there's no way to recover from that back at the computer. I shoot all the images in RAW.

3. Back at the computer I take one of the images and make any WB or exposure changes and batch those changes to the rest of the images I'm going to stack. I then convert them all to jpgs. Last time I checked CombineZP doesn't handle NEFs. You could use TIFFs but those are huge files and I haven't found it necessary for my purposes.

4. In CombineZP I first run the Align and Balance step and then run Do Stack. Depending on the results I might also run Do Pyramid Stack to see if that produces better results.

5. Click on the icon next to the Go button to crop the edge effects from the stacking and then the Save icon with the phantom line to save that crop.

6. Then I go into Capture NX2 for any further adjustments and sharpen.

I'm attaching a stack I did several years ago of a Black Eyed Susan that was covered with frost. This is a 12 frame stack and I'm including the first and last frames that I used for the stack.

D300, 105 macro, 1/30s, f/8, ISO 200 for all

John

1. Closest point


2. Farthest point


3. Stack

Attachment #1, (jpg file)
Attachment #2, (jpg file)
Attachment #3, (jpg file)

  

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four eighty sparky Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Apr 2011Sun 19-May-13 09:22 PM
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#11. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 10


US
          

.
>
>6. Then I go into Capture NX2 for any further adjustments and
>sharpen.


I take the opposite lane of traffic. I shoot raw, and do the editing of one .NEF, save the edits, then load them into all the others of the stack. I then batch convert them to JPEGs, and use them for the stack.

After that, all I need to do is crop out the outer edge of stacking artifacts.

____________________________

My toys: A pair of gripped D600s, gripped D7100, Sigma 8mm circular fisheye, Sigma 15mm full-frame fisheye, Tokina 17/3.5 SL, 17-35 2.8D, 24-85 G, 24-120/4G, 28-200 D, 50/1.8D, 50/1.8G, 50/1.8E, 70-200 2.8 G VRII, 70-300G, 105/2.8D Micro, Tamron 150-600, 500 f/8 Reflex: Sigma 600mm, Celestron 2,000mm: PB-6 bellows, Nikon 1.4 and 1.7x TCs, auto macro tube set: SB600: Manfrotto 055XB/804RC2/390RC2 & 560B-1: Gossen Starlite: Easy-Up AP1500: 40' WonderPole

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pasknucklehead Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Feb 2008Mon 20-May-13 12:07 AM
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#12. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 11


creekside, US
          

Wow, that black eye susan is what I'm talking about!!! that is cool...
Sheri, luckily my lens doesn't move in and out, it's internal so I have that going for me anyhow..
I'm just a little confused about moving horizontal across like say a rose, or is it that you can only focus from front to back...Wouldn't that limit what you can use focus stacking for?
Hi Kent, long time no see....!!!

Darlene

  

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jtmcg Gold Member Nikonian since 22nd Mar 2007Mon 20-May-13 12:39 AM
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#15. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 12
Mon 20-May-13 01:03 AM by jtmcg

Simsbury, US
          

>Wow, that black eye susan is what I'm talking about!!! that
>is cool...
>Sheri, luckily my lens doesn't move in and out, it's internal
>so I have that going for me anyhow..
>I'm just a little confused about moving horizontal across like
>say a rose, or is it that you can only focus from front to
>back...Wouldn't that limit what you can use focus stacking
>for?
>Hi Kent, long time no see....!!!

Thanks.

Not sure what you mean about being limited or why you would want to move other than front to back. If you frame the object (flower or whatever) as you want it would all be in the frame. Depth of field is the part of the image that is in acceptable focus. That's a front to back measurement. So in shooting frames for stacking you change the plane of focus through the depth of the object.

John

  

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jtmcg Gold Member Nikonian since 22nd Mar 2007Mon 20-May-13 12:11 AM
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#13. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 11


Simsbury, US
          



>I take the opposite lane of traffic. I shoot raw, and do the
>editing of one .NEF, save the edits, then load them into all
>the others of the stack. I then batch convert them to JPEGs,
>and use them for the stack.
>

I do the same tihing. That's my step 3. Step 6 referred to any touching up that I might want to do. Also most of the time some sharpening is advisable.

John

  

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kentak Silver Member Nikonian since 03rd Jul 2010Mon 20-May-13 12:22 AM
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#14. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 10


US
          

That frost is amazing. Great image!

Kent

  

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jtmcg Gold Member Nikonian since 22nd Mar 2007Mon 20-May-13 12:42 AM
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#16. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 14


Simsbury, US
          

>That frost is amazing. Great image!

Thanks Kent.

John

  

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pasknucklehead Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Feb 2008Mon 20-May-13 07:03 PM
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#17. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 16


creekside, US
          

I guess what I'm referring to horizontally is when I use my 105 macro with a flower...Usually I am quite close and I only get say the left half of the flower if I am going for just one petal. So your saying that I actually need to have the WHOLE flower in the viewfinder, then work front to back on that....? I know I'm missing something here...

Darlene

  

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liamtoh1ps Registered since 17th Apr 2012Mon 20-May-13 07:27 PM
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#18. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 17
Mon 20-May-13 11:25 PM by liamtoh1ps

US
          

Darlene,

Correct. You need to have the whole flower in your frame for all your shots for stacking, IF your final composition is to have the whole flower in focus

There may be another technique, but I am not aware of it.

Pravin.

  

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aolander Silver Member Nikonian since 15th Sep 2006Mon 20-May-13 07:35 PM
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#19. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 17
Mon 20-May-13 07:40 PM by aolander

Nevis, US
          

No, you don't have to have the whole flower in the viewfinder just whatever object or part of an object you want to have in your image.

Focus is a front to back thing. Focus on the front edge of your subject and take a photo. Then focus a little further back and take a photo. Do this until you've focused and taken photos from front to back. (You can do this in reverse, too, back to front, it doesn't matter.) Once you combined these photos, the whole object/subject will be in focus.

Look at John's image again. His first photo was focused on the very front of the center of the flower, the part closest to him. The last photo was focused on the edges of the flower petals furthest away. (There were a bunch of photos in between that he didn't show.) If you want to shoot a single petal, focus on the closest edge of the petal, then further back, and so on.

Alan

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four eighty sparky Silver Member Nikonian since 08th Apr 2011Mon 20-May-13 11:55 PM
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#20. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 17
Mon 20-May-13 11:57 PM by four eighty sparky

US
          

>I guess what I'm referring to horizontally is when I use my
>105 macro with a flower...Usually I am quite close and I only
>get say the left half of the flower if I am going for just one
>petal. So your saying that I actually need to have the WHOLE
>flower in the viewfinder, then work front to back on that....?
>I know I'm missing something here...

You basically need to keep the optical center of all the frames in the same spot... either move the camera & lens straight along the optical path, or change your focus points.




















Notice how the focus point in each image is a bit further from the camera than the previous shot? Hint: Look at the bug just below the very center!) All those are then stacked to create:



____________________________

My toys: A pair of gripped D600s, gripped D7100, Sigma 8mm circular fisheye, Sigma 15mm full-frame fisheye, Tokina 17/3.5 SL, 17-35 2.8D, 24-85 G, 24-120/4G, 28-200 D, 50/1.8D, 50/1.8G, 50/1.8E, 70-200 2.8 G VRII, 70-300G, 105/2.8D Micro, Tamron 150-600, 500 f/8 Reflex: Sigma 600mm, Celestron 2,000mm: PB-6 bellows, Nikon 1.4 and 1.7x TCs, auto macro tube set: SB600: Manfrotto 055XB/804RC2/390RC2 & 560B-1: Gossen Starlite: Easy-Up AP1500: 40' WonderPole

Visit my website.

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pasknucklehead Silver Member Nikonian since 05th Feb 2008Tue 21-May-13 07:00 PM
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#21. "RE: focus stacking"
In response to Reply # 20


creekside, US
          

Okay, I get it now...When using my 105 macro, I have so little dof to begin with that even when I am moving my focus point alone, I don't have much to play with...So I am going to give it a shot again and see what I come up with...but at least now I understand,...hey thanks for that whole flower sequence....!!!!

Darlene

  

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