Has anyone tried to manually focus stack images in PS Elements using layer masks? I was doing some research online and saw that the newest version of PS allows for automatic focus stacking, but PS Elements does not. I tried playing with a couple of my old images that had slightly different focus points and painted through the focus point on one image onto the other using a layer mask in Elements. It seems to work, but it is hard to tell if this is a really effective method as I had not taken the photograph's for that specific reason, so the focus points were really close to each other.
I want to experiment with taking landscape photographs with a close foreground image such as a rock, flowers etc. in sharp focus on one image, and the background such as a mountain in sharp focus on a second image and combining them using layer masks. I currently have PS Elements 9, but would consider upgrading to Elements 11 if this had a better method of focus stacking. I don't want to upgrade to a full version of PS due to the cost and I would not use most of the additional features that are in PS and not in Elements.
#1. "RE: Manual focus stacking in PS Elements" In response to Reply # 0
Please note that focus stacking doesn't always work in Photoshop either. Not because of Photoshop, but because of component images not lining up perfectly. Either it was a hand-held series of shots from slightly different positions or the wind re-arranged the scene between the component shots.
I have used PSE (v. 7 and 10), plus Photoshop (CS5, CS6). My guess is that if you have to resort to manual layer masks, PSE can be almost as good as the full monty. Its Refine Mask is not quite as powerful as the one that comes with Photoshop, but if focus stacking is your primary concern, you may want to take a peek at dedicated focus-stacking tools.