Focus Stacking & Working with Your Image
Now we're gonna pop this thing open and we're going to get it to focus stacking and basically we focus stacking you um take a picture you move in a small increment take another picture take another picture take another picture you start from near to far you can start from the back and go forward so basically you accumulate a stack of images then you throw him in the computer and you process him with the software now you camera should be set for auto white balance don't use I mean that what manual he's a preset white balance camera shoot you should use manual exposure uh if he's flash is the man you flashed setting diffused lighting generally gives you the best results and he shorted utilized the techniques we talked about to minimize vibration we're going to crank up zarina stacker which is a focus stacking program that I use I use hillock on focus I used to read stacker those are both commercial programs and terribly expensive but they do cause something obviously and combined cp is a...
free program infused with a plug in coal called hugging is also free. I know I don't really recommend those two both hell economy serene give you a free thirty day trials so you can play around with so anyhow this is arena this is what we'll do, we have any greek and I'm gonna load up a stack of images on actually have saved it is a project and this isn't a kid now normally I would just load the images here and what we have these now were the source images on the left and you could see how as they run through the stack you can see how the focus has has changed okay, so now what I'm going to do is I need to combine all of those I need to take the sharpest pieces of each picture and combine them well, you know, this is I don't know this is like eighty six images yeah, I mean, I guess you could do it a fourth time first up does have a stack of capability but it's not not really great for this kind of thing, but these programs are designed to do this so they have this past, for example, to methods, so go stack a line of stack all p max now, when I click this on the right, you're going to see the image start building up or you should yeah, okay on the right it's running through the source images is pulling out the sharpest parts of each image and it's combining them into a single image and it's incredible to watch all of a sudden pop it's done and we have our stacked image on the right, so basically what I've done now is I pulled the sharp part of each one of these pictures combined them into the image on the right now this was one stacking method and you'll notice how um it's not entirely clean I've got a few problems up here around the antenna and I don't like that so what I do what I did is I ran the second stacking method, which is which is d maps and that looked like this that was much cleaner around the antenna but it had some serious problems down here so the different stacking method as you use these you realize some work really good for certain images sometimes you'll take it very, very common where you'll run the two different methods and then you'll combine them now the overall best method was p max but it had problems p max is the method it's a pyramid method cold so I'm gonna take that image that's my finished image but I don't like what I'm seeing around the attendant but I do like what I'm seeing around the antenna with the second method so I'm gonna, uh I'm gonna edit this first image start retouching so now whatever in which I have on the left I can transfer notice I have the same the cursor on both um I can transfer from left to right so I can put the one where I like the antenna better on the left and so now I want to move these antenna over to this image so well I have to do is find areas I want lo and behold, it cleans that up nicely. Okay, so what basically taken two types of output and now I'm taking the best part of each of those output manually doing and what's really nice about this particular program is if you maximize this what you have is now you're sort of like photo shop where I have the image underneath the image the main image on working is on top the image that I want to take parts of is now underneath by hitting the s ky I can I can shift back and forth and I could say ok, yeah, I want it I want the I want the left antenna from the images underneath so all I have to do is go over the top and pulls that in nicely okay? Uh, there's one other thing that's sort of a problem that I know so basically now I'll go through with one of the knee thing I'll find areas I want but there's a problem down here you probably didn't see it and I made these files very low res because otherwise it takes a while for the computer to turn thirty strings I just wanted to turn through but there's a bleed through here you'll notice on the proboscis the nose there's, I'm actually seeing the texture on the body kind of bleed through and I'll show you I'll show you why that that is, um, in a minute, but what I did was I took now let's let's do that. Now I'm gonna eat it. I'm going to commit retouching. So I've done that much retouching now so that's been retouched and it automatically puts it in my output image box here I can say that could save the whole project. I could save individual output images as well. But now I have a problem down here. And why do I have that problem when I'm going to just look, just look at the source images on deacon. See why will magnify it's a little bit as I run through the source source images let's. See? Okay there there's the proboscis looking really nice that's the way that's what I wanted, but notice the behind that it's all out of focus. But as I as I go and as I focused more toward the background, the proboscis is totally out of focus. And what happens? The background starts starts. I started texture on the background, and what happens is that bleeds through because the program say, is looking for detail. And it says okay, this is good but look that's pretty good too, so I don't know what to do here, you know, I'm going to give you a little bit of book we don't want that. So what I what I will do that in a case like that if I see that this is a very typical procedure for for a stack some somewhere nice like the anti eyes they're nice and clean they just come out done and you're done and you don't do anything just smile most of the time you got a little extra work to do, but I'll look at the source of images and I'll say all right let's just get let's just get that piece let's find that piece, okay? So I want from image may be uh uh, what do we got here? Fourteen, ninety or something like that? Fourteen, eighty five I figure the range where I want um let's see what they do here. You're doing this, people in the chat rooms, they're saying that they're loving love and watching this okay? Really tendon fourteen, eighty five to fifteen hundred okay, those are the ones I want so now I will actually just take that specific little chunk and I'm going to stack that separately, okay, I'm going to do it, I'm going to stack stacks elected and I'm going to pee mak so now I'm just going to do those ten or fifteen frames boom they're done now over here I got everything else out of focus but lo and behold uh that's just fine okay so now I'm going to go back to the image that I had just edited touched up a little bit before and I'm gonna go back to editing that one start retouching and for the underneath image I'm going to pick that little section that just has that piece that's going to be underneath so now when I hit the s ky zoom in on that and again this is low res so it's not as impressive as it would be but see how that texture is now the underneath picture has is clean so what I'm going to do now is I'm just going to take take that piece from the underneath image and essentially now I'm done okay stack has done like I can literally go through every individual image if I if I prefer uh but that gets pretty tedious especially if you got a lot of lot of images now that is this is doreen stacker wonderful wonderful eddie features hell can't focus is also an excellent program the editing and here is I think superior and it's and it's really nice work within the creator is the local gentlemen who lives over in tri city area so it's nice uh we have a student question if you, um I appreciate this very much it's always been intriguing I've read about stacking for macro photography one question I've always had that I'm sure you can address it seems to me when you're stacking you're losing the vanishing point because you're going down uh towards the, uh subject as your, uh, stacking is there any way to correct for that distortion? Okay, waste a vanishing point you're talking about the fact that something close look big something further away look look exactly so if you're effectively photographing microscopic railroad tracks uh yeah, that would uh that actually there is definitely a flattening of the image using the snake it's sort of like taking a picture of somebody from the back of the room or down the street with the three hundred millimeter lens and then walking up in their face with a thirty five millimeter yeah s so there's definitely that flattening effect that you get with the telephones but like like if you use the telephoto conventionally but um the program's resize images and you can get some perspective, but yeah, it's diminished greatly if you really want to think of it more in terms of this is I'm getting this sort of perspective I'm going to get if I used a fairly long lens on even if even though these are very short focal length lenses the perspective issue will be very much like you would see using telephoto lenses in fact that everything is roughly the same size you know magnified the same okay thank you I don't that answers your question exactly but so we're going to run this thing this is a this is an interesting in that this is a fifty x magnification of some wing scales but it's much much fewer images because I'm very parallel to the subject so I'm really not trying tow accomplished a lot of death but I'm going to stack this uh p p mac's method and again you'll watch it build up on the right but when I stack an image like this, the end result looks really nice right out of the box but I know I know I'm going to have some problems and I'm going to show you what those problems might be and why and then and that'll be then that we a raft after this let's see, I know that the scales do have some death and what happens is the higher scale is going to go out of focus as I go toward the background and as a result the lens the camera never sees this area here so see this sort of no man's land here there's no real detail in there ideally that would have the detail that the continuation of the scale underneath the reason that you can't do that becomes very, very obvious when you, uh when you look at the source files sort of stacked files here is the image stack. Okay, so here's here's the first toward the beginning of the stack where we have just a front edge of that scale and focus on the program says yeah, great cool I'll use that and you go down this is all that's cool young ladies down, I'm going to use that now but now notice that this background is starting to come in but what happens to this bright leading edge here? Well, it starts ballooning bigger because it's going terribly out of focus and so the sensor never actually gets to see what's there and that's why in the stack result, you have that sort of nebulous no man's land of blurriness because it's not a fault of the program is just the fault of the optical phenomenon that when these foreground objects go greatly out of focus, they will obscure the detail that's maybe right around the edge. So I have to go back then, um in the final image and this is this is where I wind up in photo shop, okay? And this is where I have t the only way I could phyllis and I can't retouch this from source files because there isn't a source file that has any detail there the camera never sought the camera can't see it because this bright edge gets so out of focus get so whacked out that this little inches so it's pretty easy actually I mean you get used to it after a while you go in and basically I just clone in uh a little bit closer here the edges and then it looks nice and clean and then it's done it doesn't really take me along but see that's why you will need some photo some fairly really decent photoshopped editing skill if you really want policies off and finish them to a degree where you look at it so wow that that's cool but the reality is you can't you can't do these types of images any other way and so you need thio except what like limitations there are and try to work around them and a lot of that's done in photo shot so any final thoughts for us charles was very you know eric it's saying have you time is happy time this I don't know how you time this when you start talking it's hard to do way did get everything we wanted and I got a little hasty there for the input hopefully you have a foundation now and then you know what's involved with doing these types of images and I tried I tried to concentrate on five x and because that's that's sort of the odd area that most photographers many photographers have fooled around three verse landers and stack lenses and bellows a little bit, but it's only when you get it to five ten twenty x where it's almost imperative to use these microscope optics and it's almost imperative to use thiss type of software the stacking software, these images in film days you you know you really couldn't you couldn't do them. You'd wind up like like that one example of diffraction I gave you what you wouldn't you try not to do with that bad, but you need that you'd have to accept either a blurrier image or very lim limited depth of field. Now you can kind of tailor it by how many images you stack, uh, it's a lot of work and there's, no question about it. Some people will go on. Go. Well, you know, two hundred, just forget that I'm going to go out, you know, a couple hours and come back with fifty images. You know, I may get one image a day, you know, to images a day kind of thing. So there's a lot of there's, a lot of production, but the images of fascinating the images are people look at them, you know, you look at that mosquito head, you look at something, you go whoa. You know that you get a lot of that. Wow. Whoa! I didn't know that's that that's. A record. You know, that's this that lives in the water in my birdbath, in the backyard. Yet you know, that's. What makes a man miss when I go swimming yet that's their, you know, uh, so it's a world that att this point it's. Fascinating. Because it's all new it's like you could if you drop me on the surface of mars in a spaceship. So I, you know, roma drowned. I see things I never saw before. I can see things I never saw before in a jar of water or in a you know, in a drawer in my kitchen by pulling something so that's the beauty that's, psychologically that's, kind of the beauty of it and visually, photographically that's. The beauty of it. Because photography always want to show people things they wanted. Look what I so look what I so look what I saw. You can show them things that they've never seen before. And you don't have to travel to exotic places to do it necessarily.