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Focus Stacking In Adobe Photoshop

Lesson 5 from: FAST CLASS: Creative Composites Using Your Own Photo Stock

Karen Alsop

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Lesson Info

5. Focus Stacking In Adobe Photoshop

Lesson Info

Focus Stacking In Adobe Photoshop

So let's take a look at the first set of images, the three photographs of the Yoshi combat where the photograph is focused at a different point. So if we look at this one, the focus is right near the front. Now the next one, the focal point was back here and the final one, the focal point was right at the very back edge of the camera. So we now need to merge these together and you'll need to take note that while I usually will tell you to work non destructively and to create smart objects from roars so that you can always have access to that raw data when it comes to focus stacking, it does work better to merge a flat version of the image. We're going to go through a two step process here. We're going to take this into Photoshop and run the Photoshop action now with these images, they were photographed on a tripod so they should be still. But I do like to make sure by also aligning the images together, which is why I'm bringing it into Photoshop and not simply stacking directly from br...

idge. So we select all of the images, the three and we go to tools down to Photoshop and then go to load files into Photoshop layers. So this process then brings all of those images, those three images or however many photographed into one document as one set of layers that you can then merge together. Now we've got the three images in there as layers that we can then merge together. Now what we can do is either do this manually or use the focus stack action that I have provided. So let's make it easy and actually use this focus stack action which is basically selecting all the layers and bringing them all together, making sure that they are all aligned and that they all merge perfectly together. So to get your action, go to the class, bonus material, download the action, double click it and it should load in your Photoshop panel in actions once you've loaded it and it's showing up in your actions panel, press play. So once it's finished all of that it will show up as a merged file and you can also see how it's masked the different areas. So let's take a look at that, we'll go to the top one, you can see that it's chosen out the very front areas of the image and made sure that those are the ones that it uses for the front because that's the most in focus. And then if we go down to the next one, so you can see as we go down and have a look at these different parts, it's merged it all together. So that that final piece is in fact in focus. So if we zoom up on it, you can see the front area is in focus on the side and right through to the back. So the first thing that I do is grab that merged image and I cut it out and because I shot on green I can make it really easy for myself in just selecting the green color inverting that so that it is selecting the green and leaving everything else. Now you can adjust your fuzziness when you do this so that it doesn't sink into some of the camera because there's some reflective parts on the camera there it will be a little bit tricky to do this fully with the green screen extraction but we just paint those areas back in with the masks so we get it as good as we possibly can. This looks pretty good. Press OK And then we create a mask from this so and we also need to hide the other layers beneath. Otherwise they'll be showing up one really good quick way of fixing it is holding down option and clicking on the mask and then you can see the areas that are black and the areas that are white. And so I want this area down here to be fully black. So I'll just paint with black there, make sure that my flow is up 100% make sure that my pen hardness is quite hard so that it doesn't have a soft fuzzy edge and just go over this area real quick. Now I'm using a wacom tablet santic 16. I highly recommend if you're doing this kind of work to invest in a tablet. The interest pro is fantastic. The wacom 16 and I also have a mobile studio pro which I use when I'm mobile. So we go in there and paint with white just real quick over those areas that we know we're showing up as green because of the reflection. Alright, that's pretty good. So once we've done that we can click option and bring everything back. So now we've got this giant camera in a scene, the sort of things that I would do here is first merger into the grass. So we're going to zoom up and you can see there's a bit of shadow underneath that is the shadow that we shot there. I might actually leave that there because we can add to that shadow and it makes it more realistic but we want to get rid of it here because we want the camera to be merged into the grass. So I am going to create a mask. I'm going to use my brush and it is at about 80% hardness paint with black which is taking away our objects. So black conceals and white reveals. So we're just going to get rid of this shadow here. But we'll leave it over here for now. Now the next thing that we want to do is mask in some grass. So I am going to also include this particular brush for you. Um I have a lot of brushes that I've created and a lot of brush sets that are also available in my story art education store and this one here, it's a raid and it can be used as a read or as grass. And what I do with this is I use it to create a grass effect around the edge. And what I'm really doing is masking in the shape. And because of the way that I've created this, it will change every time it moves. The angle actually changes to replicate real grass, which is not all going to be on the same angle. So we bring in a bit of the grass that is actually the grass that's behind. So if I show you that mask, this is what I've masked in. So that helps with a bit of realism embedding it into the scene, I might even put a little bit in front there. So these last three in the series are the three that I photographed freehand. So if we look at each of them independently, you'll see a slight movement between the shots. Not much, because I did fire off a lot of shots in succession quite quickly. So that is the key. You don't want to just shoot, then wait, then shoot, then wait because the movement will be greater. If you can fire off those shots, one after the other, the more modern your camera, probably the faster that you'll be able to do that. The more frames per second that you'll have at your disposal. So doing that freehand does work now we need to now take this in to Photoshop in the same way. But you'll see here that these are raw files. So I wanted to just go into this and show you what you would need to do if you're editing these raw files, I'm Enbridge at the moment, you could do the edit in lightroom but what you want to make sure of is that each of these images are exactly the same. So if you make a change on one of them, you need to copy off that change on another. It would be probably a good idea at this point to even crop because we don't need all of that excess information. So I'm also going to straighten and bring down the highlights a bit, bring the shadows up a little bit as well. I often use highlights and shadows too flatten out my images so that then later I can bring them up and boost them using dodging and burning techniques in Photoshop to help everything blend together. So I do recommend if you're compositing, try changing the highlights and shadows bringing in more detail. So usually the highlights are bringing down to about there and the shadows to about there. Um just give me that detail. Now you see this image here is now different to this one. So what you need to do is copy your edit settings but you do need to make sure that the settings that you changed are included in this list. So there are a few different options there. Now I can copy all of them. It will basically cover cover off on what I'm trying to do here, but crop isn't selected so make sure that if you've cropped it, crop is included. If you've done some spot removal, include that as well, so copy that and then paste those settings across to each of your images, you can do that in bulk as well. So that now we've got these three now we could open these as objects in Photoshop but that would not work. So I've set this up so that when I open a raw file, it opens up in Photoshop as a roar as I showed you earlier in the class. I could open it as a copy or or just straight as a flat one, but I want them as layers. So what I need to do is actually click on, done that will then make the changes in bridge and then I need to change these two tiffs ideally or something that is a nondestructive, not a jpeg. We don't want to compress it. So, I am going to now export this and I've got a setting which is called ready to merge that will put it into a new folder, save them as tiffs and I'll be ready to use those files in Photoshop and merge them together. So it's doing that once it's finished, we'll bring those over into Photoshop the same way that we did that before.

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Actions and Brushes
Camera Files
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