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Stack software, comparative speed, optimizations and others

 
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ofarcis



Joined: 27 Jan 2013
Posts: 278
Location: Madrid - Spain

PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 1:47 am    Post subject: Stack software, comparative speed, optimizations and others Reply with quote

Hi all,

In recent weeks I have been busy but now I've had a little time I will present a report I created from stacked processing times of the most common programs and optimizations, quirks, etc. First I is to describe the testing platform.

Hardware Computer:

- CPU: Intel I5-2500 Quad core 3.30Ghz
- MB: Asus P8 H67-M Pro
- RAM: 8 Gb DDR3 1.333Mhz Dual Chanel
- HD: SSD OCX-Vertex2 in SATA 6Gb/s
- GPU: AMD Radeon HD 6850 4Gb

Hardware take pictures

- Focus rail: MacroRail Professional
- Camera: Canon EOS 600D 18Mpx
- Microscope objective: Nikon BD Plan 5x
- Others: bellow & adaptors

Software:

- Helicon Focus v.5.3.12. Payment stack program from Helicon Soft. Can you download demo version from http://www.heliconsoft.com/software-downloads/
- CombineZP v. Free stack program. Can you download from http://www.hadleyweb.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/CZP/Installation.htm
- Zerene Stacker v.1.04 Build T201305212130. Payment stack program from Zerene Systems. Can you download demo version from http://zerenesystems.com/cms/stacker/softwaredownloads
- Macrophotography v.1.1.0.5. Payment program to control camera, focus rail, stacks/sub-stacks, cropping, etc. Can you download demo version from:
Canon: http://MacroRail.com/software/Macrophotography_Canon_Demo_1.1.0.5.zip
Nikon: http://MacroRail.com/software/Macrophotography_Nikon_Demo_1.1.0.5.zip
User Manual: http://MacroRail.com/software/UserManual_1.1.0.5.pdf
- MS Windows 7 x64.


ENVIRONMENT:

All tests were performed on Windows without virtual memory and photographed images were executed and performed from HDD SSD to minimize the burden of the applications and / or photographs.

The times presented are solely the load time and process stack programs.

Since this forum like insects, instead of using a mineral I used the common fly killed a month ago. The images that are presented neither edited or retouched from the software mentioned above or from an editing program such as Photoshop, are presented as they were generated by stacking programs.


DESCRIPTION, RESTRICTIONS AND PROBLEMS FOUND

Before presenting data, images and displays certain characteristics that I used in the programs:

HELICON FOCUS. Good stacking program controlled processing of the lights when there are certain reflexes without editing. Apparently all loaded into memory to process images so if you do not have Windows virtual memory dynamically defined as we run out of memory. When loading images in memory the process is muy quick.

Stacks do not allow more than 255 images so if you want to stack more pictures of this amount have to use sub-stacks. For this reason, the 400 photos has had to use a sub-stack of 202/2. That is, 202 pictures per stack with 2 overlapping photographs.

COMBINEZP. Good free program but where there have been problems when stacking hairy insect photographs. The modes "Do Stack", "Do Soft Stack" and "Pyramid Do Stack Weighted" not valid. At the end of the stack is chosen by "Pyramid Weighted Average" method to get a proper result.

ZERENE STACKER. Program stack of great quality, especially in the treatment of hair, which can handle large volume of photographies without sub-stacks, but slower performance than the rest. It is advisable to make a Preview Stack of large stacks.

Macrophotography. A program to control the camera, the MacroRail, the stacking process / sub-stack, indicate the size of work or crop the image before stacking, retouch images, etc.. It supports the focus rails; MacroRail, Macrocarril, Stack Shot or any approach lane to use a motor Unipolar or Bipolar with simple or more complex electronic CNC type.


PROCESS:

I use a EOS 600D camera pictures at highest resolution JPG (18Mpx) = 5,184 W x 3,456 H = 17,915,904 pixels.

On each test 100 and 400 photographs have been stacked as follows:

- Stacking original size picture.
- Stacking cropping the size of the head of the common housefly.
- Stacking ½ the original size of the picture.
- Stacking ¼ the original size of the picture.
- Stacking 1/8 of the original size of the picture.
- Sub-stack with the original size of the picture.
- Sub-stack cropping the size of the head of the common housefly.

For the stacking test 100 photographs with a spacing of 6.6 microns to total displacement of 0.66mm. For the 400 photographs, there has been a separation of 1.6 microns with a total displacement of 0.66 mm.

Here I present a table of the results I obtained. The times are in the format MM: SS.CC, where MM is minutes, SS is seconds and CC are hundredths of a second.



Looking at the table, we can see that the sub-stacks system is not recommended for small stacks of less than 100 pictures. The more pictures do more interesting is the use of sub-stacks. Especially in programs that loaded photos in memory like Helicon and Combine.

Moreover, we can see that the response speed of Helicon Focus is much faster than the other programs.

Also, sometimes piled whole picture when really only want a part of this, then the option to cut before stacking is important to save large delays.

Originally we are working with an image of 5,184x3,456 pixels, but if we tell you that we generate a stack of 1/4 of this size (1,296x864) is more than enough to see how we have our image. In fact, many times we do not use if you want this resolution to be presented at a forum as in this case. However, the stacking time being considerably reduced up to 8 times faster than the standard stack.

Sub-stacks for high number of pictures; if you use sub-stacks in Helicon Focus can gain until 30% of faster, depends of situations. In Combine ZP the difference is very little. In Zerene, the use of sub-stacks increments a little the final time.

Gradually I will publish the pictures of times achieved, working screens and insect pictures.

I feel my English is so bad, if any data is not understood please ask me.

Best regards, Oscar.
_________________
Collection http://www.flickr.com/photos/23556887@N05/
Photography http://macrorail.com/GaleriaEng.php
Personal http://TuPlaneta.es


Last edited by ofarcis on Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:53 am; edited 5 times in total
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ofarcis



Joined: 27 Jan 2013
Posts: 278
Location: Madrid - Spain

PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi to all,

This is the screen captures for 100 photographs stack test.

SETUP:



TEST ORIGINAL SIZE:


Stack images:
Helicon: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackH001001_4.jpg
CombineZP: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackC001001_4.jpg
Zerene: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackZ001001_4.jpg


TEST CROP IMAGE:


Stack images:
Helicon: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackH001001_5.jpg
CombineZP: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackC001001_5.jpg
Zerene: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackZ001001_5.jpg


TEST OUTPUT SIZE 1/2 ORIGINAL:


Stack images:
Helicon: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackH001001_3.jpg
CombineZP: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackC001001_3.jpg
Zerene: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackZ001001_3.jpg


TEST OUTPUT SIZE 1/4 ORIGINAL:


Stack images. Because this size is very small I put here this three images:
Helicon:

CombineZP:

Zerene:




TEST OUTPUT SIZE 1/8 ORIGINAL:


Stack images:
Helicon: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackH001001_1.jpg
CombineZP: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackC001001_1.jpg
Zerene: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackZ001001_1.jpg


TEST SUB-STACK ORIGINAL 36/4:


Stack images:
Helicon: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackH001001_6.jpg
CombineZP: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackC001001_6.jpg
Zerene: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackZ001001_6.jpg


TEST SUB-STACK CROP 36/4:


Stack images:
Helicon: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackH001001_7.jpg
CombineZP: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackC001001_7.jpg
Zerene: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackZ001001_7.jpg

Regards, Oscar.
_________________
Collection http://www.flickr.com/photos/23556887@N05/
Photography http://macrorail.com/GaleriaEng.php
Personal http://TuPlaneta.es


Last edited by ofarcis on Fri Jul 19, 2013 8:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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ofarcis



Joined: 27 Jan 2013
Posts: 278
Location: Madrid - Spain

PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi to all,

This is some screen captures for 400 photographs stack test.

SETUP & cropping head of mousefly:


Sub-stack sample (CombineZP):


Tomorrow i post the rest of images...

Regards, Oscar.
_________________
Collection http://www.flickr.com/photos/23556887@N05/
Photography http://macrorail.com/GaleriaEng.php
Personal http://TuPlaneta.es
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ofarcis



Joined: 27 Jan 2013
Posts: 278
Location: Madrid - Spain

PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi to all,

This is the screen captures for 400 photographs stack test.

TEST ORIGINAL SIZE:


Stack images:
Helicon: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackH000476_4.jpg
CombineZP: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackC000476_4.jpg
Zerene: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackZ000476_4.jpg


TEST CROP IMAGE:


Stack images:
Helicon: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackH000476_5.jpg
CombineZP: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackC000476_5.jpg
Zerene: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackZ000476_5.jpg


TEST OUTPUT SIZE 1/2 ORIGINAL:


Stack images:
Helicon: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackH000476_3.jpg
CombineZP: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackC000476_3.jpg
Zerene: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackZ000476_3.jpg


TEST OUTPUT SIZE 1/4 ORIGINAL:


Stack images. Because this size is very small I put here this three images:
Helicon:

CombineZP:

Zerene:




TEST OUTPUT SIZE 1/8 ORIGINAL:


Stack images:
Helicon: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackH000476_1.jpg
CombineZP: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackC000476_1.jpg
Zerene: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackZ000476_1.jpg


TEST SUB-STACK ORIGINAL 36/4:


Stack images:
Helicon: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackH000476_6.jpg
CombineZP: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackC000476_6.jpg
Zerene: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackZ000476_6.jpg


TEST SUB-STACK CROP 36/4:


Stack images:
Helicon: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackH000476_7.jpg
CombineZP: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackC000476_7.jpg
Zerene: http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackZ000476_7.jpg

Regards, Oscar.
_________________
Collection http://www.flickr.com/photos/23556887@N05/
Photography http://macrorail.com/GaleriaEng.php
Personal http://TuPlaneta.es
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ofarcis



Joined: 27 Jan 2013
Posts: 278
Location: Madrid - Spain

PostPosted: Fri Jul 19, 2013 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi to all,

I've posted all the information and images relating to the tests I have done. If you have any comments or want to expand any of the information, will be welcome.

I repeated the tests four times and times of each other vary little.

Best regards, Oscar.
_________________
Collection http://www.flickr.com/photos/23556887@N05/
Photography http://macrorail.com/GaleriaEng.php
Personal http://TuPlaneta.es
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ofarcis



Joined: 27 Jan 2013
Posts: 278
Location: Madrid - Spain

PostPosted: Sat Jul 20, 2013 5:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi to all,

In the first post i talk about the CombineZP problems with high number of phtographs to process:

Quote:
COMBINEZP. Good free program but where there have been problems when stacking hairy insect photographs. The modes "Do Stack", "Do Soft Stack" and "Pyramid Do Stack Weighted" not valid. At the end of the stack is chosen by "Pyramid Weighted Average" method to get a proper result.


I solve this problem with two ways; one of the is to use Sub-stack another is to change to Pyramid Weighted Average" method

You can see an example of the problems that present when i use these modes that present problems:





And the same whit these modes with Sub-stack:




Regards, Oscar.
_________________
Collection http://www.flickr.com/photos/23556887@N05/
Photography http://macrorail.com/GaleriaEng.php
Personal http://TuPlaneta.es
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ofarcis



Joined: 27 Jan 2013
Posts: 278
Location: Madrid - Spain

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all,

I performed a test using Adobe Photoshop to stack 100 photos of the first stack.

Specifically I used Adobe Photoshop CS3 and the result is very bad. In fact, I would say that this version is not able to stack.

On the process, is as follows for the stack to original size:

1. - Photomerge load in layers: 3:42
2. - Align layers: 8:20
3. - Blend layers: 4:47

Total time: 16:49. Approximately the double of Zerene Stacker

Regards, Oscar.
_________________
Collection http://www.flickr.com/photos/23556887@N05/
Photography http://macrorail.com/GaleriaEng.php
Personal http://TuPlaneta.es
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ofarcis



Joined: 27 Jan 2013
Posts: 278
Location: Madrid - Spain

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 8:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi to all,

I run some times the test now with Adobe Photoshop CS4 and works some times but not ever, some times block the Photoshop.

In some times too need a long time (i think block but not).

I only can run the 100 photographs, the test of 400 it's impossible in my computer with CS4 version.

See the next table:



You can compare the total time with my first table in the first post. The time to process is very high compared with specific stack programs. Now see the stacked images.

Original size:
http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackP001001_1.jpg

Cropping size:
http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackP001001_2.jpg

1/2 original size:
http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackP001001_3.jpg

1/4 original size:
http://MacroRail.com/imagenes/StackP001001_4.jpg

1/8 original size. I put directly the image:


Curiously the time to align the images cropping is very high (See red text in table). I repeat three times; the first and second need a lot of time respect to the rest of test. The third block the Photoshop.

The quality of result is very poor in Photoshop CS4. See the next image:

Left Zerene 1/2 original size, Right Photoshop CS4 1/2 Original size


Some object missing, the texture is poor near to the hairs, etc.

I thin that Photoshop not is a solution for good stacks, the time is very high, some times block the Photoshop and to process a big number of pictures, need a very high memory capacity.

Regards, Oscar.
_________________
Collection http://www.flickr.com/photos/23556887@N05/
Photography http://macrorail.com/GaleriaEng.php
Personal http://TuPlaneta.es
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ChrisR
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Mar 2009
Posts: 7878
Location: Near London, UK

PostPosted: Thu Jul 25, 2013 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting comparisons.
Considering the facilities at their disposal, it's perhaps surprising that Adobe don't do better, though Photoshop seems to be OK for smaller numbers of images, of simpler subjects.
Maybe future versions will improve.
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ofarcis



Joined: 27 Jan 2013
Posts: 278
Location: Madrid - Spain

PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi ChrisR,

Some people make test with the same images and high power computers with 32Gb of Ram, big SDD hard disk, last Photoshop version (CS6), etc., an the result is very bad. For example, can't make the 400 images stack.

You can see here: http://www.gemologyonline.com/Forum/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=18489

Regards, Oscar.
_________________
Collection http://www.flickr.com/photos/23556887@N05/
Photography http://macrorail.com/GaleriaEng.php
Personal http://TuPlaneta.es
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