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Tiny Tetramorium

 
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Planapo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1533
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:00 pm    Post subject: Tiny Tetramorium Reply with quote

From 84 images aligned and stacked with CZP, Do stack, default settings. (Took ages and a message that "Windows has not enough virtual memory" appeared but surprisingly even so it worked out. However, I think I shouldn't try such a larger stack with ZS and my current system.) 10:1 objective, at about 170 mm flange to sensor. Canon 400D. Image cropped a little. I wanted to show the scultpuration on the head, hence lighting not that much diffused. Neighbours are on holiday, so obviously no vibration issues at the moment. Smile

Any suggestions for improvements? Still all my photo editing is done on the suboptimal 14" monitor of a Dell Latitude D600 notebook. So please, if you see any flaws, I might have produced with stacking or editing software and which I might not be aware of, please tell me, as I want to improve and need arguments to justify a new monitor/computer. Smile
I see, that the hairs on the back of the head look a bit like stuck in jelly.

This is a rather small (see scale bar!) worker of a Tetramorium sp. of the caespitum/impurum complex. Sometimes called "pavement ants" in English.
There are even smaller ants to shoot. Alas, I haven't got no 20:1 objective yet. Sad

--Betty

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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 18250
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2009 11:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This looks pretty good. It has a few halos, typical of the depth map algorithms, but nothing that would be noticed by most viewers.

The lighting does an excellent job of showing surface texture.

Refresh my memory, please. What is your computer configuration?

--Rik
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Planapo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1533
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Rik!
Glad that you like it, and I want to add that in large parts I am only able to do this thanks to all the shared information and your excellent work here on the forum. Very Happy

Computer says ( Wink Smile ) that it's a Pentium M 1.4 GHz processor, processor speed: 598 MHz, 1536 MB RAM, Windows XP Professional.

--Betty
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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
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Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
However, I think I shouldn't try such a larger stack with ZS and my current system.

Try ZS, you might be surprised.

Here is some information I reported in a different forum.
Quote:
As to which software package may be better, that also depends on what you are looking for.

ZS requires more memory and cpu cycles than CZP. In exchange, it is able to exploit modern multi-core processors, and it does a lot less disk I/O with deep stacks. I just now processed a stack of 19 images of size 3888 x 2592 pixels, using a Lenovo T61 laptop (Core Duo processor at 2.5 GHz, 2 GB memory). Using Align and Balance followed by Pyramoid Maximum Contrast, CZP required 19:58 (min:sec) to complete the stack. Using Align and Stack All (PMax), ZS was finished in 4:40, over 4 times faster.

The relative speeds vary a lot on different machines. On my quad-core desktop box that has faster disks, CZP finishes the same problem in 3:43, and ZS takes 2:30, only about 30% faster.

Now, on your hardware...let's see...(rummaging through stacks of old computers)...ah yes, here it is: IBM Thinkpad T40 laptop from a few years back --- Pentium M, 1.3 GHz, 1 GB RAM.

Rerunning my midge stack, 54 frames at 3072x2048, ZS Align & Stack All (PMax) finished in 23:30 at a rate of 14.5 Mpixels per minute. That was with a clean installation, default parameters except for image caching turned off.

CombineZP, Align & Balance followed by Do Stack finished in 29:40, about 25% longer than ZS.

As NikonUser pointed out, you can make a big reduction in processing time by using smaller images. At 10X, your 400D at 10 Mpixels is almost certainly overkill because of diffraction blurring. Try setting it to record a smaller image and see how you like it.

One more possibility... Because you're shooting at high magnification with a wide aperture, if your rig is also very stable then you can save some time by skipping the Align & Balance. CombineZP took 19:30 just to do that step. The equivalent in ZS is to uncheck all the alignment options.

This won't work at lower magnifications and smaller apertures, because the scale differences between neighboring frames will cause smearing or echoing.

But you should run a check just to see. It turns out that for my midge stack, there is hardly any difference in final image quality when alignment is turned off. But there is a significant improvement in processing speed: from 23:30 down to 16:50. I was a little surprised that image quality stayed high in this case. I had expected that this stack would be low enough magnification to degrade without alignment.

--Rik
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Planapo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1533
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the details, Rik!

As I have shot the single frames for this stack in RAW and converted them to large jpegs with Canon's Digital Photo Professional sw, I could convert them again but this time to smaller jpegs to try out ZS with this stack. What numbers for output resolution (default is 350 dpi) and pixel values for resizing would you recommend for this?

And what settings for ZS would you recommend with this stack?

Thanks again,
--Betty
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rjlittlefield
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2009 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your display here is at 558 x 700 pixels. You might consider shrinking the camera images to double what you want to show, so maybe 1116 x 1400 or what fits nicely with your camera. I think full resolution from the 400D is 3888 x 2592, so 1944 x 1296 would be a nice even 2X reduction. This should process 4 times faster than full camera resolution would.

For such high mag large aperture images shot with a good slide, I recommend to turn off scale and rotation adjustment. This prevents the possibility of accumulating erroneous "corrections" to parameters that physically cannot change.

If your slide is very well adjusted, you can also turn off shift X and shift Y. But I generally leave those turned on because sometimes my stacks do have little shifts.

--Rik
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Planapo



Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 1533
Location: Germany, in the United States of Europe

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 11:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Zerene's PMax has done the stack of the half-size frames with no problems on my system, scale and rotation adjustment were turned off. Have not used the retouching features of ZS yet, but having watched the tutorial video yesterday, I am delighted to see what can be done in Zerene. So, I am looking forward to learn to use the retouching possibilities. I appreciate the tutorial video, it is very instructive, the commentary is spoken clearly and not too fast, so that I can understand everything, despite the American accent. Smile Wink (Is that you speaking there, Rik?) Very Happy

I am very pleased with the output image. I see a few spots that could have a minor retouching, like the base of the left mandible, that now looks a bit overexposed. Compared to the upper image stacked with DoStack of CZ, the PMax version of Zerene shows a darker, more realistic colour of the ant head. This is at least partly because in the upper photo I had altered the colour a bit to compensate for some greenish colour fringes on the brink of the head in CZ's output image, still visible on the right mandible. Zerene's PMax didn't produce such fringes.

Both images were edited with PSE, but not exactly in the same way. I've tried to jazz them up as good as I can, with my still not much advanced editing skills.

Now, I just hope that I will be able to afford that nice Zerene Stacker software when it has gone commercial. Hopefully, there will be an affordable version for students. (Here insert one of these 'begging puppies', one with faithful dog eyes looking expectantly towards the West,... erm... to be more precise, towards the Pacific Northwest.) Wink Wink Very Happy

--Betty

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rjlittlefield
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Joined: 01 Aug 2006
Posts: 18250
Location: Richland, Washington State, USA

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Betty, this ant face is looking very good. I am glad to hear that ZS works for your application.

Yes, the voice on the video is mine, only slightly modified by a microphone having a bad day.

Thanks for the feedback about pacing and accent. The video was recorded in real time using 6.3 Mpixel images and a 2.4 GHz Core 2 Quad cpu. What you are seeing and hearing is a combination of classroom lecture and "This is as fast as I can push the buttons while also reading the script." Kinda crude, but it got the job done as a rough draft.

About pricing, I think the company's official position is something like "Anyone who can afford the camera, lenses, lighting, stage, and computer, should have no trouble affording this software. Wink "

But seriously, students are an important part of my life. We'll make sure the bases are covered somehow.

--Rik
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