Portait of Hawkmoth Haemorrhagia thetis

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Walter Piorkowski
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Portait of Hawkmoth Haemorrhagia thetis

Post by Walter Piorkowski »

Image

Canon 10D
Fuji Fujinon-EP 1:3.5/50 lens
21 images at .005 inch increments
Photoshop. MaximDL

After a lot of false starts, rebuilds and scapped images I have finally got the hang of image stacking off the microscope. My rebuilt macrostage really works. Here is my first image for you all to enjoy. Nature sure is beautiful.

Walt

Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

Hey nice shot here Walt, really compliments your post in the Micro Forums :D

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Walt,

Nice job -- looks like you're starting to have fun with the stacking.

I notice that you listed Maxim DL, and I'm presuming that's what you used to do the stacking. All I know about Maxim is what their web pages say, so I'm curious about how you used it here. I don't see anything in the Maxim description about extended depth of field, so I'm guessing that this image was produced by averaging and deconvolution. (Right, wrong?) Average-and-sharpen is a good strategy for deep mats of hair (see discussion and comparison pictures here, using CombineZ5). Other subjects render better using a select-the-sharpest-pixels approach like Helicon Focus uses. Testing with Helicon is free, so it might be interesting to run comparisons at some point.

I'm looking forward to seeing more shots. (And yep, I've already been over to the micro forum. "Eyebrow" -- I like the concept!)

--Rik

Walter Piorkowski
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Post by Walter Piorkowski »

Thanks Ken and Rik. You Rik are one smart fellow being part of this stacking revolution. Your article “Extended Depth of Field” was a real eye opener and I don’t mean that as a joke.

Maxim DL as you probably have already guessed is a software program written for astronomical camera control and the processing of the resulting images. I am an astrophotographer and use the software for that purpose.

When I saw the marvelous work that you, C Krebs and others were doing I longed to try the stacking technique. I have stacked for years with astronomical images and thought that it might work for regular images. I never had a reason to try until now.

To get to the specifics of your question I did overlay the images using averaging. No filters were used although I have many to experiment with. I also did not employ the deconvolution as it is quite complicated and I believe requires a star image. I do a Gamma stretch. All sharpening was done in Photoshop 7.

I have down loaded some CombineX5 files but have had no time to open them up. Helicon Focus looks interesting but I am too cheap to try it unless it will outperform the Maxim product. Besides I had to get some usable images first.

Walt

beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

That is one fine stack Walter...looks like you are hooked :wink:
Take Nothing but Pictures--Leave Nothing but Footprints.
Doug Breda

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Walt,

Thanks for the kind words!

I'm impressed that your stacks came out so well with just averaging followed by Photoshop sharpening. Do you remember the parameters for the sharpening you did in Photoshop?

I'd expect CombineZ5 to give better results than Maxim, and I definitely recommend giving Helicon Focus a test. HF is quite simple to use, and more often than not, it gives better results than any other tool I've tested. None of the tools are foolproof -- sometimes one works better than another on stack A but for stack B it's reversed.

Keep us informed please -- about failures as well as successes. The main driver for getting better software is for the developers to see what people are trying to do, that doesn't quite work.

--Rik

Walter Piorkowski
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Post by Walter Piorkowski »

Yes Doug, I guess I have been hooked. Stacking produces some amazing images. I did some shots at F/22 and even f/45 that closely matched the depth of focus of the stacked “zone” in a single image yet the richness and sense of depth just could not compare to the stacked image. Why is that?

Hello again Rik. Maybe we can help each other here. My sharpening process is time consuming and you may be able to help to automate it.

Your statement “… with just averaging, followed up by Photoshop sharpening.” is not exactly what I do. Before the combining process the first image is reviewed and modified as needed using Photoshop levels and unsharp mask. The subject determines the parameters of each. Then all the rest of the images are corrected in the same manner. This part I wish could be automated with your knowledge.

After this, all the corrected images are combined and gamma processed, the final image is returned to Photoshop where it is then further refined by levels, curves etc and unsharp masked again. Now that you know my process, how do you think that this would work with CombineZ5 or Helicon Focus?

Walt

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Walter Piorkowski wrote:Stacking produces some amazing images. I did some shots at F/22 and even f/45 that closely matched the depth of focus of the stacked “zone” in a single image yet the richness and sense of depth just could not compare to the stacked image. Why is that?
It's the resolution. When you stop down, the whole image gets blurred from diffraction. Even if the blurring is not enough to be noticed consciously, the loss of fine detail and sharp highlights makes your brain think "flat".
Now that you know my process, how do you think that this would work with CombineZ5 or Helicon Focus?
Using CombineZ5 or Helicon Focus, you would simply input your original images and run the stacking software. Then, if desired, you'd tweak up the single output image with gamma, resize, and/or sharpen slightly as needed for posting. I also run CA correction as post-processing, using PTLens. In theory, it would be better to CA-correct the source images, but I've never been dedicated enough to do that.

Have you tried delaying your levels and unsharp mask adjustments until after the averaging? Applied to image stacks, I'd expect these operations to be pretty much linear, in which case order wouldn't matter.

In general, any sequence of Photoshop operations can be automated by bundling them into an "action" and then executing the action on a folderful of images using File | Automate | Batch...

--Rik

MacroLuv
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Post by MacroLuv »

Superb! :shock:
Looks like he is regulary visiting a hairdresser. :lol:
The meaning of beauty is in sharing with others.

P.S.
Noticing of my "a" and "the" and other grammar
errors are welcome. :D

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