What is focus stacking?I have Canon 600d

Started May 3, 2012 | Discussions
happysnapper62
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What is focus stacking?I have Canon 600d
May 3, 2012

........Of what benefit is it? thanks lee uk

Canon EOS 600D (EOS Rebel T3i / EOS Kiss X5)
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dojoklo
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Re: What is focus stacking?I have Canon 600d
In reply to happysnapper62, May 3, 2012

Focus stacking enables you to combine 2 or more images so that everything you want to be in focus in the final image can be in focus.

For example, your subject is holding something in his hand in front of his body, but with your chosen exposure settings (specifically the aperture setting) you are not able to get both his face and the hand/object in focus. So you take two images - one with his face in focus, one with his hand in focus, and you combine them in photoshop and mask them so that the intended areas are simultaneously in focus on the final, combined image.

This can also be used in macro photography, where depth of field can often be extremely shallow, but through focus stacking additional planes of a final, combined image can simultaneously be in focus.

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mothman13
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Artificially increase depth of focus
In reply to happysnapper62, May 3, 2012

happysnapper62 wrote:

........Of what benefit is it? thanks lee uk

Hey Lee. When shooting small things close up, what you'll find is that the closer and closer you get and the greater the magnification, the smaller and smaller the depth of focus becomes.

Take a look at this picture of a small paper wasp:

This wasp is only about 25 mm long (1 inch). You can see that the antennae and the face are in sharp focus but anything further away from the camera is blurred.

What focus stacking lets you do is take a series of pictures and blend them together into a single output. You start with your first picture showing the closest part of your subject in sharp focus. You let the rest of the object blur out. The second picture is focused just a little further away from the camera than the first picture, with a slight overlap. The third picture is again focused just a little further away with a little overlap of the second picture. Continue taking pictures with the focus point moving further and further away from the camera until you have reached the part of your object furthest away from the camera.

You now have a collection of pictures with "slices" of your object in sharp focus. By using focus stacking software to blend all the shots together, you can get a single result with the entire object in sharp focus rather than just a slice.

The best I've seen at using this technique is Kevin Vincent who posts here under the name KEVSPHOTOS. He has the most colorful, beautiful site on the 'net. You should check the portfolio out on his site at:

http://kvincentphotography.ca/portfolio

And here's a link to his blog on focus stacking:

http://kvincentphotography.ca/blog/2012/1/focus-stacking

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happysnapper62
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Re: Artificially increase depth of focus
In reply to mothman13, May 3, 2012

Thanks to you both. It was just a casual enquiry of a term I have read numerous times on DPR. I am glad I asked now as I am delving into the world of macro. I have not attempted any PP yet as I only started 5 months ago & am just getting to know my camera, but I will make a start with elements 10 soon. Yes I have seen Kevs efforts, & they are amazing. It was looking at them 4 months ago that inspired me to buy my first macro lens & go "Bug-Huntin'". Thanks again guys. lee uk

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dojoklo
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Focus stacking tutorial
In reply to happysnapper62, May 3, 2012

Since you have a macro lens, you should definitely try your hand at focus stacking!

Here is a short intro, and I'm sure there are a number of online tutorials:
http://digital-photography-school.com/an-introduction-to-focus-stacking

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dojoklo
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and the "opposite" of focus stacking
In reply to happysnapper62, May 4, 2012

Just as a related point of interest here, there is also the "opposite" of focus stacking, a fascinating technique devised by Ryan Brenizer to portray even shallower depth of field than a single image will allow at a wide angle focal length!
http://www.ryanbrenizer.com/2011/05/brenizer-method-instructions/

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mothman13
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Thanks Douglas!
In reply to dojoklo, May 4, 2012

dojoklo wrote:

Just as a related point of interest here, there is also the "opposite" of focus stacking, a fascinating technique devised by Ryan Brenizer to portray even shallower depth of field than a single image will allow at a wide angle focal length!
http://www.ryanbrenizer.com/2011/05/brenizer-method-instructions/

Thanks Douglas, that's really cool !! Never occurred to me to do something like that.

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beagle1
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Helicon focus
In reply to happysnapper62, May 4, 2012

happysnapper62 wrote:

Thanks to you both. It was just a casual enquiry of a term I have read numerous times on DPR. I am glad I asked now as I am delving into the world of macro. I have not attempted any PP yet as I only started 5 months ago & am just getting to know my camera, but I will make a start with elements 10 soon. Yes I have seen Kevs efforts, & they are amazing. It was looking at them 4 months ago that inspired me to buy my first macro lens & go "Bug-Huntin'". Thanks again guys. lee uk

one of the better programs for focus stacking is Helicon focus
http://www.heliconsoft.com/heliconfocus.html

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