FZ200 - Great Grey Owl, 11 stacked RAW images, enlarged to 8000 pixels wide

Started Feb 7, 2013 | Discussions
RudyPohl
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FZ200 - Great Grey Owl, 11 stacked RAW images, enlarged to 8000 pixels wide
Feb 7, 2013

Here is another Great Grey Owl shot produced by image stacking in Photoshop 5.

I used 11 RAW images, resized the image to 8000 pixels and cropped it back to 4000 pixels to center the subject. The result has been a 4X magnification.

The only PPing I did was to sharpen the image, there was no noise reduction at all. I could have done a little NR in the eyes, but I left them untouched to show you the amazing denoising that comes from image stacking. It is the elimination of noise without any loss of image details that allows the enlargement of the image while still retaining great image quality. Also, with this technique you get greater dynamic range and deeper, richer colours. This image could be printed at 24 inches wide and still look pretty good.

Go to full size and check out the eyes. (At full size you are actually seeing it at 4X full size)

Rudy

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sherman_levine
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Re: FZ200 - Great Grey Owl, 11 stacked RAW images, enlarged to 8000 pixels wide
In reply to RudyPohl, Feb 7, 2013

Isn't that just "2x" ?

I know it's 4x the area...but everything else (in particular, zoom) is linear.

Sherm

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RudyPohl
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Re: FZ200 - Great Grey Owl, 11 stacked RAW images, enlarged to 8000 pixels wide
In reply to sherman_levine, Feb 7, 2013

sherman_levine wrote:

Isn't that just "2x" ?

I know it's 4x the area...but everything else (in particular, zoom) is linear.

Sherm

Yea Sherm, I realized that after the 5-minute time limit ran out to edit the post. I'm afraid I'm not very good at the arithmetic of photography (not so great at the spelling either). The cropping factor messed me up (again!).

Rudy

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RudyPohl
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Re: FZ200 - Great Grey Owl, 11 stacked RAW images, enlarged to 8000 pixels wide
In reply to RudyPohl, Feb 7, 2013

CORRECTION:  It's not 4X magnification, it's 2X. Sorry, got confused. It's pretty big anyways, the owl is 30 feet away.

Thanks.

Rudy

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sherman_levine
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Re: FZ200 - Great Grey Owl, 11 stacked RAW images, enlarged to 8000 pixels wide
In reply to RudyPohl, Feb 7, 2013

RudyPohl wrote:

sherman_levine wrote:

Isn't that just "2x" ?

I know it's 4x the area...but everything else (in particular, zoom) is linear.

Sherm

Yea Sherm, I realized that after the 5-minute time limit ran out to edit the post. I'm afraid I'm not very good at the arithmetic of photography (not so great at the spelling either). The cropping factor messed me up (again!).

Rudy

Impressive nonetheless.   You started with one very clean image ( from the stacking ) and then upsampled that single image to get your result, right?

This is an excellent example of why one should avoid the in-camera digital zooms (and iZoom).  Your 2x upsample in Photoshop shows none of the terrible artifact seen in the iZoom captures.

Rudy's 2x upsize in Photoshop

Sample JPG image at "48x" iZoom

RAW enlarged 2x on screen in SilkypixPro5

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NoRules
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Re: FZ200 - Great Grey Owl, 11 stacked RAW images, enlarged to 8000 pixels wide
In reply to RudyPohl, Feb 7, 2013

RudyPohl wrote:

Here is another Great Grey Owl shot produced by image stacking in Photoshop 5.

I used 11 RAW images, resized the image to 8000 pixels and cropped it back to 4000 pixels to center the subject. The result has been a 4X magnification.

The only PPing I did was to sharpen the image, there was no noise reduction at all. I could have done a little NR in the eyes, but I left them untouched to show you the amazing denoising that comes from image stacking. It is the elimination of noise without any loss of image details that allows the enlargement of the image while still retaining great image quality. Also, with this technique you get greater dynamic range and deeper, richer colours. This image could be printed at 24 inches wide and still look pretty good.

Go to full size and check out the eyes. (At full size you are actually seeing it at 4X full size)

Rudy

Another great shot Rudy! Time to go PP on it and lift some contrast and colors! Now, if only Nikon or Canon made a 1020mm 2.8 ASPH lens you would have had some competition

M-)

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Alek79
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Superb!
In reply to RudyPohl, Feb 7, 2013

What can I say, jaw-dropping! I've never seen such a film-like rendering from a digital source. It looks like you could blow the print up to a huge size because there are no edge and sharpening artefacts, everything is smooth and natural. Now, when do I find time to learn that technique...

Many thanks for the inspiring post!

Alex

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NoRules
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Re: FZ200 - Great Grey Owl, 11 stacked RAW images, enlarged to 8000 pixels wide
In reply to sherman_levine, Feb 7, 2013

sherman_levine wrote:

RudyPohl wrote:

sherman_levine wrote:

Isn't that just "2x" ?

I know it's 4x the area...but everything else (in particular, zoom) is linear.

Sherm

Yea Sherm, I realized that after the 5-minute time limit ran out to edit the post. I'm afraid I'm not very good at the arithmetic of photography (not so great at the spelling either). The cropping factor messed me up (again!).

Rudy

Impressive nonetheless. You started with one very clean image ( from the stacking ) and then upsampled that single image to get your result, right?

This is an excellent example of why one should avoid the in-camera digital zooms (and iZoom). Your 2x upsample in Photoshop shows none of the terrible artifact seen in the iZoom captures.

Rudy's 2x upsize in Photoshop

Sample JPG image at "48x" iZoom

RAW enlarged 2x on screen in SilkypixPro5

Hi Sherm,

Also notice the extreme increase in IQ in Rudy's shot compared to enlargement of a single image. If the subjectmatter in front is stationary for only 1 secound, stacking is the way to go for dramatic up-sizing or heavy handed PP. Thanks for the demonstration of iZoom. I never dared to use that one

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sherman_levine
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Re: FZ200 - Great Grey Owl, 11 stacked RAW images, enlarged to 8000 pixels wide
In reply to NoRules, Feb 7, 2013

iZoom's ok if you use it for the .RW2 at >24X - When the camera upsamples the cropped sensor  to 12mpx in the JPG, it simply exports the cropped RAW, so you get the evf benefits without decreasing the RAW quality.  The stacking's like good cooking - you need to start with good ingredient. This is one of Rudy's single images (from the original "Visiting Ottawa" post) upsampled 2x in Irfanview using a Lanczos resample.   It's pretty darn impressive even without the stacking.

Sherm

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RudyPohl
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Re: Superb!
In reply to Alek79, Feb 7, 2013

Alek79 wrote:

What can I say, jaw-dropping! I've never seen such a film-like rendering from a digital source. It looks like you could blow the print up to a huge size because there are no edge and sharpening artefacts, everything is smooth and natural. Now, when do I find time to learn that technique...

Many thanks for the inspiring post!

Alex

Hi Alex:

The whole process took me less than 10 minutes which included.

1) Opening all 11 files in Photoshop and closely examining them to see how identical they are. They need to be very close, so moving subjects are not possible with this technique. 4 minutes

2) Doing the stacking and auto-align processes - a few mouse-clicks, 2 minutes

3) Changing the opcities on 11 imagesm and flattem stack - 2 minutes

4) Sharpen image 30 seconds.

DONE! Piece of cake!

Rudy

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Alek79
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Re: Superb!
In reply to RudyPohl, Feb 7, 2013

Rudy,

That sounds even more encouraging! I will give it a try in the near future although all the latitude this technique potentially gives seems a little intimidating - the countless combinations of adjusting single layers (although i understand that by default you leave them unchanged), playing with opacities etc. But it opens a whole new world of possibilities and is surely worth exploring!

Keep them coming !

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RudyPohl
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Re: Superb!
In reply to Alek79, Feb 7, 2013

Alek79 wrote:

Rudy,

That sounds even more encouraging! I will give it a try in the near future although all the latitude this technique potentially gives seems a little intimidating - the countless combinations of adjusting single layers (although i understand that by default you leave them unchanged), playing with opacities etc. But it opens a whole new world of possibilities and is surely worth exploring!

Keep them coming !

Hi Alek:

What excites me about this technique is that it offers me the possibility of enlarging and printing my photos at much larger sizes and at much high quality than previously known. That opens up a lot of creative rewarding possibilities.

Rudy

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kkardster
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Re: Superb!
In reply to RudyPohl, Feb 7, 2013

Between which steps do you recommend the enlargement of the images should occur?

And should any PP be performed on the enlargements prior to stacking?  [I remember a NoRule's post where he did some sharpening of over-sized images, then reduced them at some point in the process to a still larger-than-original final size.]

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LTZ470
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Re: A comparison to show how well the FZ200 vs FZ35
In reply to kkardster, Feb 7, 2013

This was shot off Monopod FZ35 with LT-55 attached, I only had a few months experience with cameras at the time so go easy!!!...lol...

This owl flew up and landed close to me as I was out hiking...Rudy's looks like a masterpiece compared!!! Shows your excellent skills Rudy and of course excellent equipment as well...

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2791/4485557049_1b7ea2e4f2_o.jpg

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NoRules
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Re: Superb!
In reply to kkardster, Feb 7, 2013

kkardster wrote:

Between which steps do you recommend the enlargement of the images should occur?

And should any PP be performed on the enlargements prior to stacking? [I remember a NoRule's post where he did some sharpening of over-sized images, then reduced them at some point in the process to a still larger-than-original final size.]

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Hi,

There is no correct answer to this. In ACR you can choose a ++ developement (I think it's 28MP). This is good for an enlargement, but takes a toll on the computer. With 66 images the machine has to work with over 6 Gigs of info, or 1.5 GB with every stack. When I up-size a single stack I often do it in ACR, then stack in Photoshop, down-size to what I need or what makes artifacts go away after final PP. I turn off everything on my Mac when I do this. Only photoshop is running.

I will not go down that route for a landscape with sky, clouds and water/snow. Images are too sharp with a little noise. Better to have a softer image in Photoshop and have full control by doing it in steps with theese landscapes. I often up-size with the "sharper image, best for down-size" option, or at least the "bilinear" option.

I have not done experiments on this. It's a random thing, a gut feeling, if you will ... And I have a life too If any one have the time to make the perfect workflow for a x4 up-sizing, it's up for grabs!

Cheers!

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RudyPohl
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Re: Superb!
In reply to kkardster, Feb 7, 2013

kkardster wrote:

Between which steps do you recommend the enlargement of the images should occur?

And should any PP be performed on the enlargements prior to stacking? [I remember a NoRule's post where he did some sharpening of over-sized images, then reduced them at some point in the process to a still larger-than-original final size.]

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Hi KK:

I don't know what the right answer is but here what I did on this image, and on the same image I added later with a little PPing.

1) My Photoshop 5 won't open RW2 files so I have to convert the all first using Adobe free DNG conversion tool (creates DNG file which are "digitial negative images which most software can use)

2) I opned each DNG file in Photoshop which then automatically switch to ACR (Adobe Camera Raw). I did not apply any post processing I merely saved it to a Photoshop 5 file.

3) I then stacked all 11 images (I used Adobe Bridge to do this in seconds.

4) I then align the images - once mouse click, 60 seconds processing

5) I then applied the opacities to the images - 2 minutes.

6) I then made a copy

7) I then flattened the stack of images (left the copy unflattened)

8) Now I applied all my post processing, seems to work OK.

A little tip, Flickr and most other online photogalleries add contrast to your images so I really add a lot of  negative contrast to the image before uploading... upload testing will show you how much to do.

Rudy

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kkardster
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Re: Superb!
In reply to RudyPohl, Feb 7, 2013

RudyPohl wrote:

kkardster wrote:

Between which steps do you recommend the enlargement of the images should occur?

And should any PP be performed on the enlargements prior to stacking? [I remember a NoRule's post where he did some sharpening of over-sized images, then reduced them at some point in the process to a still larger-than-original final size.]

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You learn something new every time you press the shutter

Hi KK:

I don't know what the right answer is but here what I did on this image, and on the same image I added later with a little PPing.

1) My Photoshop 5 won't open RW2 files so I have to convert the all first using Adobe free DNG conversion tool (creates DNG file which are "digitial negative images which most software can use)

2) I opned each DNG file in Photoshop which then automatically switch to ACR (Adobe Camera Raw). I did not apply any post processing I merely saved it to a Photoshop 5 file.

3) I then stacked all 11 images (I used Adobe Bridge to do this in seconds.

4) I then align the images - once mouse click, 60 seconds processing

5) I then applied the opacities to the images - 2 minutes.

6) I then made a copy

7) I then flattened the stack of images (left the copy unflattened)

8) Now I applied all my post processing, seems to work OK.

A little tip, Flickr and most other online photogalleries add contrast to your images so I really add a lot of negative contrast to the image before uploading... upload testing will show you how much to do.

Thanks Rudy - but I still do not see where you enlarged the image to 8000 pixels wide.  I assume you did that early on, but perhaps I'm wrong and you did that as part of Step 8?!!!  If so, wouldn't it have been better to start big?

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RudyPohl
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Re: Superb!
In reply to kkardster, Feb 7, 2013

kkardster wrote:

RudyPohl wrote:

kkardster wrote:

Between which steps do you recommend the enlargement of the images should occur?

And should any PP be performed on the enlargements prior to stacking? [I remember a NoRule's post where he did some sharpening of over-sized images, then reduced them at some point in the process to a still larger-than-original final size.]

-- hide signature --

You learn something new every time you press the shutter

Hi KK:

I don't know what the right answer is but here what I did on this image, and on the same image I added later with a little PPing.

1) My Photoshop 5 won't open RW2 files so I have to convert the all first using Adobe free DNG conversion tool (creates DNG file which are "digitial negative images which most software can use)

2) I opned each DNG file in Photoshop which then automatically switch to ACR (Adobe Camera Raw). I did not apply any post processing I merely saved it to a Photoshop 5 file.

3) I then stacked all 11 images (I used Adobe Bridge to do this in seconds.

4) I then align the images - once mouse click, 60 seconds processing

5) I then applied the opacities to the images - 2 minutes.

6) I then made a copy

7) I then flattened the stack of images (left the copy unflattened)

8) Now I applied all my post processing, seems to work OK.

A little tip, Flickr and most other online photogalleries add contrast to your images so I really add a lot of negative contrast to the image before uploading... upload testing will show you how much to do.

Thanks Rudy - but I still do not see where you enlarged the image to 8000 pixels wide. I assume you did that early on, but perhaps I'm wrong and you did that as part of Step 8?!!! If so, wouldn't it have been better to start big?

Oh yea, you're right, sorry. I did the enlargement right after the flattening and before applying any PPing. I assumed that any defects and artifacts produced by PPing would be enlarged in the enlargement process, so I made it bigger first, then applied the denoising, sharpening and vibrance.

Rudy

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kkardster
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Re: Superb!
In reply to RudyPohl, Feb 7, 2013

RudyPohl wrote:

Oh yea, you're right, sorry. I did the enlargement right after the flattening and before applying any PPing. I assumed that any defects and artifacts produced by PPing would be enlarged in the enlargement process, so I made it bigger first, then applied the denoising, sharpening and vibrance.

OK - thanks!  However, you've prompted additional questions:

Would it have been more effective to do the denoising before enlarging?  i.e Is it better to enlarge a clean image vs. a dirty one?

Is it possible that some of the enlarged noise may no longer be "seen" as noise and thus not be removed from the enlarged image?

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lapdog99
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Re: FZ200 - Great Grey Owl, 11 stacked RAW images, enlarged to 8000 pixels wide
In reply to NoRules, Feb 7, 2013

A very wide shot selection indeed!

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