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    Focus Stacking: how to extend depth of field when shooting close up

    | Photoshop Tutorials | Tutorials | 18/05/2013 01:00am
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    Shooting anything up close requires incredible patience and extreme precision. If your close-up photography isn’t sharp then you’re not only wasting pictures, but you’ve wasted hours of your time. In this in-depth tutorial we’ll show you how to use one of the most amazing Photoshop effects macro and close-up photographers can use: focus stacking.

    Below we’ll show you step-by-step how to extend depth of field when shooting close-up by shifting your point of focus in multiple images, which you’ll later stitch together so you can produce images that are sharp throughout the frame.

    Focus Stacking: how to extend depth of field when shooting close up

    One of the best things about close-up photography is the wonderful softness that results from working with such a shallow depth of field.

    Even at the smallest apertures the plane of focus will stretch to a couple of centimetres at most, and anything outside this range will fall off into beautiful bokeh.

    At times, however, this can be a problem –especially if you’d like a completely sharp subject. Stopping down the aperture will increase depth of field, but sometimes this simply isn’t enough to achieve sharpness across the subject from front to back.

    The solution: fix the camera to a tripod and shoot several frames, each with a small shift in focus, then use Photoshop to combine the sharp areas to create a single pin-sharp image.

    How to create a focus stacking effect: step 1 How to create a focus stacking effect How to create a focus stacking effect How to create a focus stacking effect How to create a focus stacking effect

    We’ll begin with a series of shots of a flower, captured with tiny incremental shifts in focus. We’ll make global adjustments to all the images at once in Camera Raw, then combine the sharp parts using the Auto-Blend command in Photoshop CS.

    Macro subjects usually look best against clean uncluttered backgrounds, but this isn’t always easy to achieve when searching for the best angle.

    We’ll neaten up our finished flower by creating a new colour co-ordinated background, then use the Clone tool to remove a few messy areas. Finally, we’ll utilise the High Pass filter for a great sharpening technique that works wonders on edges.

    How to create a focus stacking effect: steps 1-2

    How to create a focus stacking effect: step 1

    01 Open in Camera Raw
    Copy your start files into a folder on your hard drive, then open Adobe Bridge and go to the folder. Highlight the first image, then hold Shift and click the last one to select them all. Right-click over them and choose Open in Adobe Camera Raw to open the whole batch.

     

    How to create a focus stacking effect: step 2

    02 Remove the sensor mark
    Click Select All at the top left. Now any changes will affect all the images. First let’s deal with the sensor mark on the left. Grab the Spot Removal tool from the Tools palette, set Type to Heal and Opacity to 100%, then drag a small circle over the mark to remove it.

    PAGE 1: How to create a focus stacking effect: steps 1-2
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    READ MORE

    10 reasons your photos aren’t sharp (and how to fix them)
    34 Photoshop effects every photographer must try once
    Crop photos the right way: classic mistakes and how to avoid them
    Adobe Lightroom: what every photographer needs to know about the ‘alternative Photoshop’


    Posted on Saturday, May 18th, 2013 at 1:00 am under Photoshop Tutorials, Tutorials.

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