Focus Stacking in Photoshop; a useful but not error free method to attain greater depth of field.
I am always late to the party! Usually I go years and years with my old ways (and old tools) of doing things. Maybe I am not alone in this, and you also are like this?
In that case, I present you with a handy little tip for shooting smaller objects with a macro lens. (Or other situation, where your depth of field is just not enough.)
Especially when you shoot objects that are meant to be isolated on white, it is very annoying if it is not in focus from front to back.
Because blurred transitions are just NO good for isolating and making clipping paths.
So. Focus Stacking. A term, I myself only learned today
Lets do it:
1. Shoot as many pictures as you think you need to get all parts of your object(s) in focus. (In my case I shot 3)
2. Go to photoshop > File > Scripts > Load files into stack…
3. Choose the files you need, and do not forget to check the ‘Attempt to Automatically align source images’. For me this is the best part of the process, because when you change your focus, you also change a bit where your objects are, this function deals with that rather good:
4. Select all the Layers > Edit > Auto-Blend Layers:
5. Choose > Stack Images and check: Seamless Tones and Colors
6. Watch for the magic to happen… and find out, just like I did, that this feature is not very error free!
7. Fear not, the process made us some handy layer masks, in which we can easily adjust the areas where something went wrong.
Use a brush, or select tool, and clean it up as much as you want to.
That is it.
I am not completely sure if I will really use the whole process for all this sort of work. It might be that I will mainly use the ‘Load files in Stack’ and ‘Attempt to Automatically align source images’, and do the masking myself from scratch. Because to be honest, the masks photoshop came up with, sort of confused me, and it took some time to find out where I needed to change what, in order to get a really good result.
Have fun with making truly useful ‘Isolated on white’ shots!