Nature Notes

February 6, 2009

Increasing Depth of Field (CS4)

Filed under: Photoshop Tutorial — Tags: , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am

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One of the new features in Photoshop CS4 is the ability to Increase the Depth of Field of a final image by composing multiple images of the same subject taken at different points of focus.

In order to test this I set up some sophisticated and expensive equipment. I jammed three pens into a cardboard box. I used a Canon 180mm Macro lens which has a very small depth of field and took three images, manually focusing on each of the pens in turn. The processing is as follows:

  • I stacked the three images as layers.  Files>>Scripts>>Load files into Stacks (Check “Attempt to automatically Align Source Images”)
  • Click on the three layers in the layers view to select them
  • Edit>>Autoblend Layers (Check Stack Images and Seamless Tones and Colors)

Photoshop makes masks of each, choosing those parts that have the most detail. The resulting image is below.

Resulting Image

Resulting Image

A pretty good result although it was admittedly not a tough test. I did a quick test with a more complex landscape scene, and there were a few small things that needed cleanup after.

Some things to keep in mind:

  1. While Photoshop will align the images, you want them very close. Use a tripod, mirror lockup, shutter release.. anything to keep a tight precise result.
  2. This is a very memory intensive operation. I reduced the files to 6mg and 8 bit to make it easier. This becomes even more important with larger number of files stacked.
  3. You can also stack the images in Bridge and use the Edit>>Align Layers Command in Photoshop.

Macro shooters should find this feature very useful.

Index to Photoshop Tutorials.

This tutorial is a part of the Photoshop Workflow Series


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