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Focus Stacking Tutorial for Photoshop CS5

Photoshop Focus Stacking Tutorial

This tutorial is available for download in PDF format with RAW sample images at the following location:

http://penzer.s3.amazonaws.com/PUBLIC/ShawnKent_Tutorials/ShawnKent-net_Focus_Stacking_Tutorial.zip

File Size: 216MB – File type: Zip Archive – Contains: PDF, Sample NEF files, Example PSD

This tutorial is also on youtube here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Lvmd_IMExs

Introduction

One of the greatest challenges in macro photography is dealing with depth of field issues. In my line of work I often have to provide technical photographs of circuitry. I typically use a top of the line macro lens like theĀ Nikon AF-S Micro-NIKKOR 105mm, for these photographs. Even though this lens produces amazing images, I am forever striking a balance between elaborate lighting setups and limited depth of field (DOF). Presuming I even produce enough light to shoot at the maximum DOF of f32 for this lens, I still find at these extreme close-ups depth of field can be an issue.

Thankfully post processing techniques provide us with a tool that makes all of this a bit easier. Focus stacking is not that different than HDR. In essence we are taking several images with one variable adjusted (in this case focus) to create one image. The result is an image that gives a resultant image with greater depth of field than the source image.

This technique can be used in all sorts of macro photography, from nature photographs to microscopy. Thankfully the technique is made painfully simple with modern imaging tools. There are a number of tools that can achieve these results (CombineZM, Helicon Focus, Magnification, etc.) however we are going to use Photoshop CS5 for this tutorial.
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