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stacker:docs:tutorials:tutorial001 [2011/04/15 04:40] (current)
rjlittlefield created
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 +====== Tutorial #1: Getting Started With Focus Stacking ======
 +
 +To get started with focus stacking, you’ll need four things:
 +
 +  * computer with Zerene Stacker software
 +  * digital camera that allows manual focusing
 +  * subject that doesn’t move
 +  * something to hold your camera steady
 +
 +Notice that it’s a short list.  Some people who do focus stacking use fancy cameras, expensive lenses, lighting setups worthy of a portrait studio, and elaborate positioning devices. ​ Maybe you’ll get there too.  But you certainly don’t need those things to get started and to make great pictures that you can’t get any other way. 
 +
 +For this first tutorial, let’s start by “playing with matches”. ​ Here’s what we’re going to end up with:
 +
 +{{:​stacker:​docs:​tutorials:​tutorial001:​image001.jpg}}
 +
 +Before focus stacking, this picture would have been very difficult to make.  But with Zerene Stacker, it’s easy. 
 +
 +Here’s the setup. ​ This is just a compact digital camera (Canon PowerShot A710) mounted on an ordinary tripod.
 +
 +{{:​stacker:​docs:​tutorials:​tutorial001:​image002.jpg}}
 +
 +Here is what the camera sees, when stopped down for maximum depth-of-field (DOF) and focused on the front and rear of our tabletop scene. ​ It’s obvious that the camera needs some help!
 +
 +{{:​stacker:​docs:​tutorials:​tutorial001:​image003.jpg}} {{:​stacker:​docs:​tutorials:​tutorial001:​image004.jpg}}
 +
 +To handle this problem, we simply set the camera on manual focus and shoot a series of pictures changing the focus point from front to back in small steps. ​ On this particular camera, we can see exactly what we’re doing on the camera’s LCD panel.
 +
 +{{:​stacker:​docs:​tutorials:​tutorial001:​image005.jpg}}
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 +To be sure we get everything in focus in some picture, we make small focus steps. ​ This example has a lot of depth, so we get a lot of pictures — 19 of them, in fact.
 +
 +After that, it’s easy!  We just load the 19 pictures into Zerene Stacker and select Stack > Align & Stack All (PMax). ​ Then we watch as the final image gets assembled. ​ When that’s done, we do a File > Save Output Image and we have the final picture, as shown at the start of this tutorial.
 +
 +At this point, you’re probably thinking, //"​That’s pretty simple! ​ But surely there must be more to it than that?"//​
 +
 +Well, that depends entirely on how deep you want to go.  Entire university theses have been written on small aspects of focus stacking. ​ In this first tutorial we’ve barely scratched the surface of Zerene Stacker’s capabilities. ​ But the small amount that we have covered so far is all you need to get started. ​ For a lot of photos, it’s all that you’ll ever need.
 +
 +Here is a quick summary of the main points in this first tutorial:
 +
 +  * Be sure the subject doesn’t move.
 +  * Shoot lots of pictures with small focus steps.
 +  * Use Align & Stack All (PMax)
 +
 +In the next tutorial, we’ll move on to other methods of shooting stacks. ​ Then we’ll talk about how to troubleshoot when things don’t go exactly as you wanted, and later we’ll move into more advanced techniques.
 +
 +[[tutorial002|Go on to Tutorial #2.]]
 +
  
stacker/docs/tutorials/tutorial001.txt · Last modified: 2011/04/15 04:40 by rjlittlefield
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