Plugin for stacking multiple images

Comments and discussions about 8bf plugins which can be use in various applications like Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro or Photo-Paint
ColinBanfield
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Plugin for stacking multiple images

Postby ColinBanfield » Sat Oct 15, 2005 8:59 pm

Hi,

Is there a good plugin available to automatically align and stack multiple images?

Thanks,

Colin

HaraldHeim
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Postby HaraldHeim » Sun Oct 16, 2005 1:19 pm

What exactly do you mean with align and stack?

ColinBanfield
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Postby ColinBanfield » Sun Oct 16, 2005 2:28 pm

I should have qualified my question a bit. I'm refering to images of a scene that are identical except for exposure. The idea is to stack up (combine) the images to expand the dymanic range of the scene. One image would have the highlights overexposed but show detail in the shadows. Another image would have the shadows underexposed but show detail in the highlights. Other images would show detail in-between the two extremes. The aligning function is required to ensure that the images line up with each other properly. A base image with reference alignment points could be used as the starting point. Other images may have to be shifted or rotated to achieve proper alignment with the base image.

HaraldHeim
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Postby HaraldHeim » Sun Oct 16, 2005 2:37 pm

You mean the scene was shot with different exposures, but without using a tripod, right?

Sorry, but I don't know of any tool or plugin that lets you align images by setting some reference points. Maybe we will see such a function in the next version of Photoshop or maybe some other company will release such a tool.

I have been thinking of adding such a feature to LightMachine or developing another plugins that lets you do it. But these are just ideas, which I'm currently not working on.

Maybe someone else knows such a tool?

ColinBanfield
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Postby ColinBanfield » Sun Oct 16, 2005 3:20 pm

Actually, you might be using a tripod, depending on the application. For example, in astrophotography, you're tracking an object across the sky over a period of time (which could be short or long) and taking exposures along the way. To get a good exposure of the Orion Nebula, for example, you might take one two-minute exposure, one 3-minute exposure and one four-minute exposure. The alignment function would ensure that the exposures are aligned properly.

Another application of the alignment/stacking function that I didn't mention, but also related to astrophotography (or any very low light photography for that matter) is taking multiple exposures of dim objects to reduce the noise that would be generated by a single long exposure. There are several standalone programs designed for the above purposes. The only plugin that I've seen that might work (have to try the demo) is the Tone Mapping plug-in from Photomatix: http://www.hdrsoft.com/

It would be fantastic if you could create such a tool as described that can be used for general photography as well as astrophotography.

ColinBanfield
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Postby ColinBanfield » Tue Oct 18, 2005 12:05 am

Incidentally, another application for the aligning and stacking feature is combining multiple images from a scanner to reduce noise. Often with multi pass scanning there's a pixel or 3 difference between subsequent passes, unless the scanning software has a feature to accurately register the individual scans.

Koosla
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Postby Koosla » Thu Oct 27, 2005 10:31 pm

Actually, there's one (that I know of, at least): Reindeer Optipix 3 (http://www.reindeergraphics.com/optipix/). It's a set of plug-ins, some of which are designed to do what you want: Blend Exposures will take the current image and blend it with the one you would have previously set using Setup 2nd Image, to obtain another one with increased dynamic range. Then there are several buffering functions to add a series of identically exposed images and stack them through simple averaging; the result will be an image with reduced noise, provided the series of images were really different takes of the same scene, and a tripod was used.

If you hadn't the luxury of a tripod, or if the images were misaligned due to any other reason, there's another function to align images using one of them as reference. This function provides you with sub-pixel alignment and several blending modes (one of them being "Difference", just like the one in Photoshop) to help you visualize the correct realignment. But this function is not as advanced as the one in Photomatix: it has neither automatic alignment, nor control points or rotation. In other words, it might be pretty much as good for realigning scanned images, where only X,Y displacement is to be expected, but it's no good for hand-held series of photos.

There are other functions in this plug-in set, most of them related to either sharpening, noise, or blurring. They're kind of... useful, but not terribly innovative.

AstroDon
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Image stacking plugin

Postby AstroDon » Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:28 pm

Might be wrong but I believe Colin is asking if there is a plugin that will allow us to stack many (dozens or even hundreds) images to create one high detail less noisy image. There are a couple of decent stand alone programs available, 'RegiStax' & 'AstroStack', but it would be nice if we could do this in Photoshop.

An example(s) of stacking astro images is here;

http://www.astrostack.com/



Don, Toronto


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