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I would like to stack  several images together but still have complete access to the underlying layers. I'm taking close up photos of flowers in the field, using several images to produce one composite that is acceptably sharp throughout despite the handicaps of having a moving subject. 

I take a series of close ups of the different parts of a flower and then stitch them together.

I've tried using the Stack option but the image that is produced is often missing part of my information since the images do not line up one in front of the other and the resulting image has a non-standard aspect ratio.

 I've also tried using the Panorama option but here, I cannot find a way to access the layers and their layer masks individually. I've seen the brushes that allow you to paint in a mask, but find them extremely difficult to use since a good part of each image is hidden behind another. Since the flowers move as I'm often having to do this outdoors in windy conditions, Focus Merge yields too many ghosts. 

Any ideas? I would like to have a stack or panorama of images which shows the all the image information that I have and also the underlying layers. I can do this is PS photomerge if I uncheck the option to merge the images together. How could I accomplish this in Affinity?

Thanks! 

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Cindy -

In order for a focus merge to work well, it's important to frame your subject and then focus in closer and closer with each shot.  Focusing on separate aspects of your subject will prevent the software from successfully merging the images for you, forcing you to merge them manually.  In order for the panorama stitching to work, there must be enough overlap of the images for the software to figure out what fits where.  Using a tripod improves your odds with both panos and stacks, helping the software align the images properly.

You would be better off to find a means of shielding your subject from wind and then framing the subject to fit and take progressively closer images.

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Thanks maspick. Unfortunately, I am restricted to working under less than ideal conditions. Is there a way to access the layers and corresponding masks in a panorama? Or, alternatively, is there a way to get a stack of images to show the full extent of the information that I have inputted?

Thanks!

 

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19 hours ago, cindyw said:

I take a series of close ups of the different parts of a flower and then stitch them together.

I've tried using the Stack option but the image that is produced is often missing part of my information since the images do not line up one in front of the other and the resulting image has a non-stsndard aspect ratio.

 

In theory you should be able to use a panorama stack. However you need to ensure that you have covered the entire subject. You will need to use a tripod, and a good tripod head that allows you to take  series of images that scan first horizontally, then another series the next row down etc. You need to ensure that your images overlap both vertically and horizontally. Because of the movement of your subject, I would suggest that you take several shots at each position and then select the one with good overlaps with adjacent images.

If your subject has too much depth of field, then you could take several shots at each position at different focus points. You could focus merge these first for each group before a panorama merge.

As @maspick suggests, it would make your life a lot easier if you could find some means of keeping your subject still. You could use a Wimberly Plamp to hold stems, or use a muslin cage to keep the wind off.

John


Windows 10, Affinity Photo 1.8,3 Designer 1.8.3 and Publisher 1.8.3 (mainly Photo), now ex-Adobe CC

CPU: AMD A6-3670. RAM: 16 GB DDR3 @ 666MHz, Graphics: 2047MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 630

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Thanks for your thoughtful reply, John.

Using the Panorama option would indeed well work for me if I could access the individual layers and layer masks so I could make changes as needed. I can see the layer brush option, but since my layers are stacked one over the other, I find that difficult to work with. Any idea if the individual layers can me accessed like the can with a simple Stack?

Unfortunately, as this an adjunct to my main project of photographing hummingbirds in flight, I'm often short on time and equipment and simply wandering in someone else's garden, so the very good suggestions about how to hold my subject still are not a good option for me. 

Here is a sample of my work, for reference. 

 

CostaRicaLosDelfines_2017-10-14_16992_1.jpg

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21 hours ago, cindyw said:

Unfortunately, as this an adjunct to my main project of photographing hummingbirds in flight ...

Of no help to you but I am very curious about the shutter speed you are using to freeze the wings so well in your sample. Was a ring flash or the like used as well? 


Affinity Photo 1.8.3, Affinity Designer 1.8.3, Affinity Publisher 1.8.3; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 
1.8.3.180 & Affinity Designer 1.8.3.2 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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I take it that your aim is to produce an image showing both the hummingbird and the flower in focus. I'm not familiar with hummingbrds in the flesh but one techchique which moth-photographers use is:

  • Learn which flowers the hummingbirds prefer and find a position in which you can hold the camera firmly. 
  • Stay in position and take several photographs of the flower using various focus planes.
  • Re-focus to a point just in front of the flower, where you hope the hummingbird will be.
  • Wait and hope that a hummingbird turns up while you are focussed on that plane.
  • Photograph the hummingbird!

In post-processing you can bring your flower images together for a focus stack.

Having saved your focus-stacked composite, bring it into a stack with your hummingbird image, using align.

Use a mask to erase the flower parts of your hummingbird layer revealing the in-focus flower.

Note that when I refer to moth-photographers, I am referring to day--flying moths such as the Hummingbird Hawkmoth.

John

 


Windows 10, Affinity Photo 1.8,3 Designer 1.8.3 and Publisher 1.8.3 (mainly Photo), now ex-Adobe CC

CPU: AMD A6-3670. RAM: 16 GB DDR3 @ 666MHz, Graphics: 2047MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 630

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1 hour ago, John Rostron said:

I'm not familiar with hummingbrds in the flesh ...

In my youth, there were Mimosa trees in our yard that attracted lots of tiny hummingbirds, so I am very familiar with them & their amazing flight abilities. If you are not,  this article may interest you, & explain why I asked about the wings in the sample photo.

The article explains how fast they can beat their wings & how quickly they can change direction & dart around unpredictably, but I don't think there is any substitute for seeing them do it in the flesh to fully appreciate the challenges of photographing them.

EDIT: This YouTube video includes some 1000 fps (!!) high speed research footage of a hummingbird feeding from a stationary feeder in a wind tunnel with constant speed winds, up to 20 mph. It is pretty impressive but imagine seeing one feed from wispy Mimosa tree blossoms in gusty winds when both the blooms & bird are constantly moving around by as much as 4 or 5 inches in nearly perfect sync.

This was one of the most amazing, unforgettable things I ever saw as a child.


Affinity Photo 1.8.3, Affinity Designer 1.8.3, Affinity Publisher 1.8.3; macOS Mojave 10.14.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
Affinity Photo 
1.8.3.180 & Affinity Designer 1.8.3.2 for iPad; 6th Generation iPad 32 GB; Apple Pencil; iPadOS 13.3.1

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On 10/17/2018 at 5:20 PM, R C-R said:

Of no help to you but I am very curious about the shutter speed you are using to freeze the wings so well in your sample. Was a ring flash or the like used as well? 

 

10 hours ago, R C-R said:

In my youth, there were Mimosa trees in our yard that attracted lots of tiny hummingbirds, so I am very familiar with them & their amazing flight abilities. If you are not,  this article may interest you, & explain why I asked about the wings in the sample photo.

The article explains how fast they can beat their wings & how quickly they can change direction & dart around unpredictably, but I don't think there is any substitute for seeing them do it in the flesh to fully appreciate the challenges of photographing them.

EDIT: This YouTube video includes some 1000 fps (!!) high speed research footage of a hummingbird feeding from a stationary feeder in a wind tunnel with constant speed winds, up to 20 mph. It is pretty impressive but imagine seeing one feed from wispy Mimosa tree blossoms in gusty winds when both the blooms & bird are constantly moving around by as much as 4 or 5 inches in nearly perfect sync.

This was one of the most amazing, unforgettable things I ever saw as a child.

Just got a chance to see the article you refer to. Very interesting. As you might guess, we are obsessed with hummingbirds but I had not see that article before.

Seeing that mimosa tree full of little jewels must have been an amazing sight indeed! 

Not sure you received my earlier reply since its not sowing up here. We use up to 14 strobes to freeze the action rather than the camera shutter. Here is a shot explanation of how we do it.

https://focusfrogstore.com/pages/what-we-do

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11 hours ago, John Rostron said:

I take it that your aim is to produce an image showing both the hummingbird and the flower in focus. I'm not familiar with hummingbrds in the flesh but one techchique which moth-photographers use is:

  • Learn which flowers the hummingbirds prefer and find a position in which you can hold the camera firmly. 
  • Stay in position and take several photographs of the flower using various focus planes.
  • Re-focus to a point just in front of the flower, where you hope the hummingbird will be.
  • Wait and hope that a hummingbird turns up while you are focussed on that plane.
  • Photograph the hummingbird!

In post-processing you can bring your flower images together for a focus stack.

Having saved your focus-stacked composite, bring it into a stack with your hummingbird image, using align.

Use a mask to erase the flower parts of your hummingbird layer revealing the in-focus flower.

Note that when I refer to moth-photographers, I am referring to day--flying moths such as the Hummingbird Hawkmoth.

John

 

Thanks for sharing your moth technique, John. It's one that I had not heard before. Very interesting. I'll certainly see what I can adapt to hummingbirds. We actually use a set-up with 14 flashes. It takes an average of 3000 shots to get one good one of these fast flying birds, so we actually feed them to persuade them to come to our set-up. We photograph the flowers separately and then work on a composite image. I tried to focus stack the flowers but because I'm forced to photograph them in the field under often windy conditions, the focus stack leaves too many ghosts. I would be ok with that if I could access the individual layers and their masks as I can in PS so I can touch up as needed. Do you know of a way to use Affinity Photo to access the layers and masks of a focus stack or a panorama like you can in a simple stack? 

Thanks again,

Cindy

 

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9 hours ago, cindyw said:

Do you know of a way to use Affinity Photo to access the layers and masks of a focus stack or a panorama like you can in a simple stack? 

@cindyw I tend to read these forums on my tablet, without access to my desktop. I have now returned to some focus stacks I did earlier. My recollection was that once the stacking had been done, all I had to do was to ungroup the image stack and the individual components would be revealed (right-click, select Ungroup). However I find that this is greyed out so I cannot do that. It could be that my memory is playing me tricks and this is what used to happen in photoshop.

@R C-R, when I said that I was not familiar with hummingbirds in the flesh, I really should have said not familiar with them in the wild (never having crossed the pond). I have seen them in captivity and taught students about their tricks and techniques.

John


Windows 10, Affinity Photo 1.8,3 Designer 1.8.3 and Publisher 1.8.3 (mainly Photo), now ex-Adobe CC

CPU: AMD A6-3670. RAM: 16 GB DDR3 @ 666MHz, Graphics: 2047MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 630

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On 10/19/2018 at 10:28 AM, John Rostron said:

@cindyw I tend to read these forums on my tablet, without access to my desktop. I have now returned to some focus stacks I did earlier. My recollection was that once the stacking had been done, all I had to do was to ungroup the image stack and the individual components would be revealed (right-click, select Ungroup). However I find that this is greyed out so I cannot do that. It could be that my memory is playing me tricks and this is what used to happen in photoshop.

@R C-R, when I said that I was not familiar with hummingbirds in the flesh, I really should have said not familiar with them in the wild (never having crossed the pond). I have seen them in captivity and taught students about their tricks and techniques.

John

Hi John,

I've been traveling and had not had access to Affinity until now. Let me try to explain more clearly.

I have a iPad 2. Totally useless for this project.

1. When I try to create an Affinity stack on my desktop I can indeed see the component layers. However, not all the information I have provided is shown. Affinity has cropped my image so that I have lost part of the information. In this example it is the stem of the flower that is missing as you can see below.

2. If I produce a panorama, Affinity gives me access to the full range of the files that I provided including the flower stem in this example, but, because of the nature of what I am trying to do, they are stacked on top of each other so that I cannot see the underlying info unless I click through them. There is no layers panel available. 

3. Trying a Focus merge, the layers panel is available but only shows one pixel layer without access to the underlying layers. Because I am shooting moving objects since I often have to photograph in windy conditions (our last location was on a mountain top at 9300 feet), the resulting image has way too many ghosts which make it impossible to work with.

What I've been doing up to now is using the Photoshop Photomerge and simply unchecking the Blend Images together option. This produces individual layers which are aligned but are fully available for me to mask as needed. 

 

2Panorama copy.jpg

1Stack copy.jpg

3FocusMerge copy.jpg

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All I think that I can say is "Good Luck!". I hope that others on this forum can be more helpful.

John


Windows 10, Affinity Photo 1.8,3 Designer 1.8.3 and Publisher 1.8.3 (mainly Photo), now ex-Adobe CC

CPU: AMD A6-3670. RAM: 16 GB DDR3 @ 666MHz, Graphics: 2047MB NVIDIA GeForce GT 630

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