Author Topic: Helicon Focus  (Read 4085 times)

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Nato

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Helicon Focus
« on: April 20, 2010, 02:51:11 AM »
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  In the 4-18 Weekend Update which I just finished reading delamize asked about programs that allow sharp focus in foreground and background. Best one is Helicon Focus (Hell and Gone) as I call it. It is available as both freeware and more complete non freeware programs. The photos that I have posted taken by my friend Bob Gilmore use this process.You take a series of shots with fore ground, then middle ground then background in focus. Helicon is then used to stack the images ,much like amature Astronomers,(another of my hobbies) do for deep space shots. You combine images with foreground,midground,and background that are in focus. Nate Goodman (Nato). Salt Lake, Utah.

DKS

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Re: Helicon Focus
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2010, 08:26:31 AM »
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FWIW, I posted a few tips on using Helicon Focus here: http://whiteriverandnorthern.net/detail_13.htm
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
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sizemore

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Re: Helicon Focus
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2010, 08:38:07 AM »
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You can also use CombineZM which is free, but not as robust as Helicon Focus...did I mention it's free?

The S.

tom mann

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Re: Helicon Focus
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2010, 08:40:16 AM »
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<moderator TO DO:  insert Ed's mandatory comments about why one doesn't need Helicon>

 :)

DKS

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Re: Helicon Focus
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2010, 08:48:26 AM »
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You can also use CombineZM which is free, but not as robust as Helicon Focus...did I mention it's free?

Yes, it's free, and I've tried it. A real PITA to use. IMHO, Helicon is well worth the asking price given its ease of use alone, aside from the great results it produces.
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
                                       —Monty Python

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Helicon Focus
« Reply #5 on: April 20, 2010, 09:14:26 AM »
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Helicon is then used to stack the images ,much like amature Astronomers,(another of my hobbies) do for deep space shots. You combine images with foreground,midground,and background that are in focus. Nate Goodman (Nato). Salt Lake, Utah.

Not sure about the astronomy analogy here.  All astronomical subjects are effectively at infinity and the telescope is focused accordingly.  Stacking is indeed used, but for different purposes, e.g. to beat down noise to reveal faint objects (equivalent to taking a very long exposure - I think that's what you had in mind Nate).  It's also used to search for time variable sources like supernovae; but in that case, images taken some time apart are subtracted, not added.

sizemore

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Re: Helicon Focus
« Reply #6 on: April 20, 2010, 10:31:59 AM »
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You can also use CombineZM which is free, but not as robust as Helicon Focus...did I mention it's free?

Yes, it's free, and I've tried it. A real PITA to use. IMHO, Helicon is well worth the asking price given its ease of use alone, aside from the great results it produces.

I haven't had any times where it's really a PITA.... I get the halo's but then I just throw it in PS and C&P what I need then feather it into the stacked image.

The S.

AlkemScaleModels

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Re: Helicon Focus
« Reply #7 on: April 20, 2010, 10:54:14 AM »
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Helicon is then used to stack the images ,much like amature Astronomers,(another of my hobbies) do for deep space shots. You combine images with foreground,midground,and background that are in focus. Nate Goodman (Nato). Salt Lake, Utah.

Not sure about the astronomy analogy here.  All astronomical subjects are effectively at infinity and the telescope is focused accordingly.  Stacking is indeed used, but for different purposes, e.g. to beat down noise to reveal faint objects (equivalent to taking a very long exposure - I think that's what you had in mind Nate).  It's also used to search for time variable sources like supernovae; but in that case, images taken some time apart are subtracted, not added.


Perhaps a better example would be photo microscopy.

DKS

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Re: Helicon Focus
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2010, 11:06:58 AM »
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Helicon is then used to stack the images ,much like amature Astronomers,(another of my hobbies) do for deep space shots. You combine images with foreground,midground,and background that are in focus. Nate Goodman (Nato). Salt Lake, Utah.

Not sure about the astronomy analogy here.  All astronomical subjects are effectively at infinity and the telescope is focused accordingly.  Stacking is indeed used, but for different purposes, e.g. to beat down noise to reveal faint objects (equivalent to taking a very long exposure - I think that's what you had in mind Nate).  It's also used to search for time variable sources like supernovae; but in that case, images taken some time apart are subtracted, not added.


Perhaps a better example would be photo microscopy.

Yes, indeed, IIRC, that was the driving force for the creation of CombineZ (and probably Helicon). The examples shown on the Helicon site are mostly microscopy-related. CombineZ can be set up to run with macros for automated image processing, which is how it's used where I work.
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
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Ed Kapuscinski

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Re: Helicon Focus
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2010, 11:12:34 AM »
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<moderator TO DO:  insert Ed's mandatory comments about why one doesn't need Helicon>

 :)

Thanks for taking care of that for me! :)

DKS

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Re: Helicon Focus
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2010, 11:21:08 AM »
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You can also use CombineZM which is free, but not as robust as Helicon Focus...did I mention it's free?

Yes, it's free, and I've tried it. A real PITA to use. IMHO, Helicon is well worth the asking price given its ease of use alone, aside from the great results it produces.

I haven't had any times where it's really a PITA.... I get the halo's but then I just throw it in PS and C&P what I need then feather it into the stacked image.

The S.

I don't get it. Photoshop costs hundreds, so why quibble over the price of Helicon? It's cheap in the grand scheme of things.
"Life's a piece of sh!t when you look at it."
                                       —Monty Python

GaryHinshaw

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Re: Helicon Focus
« Reply #11 on: April 20, 2010, 11:23:29 AM »
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Perhaps a better example would be photo microscopy.

Agreed.  As David notes, that seemed to be the motivating application.

So if they're doing photo-microscopy, we must be doing photo-miniscopy.   :)

Nato

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Re: Helicon Focus
« Reply #12 on: April 20, 2010, 12:09:27 PM »
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   Stacking in Astronomy is also taking images in different waveleingths IE: H Alpha and sometimes with different color filters . Yes most objects are at infininity unless you ar shooting Lunar or Planetary images.Also the leingth of time the exposurer is taken at brings out different details. CCD chip technology that amatures can afford in miniturized sizes have led to the boom in digital amature astro photos,also small web cams which are now used to shoot planetary images the best of these are stacked witha program called "Registax".Nate Goodman (Nato).

sizemore

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Re: Helicon Focus
« Reply #13 on: April 20, 2010, 12:15:11 PM »
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You can also use CombineZM which is free, but not as robust as Helicon Focus...did I mention it's free?

Yes, it's free, and I've tried it. A real PITA to use. IMHO, Helicon is well worth the asking price given its ease of use alone, aside from the great results it produces.

I haven't had any times where it's really a PITA.... I get the halo's but then I just throw it in PS and C&P what I need then feather it into the stacked image.

The S.

I don't get it. Photoshop costs hundreds, so why quibble over the price of Helicon? It's cheap in the grand scheme of things.

Who says anyone paid for it? There are business's and organizations that have Enterprise License agreements where things like Photoshop can be had for "work related use" on the home PC. However Helicon Focus may not be under an ELA, thus requiring an end-user to license it and subsequently the end-user looks for freeware. So quibble I will :)

The S.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2010, 12:25:46 PM by sizemore »

AlkemScaleModels

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Re: Helicon Focus
« Reply #14 on: April 20, 2010, 03:56:43 PM »
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The latest versions of Photoshop have focus stacking as built in features. I think they call it auto align and auto blend. I tired a couple tests and it worked, but not as well as Helicon. Need to experiment more with PS CS4 before i say it's not good.