There is many image processing software which has features of focus stacking. Adobe Photoshop, Hellion Focus are the most widely known to photo editors and photographers. Both of this programs are commercial software and require to purchase licenses.
However, the most significant benefit is that they both provide 30-day free trial licenses with all the features. Today I am going to discuss how to do focus stacking using Helicon Focus. You may know I have posted some previous tutorials on focus stacking using Photoshop. Please follow those tutorials if you want to learn focus stacking using Photoshop.
First, download trial version Helicon Focus. This software is suitable to run with both Mac and PC. Also, it has a range of Help Page, Instructional videos and a Forum where users can interact, ask questions and share their knowledge. The creator of this company have many software’s, but I only tried this stacking tool.
You need to provide the software RAW files of your images. In the beginning, images are converted to DNG. The good news is; Adobe offers a free DNG converter that you can download. You can use this tool to convert your RAW files to DNG Format before exporting them in Helicon Focus. Here is the process of focus stacking–
You can create a stack by yourself or use Helicon Remote to control your camera. Through this tool, your camera will automatically create a stack. It will give you higher image reset. Then follow the process following to generate a stack-
- Set the camera to manual focusing mode and set focus to infinity
- Adjust the lenses to make the close subject sharp
- Take your shot
- Change the focus further away from the first shot
- Take another shot
- Follow these process until you cover all area of focus
- Transfer the images from the camera to the computer
Open all the images in Helicon focus. You can do that by opening Helicon Focus. Go to the menu, quick launch or desktop icon. Then Browse to the folder you have copied the images. Then select all the files and open them in Helicon Stack. You can choose multiple files which are using the Open File Dialog.
You can change the rendering method, radius, and smoothing. In most cases, the default values before rendering. Default settings work well, but in some cases, you can improve the result by changing the parameters according to your need.
Indeed, I hope this will get you started with focus stacking using Helicon Stack. This software has unique features only for stacking. You can consider buying this if you are regularly doing focus stacking. It makes your life easier.