Focus Stacking with Adobe Photoshop

Macro photographer usually use this technique for capturing the detail like fly eyes because they need great magnification. But great magnification usually comes with thin DOF (so some details will be out of focus but they want the details still in focus). In order to increase depth of field we can set the aperture become large number such as f/22, but we need to use tripod to make sure our photo is free of handshake. Even we use tripod, we also still need to keep the shutter speed as fast as possible in order to freeze small movement from the object. Anyway for magnification bigger than one, sometimes even with small aperture we also can’t cover all the area so in the end we still need software to combine/stack the focus area.

There are several software that can be used for stacking photo such as:

– CombineZ5, CombineZM, CombineZP

– Helicon Focus

-Zerene Stacker

-Adobe Photoshop

But for this article, I just describe focus stacking with Adobe Photoshop…

In this tutorial, I use 5 photos with different focus area (if I use more than 5 photos maybe the result will be better).

Because each photo has different alignment, so in the beginning I use Photoshop to align the photo. In order to align the photo we can use File->Scripts->Load Files into Stack.

Then we can get 5 layers (photos) with the same alignment, we can crop or do some minor editing to create 5 photos with the same alignment.

Photo 1:

Photo 2:

Photo 3:

Photo 4:

Photo 5:

Then we can use Edit->Auto-Blend Layers, in the dialog box choose Stack Images and check Seamless Tones and Colors.

Photoshop will take time to process autoblend….

After that we will get the result like this one: (each photo has unique mask created by autoblend process)

The result after autoblend (with minor adjustment – I forget):

Final touch, and the result like below:


I almost forget to tell you that I use Adobe Photoshop CS 5 for this tutorial. I am not sure which version that already has autoblend features. Anyway, thanks for visiting my blog, comments are really appreciated.

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4 thoughts on “Focus Stacking with Adobe Photoshop

  1. This is the third tutorial I took today to learn how to stack/blend images for focus and it is the first one that worked. Thank you!

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