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How-To: Create Focus Merged Images

When shooting a photo where you want a lot of depth of focus but you are shooting in a situation that doesn’t allow you to produce your desired output with one shot, Focus Stacking may be your salvation.  It allows you to shoot several images of the same subject, focusing at a different distance each time and finally combining the images to make one image in which all the subject is in good focus.  A common use of this is in macro photography, where the depth of focus is very shallow.

For our example, we used a Tokina 100mm Macro lens on a tripod to shoot four shots of a small Christmas token for a calendar.  Each of the shots focused at a different distance, starting from the front. Step through the images at right to see the four shots and the final merged photo.  Create Tif files from whatever you shoot for processing.

For the merging process, we used Enfuse.exe, one of the Panorama Tools that is part of the Hugin Panaorama software (available free at SourceForge).  We ran the Enfuse program from a Command window in the folder containing our images.  To open the Command window on your folder just hold down the Shift key and right-click and select Open Command Widow Here.  Then use the command: "C:\Program Files (x86)\Hugin\bin\enfuse.exe" --exposure-weight=0 --saturation-weight=0 --contrast-weight=1 --hard-mask --verbose --output=3-merged.tif filename*.tif
Include the quotes and substitute your filename.  The “*” supposes that your files have a common number scheme.  The output will be the file merged.tif (you can substitute your name in the command line).  You can just copy and paste the command from here to the command window and edit as necessary.

Note:  The command is based on the default installation of Hugin software.  If you installed to a different location, just edit the path to the command as necessary.