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Photographic Multishot Techniques: High Dynamic Range, Super-Resolution, Extended Depth of Field, Stitching Paperback – Feb 7 2009
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About the Author
Juergen Gulbins has extensive experience in writing, technology, desktop publishing, designing high-end document archival systems, and digital photography. He is a prolific author who has written and translated books on topics such as CAD, Unix, DTP, typography, Internet, document management, Linux, and various aspects of digital photography. He has been a passionate photographer most of his life.
Top Customer Reviews
Overall it's a great book and one o the few post production books iv been able to read cover to cover. Being said I'm sure a lot of this info is available on line I just find it convenient to have everything in book form (and it makes me look smart when clients come over) another great book is photoshop for photographers by Martin Evening
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
After a discussion of the general workflow for multishot processes the authors explore super-resolution, which allows the combination of several successive images to create an image with greater resolution then the native resolution of the taking camera; focus stacking, which combines several images of a single subject at different focusing distance to achieve a deeper field of sharp focus; stitching, which allows the combination of several different images to achieve a broader or higher picture then a single image; and high dynamic range photography which allows the photographer to expand the range of light beyond that normally captured by a digital camera. The authors also discuss methods of achieving a greater degree of contrast between the parts of a captured image which makes for a more vibrant picture. This last technique does not involve multiple images, but the authors discuss special software to achieve it. There is little discussion of the artistic choices to be made in using these techniques. The writing is straightforward and clear, although somewhat prosaic.
Almost all of these techniques involve software above and beyond the standard image processing software. The book contains information on using programs like Photo Acute, CombineZM, Helicon Focus, Photomatix Pro and Akvis Enhancer. The discussions are not tutorials and complete step-by-step lessons are usually not offered. There are no images provided to work on, either by CD or download, although the book illustrations are quite good. The authors acknowledge that many of the programs are continuously evolving so that one has to extract the specific procedures from the software. I found that some of the programs had adopted different interfaces since the writing. This was even true of Photoshop. The authors recognize the introduction of Photoshop CS4 just before this book was published, but fail to thoroughly explore its use. This was most obvious in the case of focus stacking (known as auto-blending in Photoshop). For my own purposes, after comparing focus stacking in Photoshop CS4 to using other programs discussed by the authors, I found Photoshop to be easier to use and the results more than adequate.
Most of the programs discussed are quite quirky, with interfaces that were not intuitive (although some, like Photomatix with which I had a prior familiarity, continue to move along in this direction). Some seemed crash prone.
The benefit of this book is that it introduces you to a wide variety of these programs. Some photographers will find they have no call to use these programs. For example, I found it easier to make a sharp capture of a bouquet of flowers from leading to trailing edge by shooting at a small f/stop than by using multiple, differently focused shots. At the same time, I realized that there were images I had not tried to capture in the past because of depth of field problems that I could now deal with.
Advanced photographers who need to push beyond the capabilities of the single image will find this book interesting and useful. HDR is well covered elsewhere, but for the other tools mentioned, this appears to be the only book in town.
It concerns techniques you that can make a splash because the results are so unusual, at least up to now!
For example how many of you know about increasing the depth of field by combining several images? I am grateful to the authors for warning against the limitations of CombineZM and pointing me to Helicon Focus, which I didn't know abut. Some of the software mentioned in this book is just about never mentioned on the photoforums I visit.
I personally don't know of another book on the subjects and this one is not just a basic rehash of the manual, there is lots of practical advice which you might have found out by working on it for several months, but the authors will save you
a lot of that searching.
It is possible to make tacky pictures with High Dynamic Range Imaging
and the authors warn you against this and give suggestions on how to avoid it. There are also good practical suggestions for fixing the result when stitching pictures to make a panorama.
As a minor quibble, I don't know how the authors calculated that a 10mm lens gives you a 250 degree angle of view. This is certainly not true if the lens is reduced to a pinhole (the angle is *always* less than 180 degrees, it is *not* inversely proportional to the focal length-that is an approximation that holds true only for long focal lengths). It might be true with some fisheye lenses, but I doubt that the angle of view of a fisheye lens is a function of its focal length alone.
This is a great shame, because multishot techniques such as panoramic stitching and HDR are areas in which smaller software vendors have frequently produced powerful, innovative, inexpensive software solutions. Also, it makes the book less relevant to anyone who cannot afford (or does not want to invest in) full-blown Photoshop CS3.
The introductory sections are quite good, introducing the reader to basic multishot workflow techniques. However, there's not much here for the more advanced reader. For example, the book explains how RAW files differ from processed files, but doesn't really explore the pros and cons of feeding RAW files straight into multishot processing vs pre-processing them in a separate RAW convertor.
Surprisingly, the authors decide to start their exploration of multishot techniques with super-resolution, combining very similar shots to increase resolution or decrease noise. This is an odd choice, partly because it's a relatively rare requirement, and partly because the only effective software support appears to be from PhotoAcute, which makes this a "one solution" chapter. Given that there's another section at the end dealing with issues like sharpening and local contrast enhancement, it might have made more sense in that position.
The next section turns the attention to focus stacking. This is at least a balanced chapter, exploring techniques with Phtoshop, PhotoAcute, CombineZM and Helicon Focus. However, rather than exploring the options within the stacking tools, the authors seem happier to take the default output, and then extensively post-process it in Photoshop.
The section on panoramic stitching is particularly disappointing. Although there are a wealth of alternatives available, some of which are absolutely excellent, the authors don't do a single worked example using anything other than Photoshop 's Photomerge command. They also use some very poor examples: some are just bad photography, like the wedding group with a number of people facing away from the camera, but others simply emphasise the limitations of the Photoshop focus. In one example the authors show a first-cut panorama which Photoshop has distorted wildly and stitched badly, but there is no "corrected" version.
HDR gets a better treatment, but again very much "Photoshop first". After a good introduction to the general subject, the first worked example uses manual blending of layers in Photoshop, then there's a brief but effective example with PhotoAcute, then it's back to Photoshop again! Finally they get to the clear leader in this space, Photomatix Pro, but again there's very little attempt to explore the options of this powerful software. One key function is simply described by comparison to a Photoshop CS3 function, which is meaningless if you don't have that software. FDRTools gets a surprisingly detailed review, given that the authors were working with a beta release of the software which was clearly not fully functional.
The final section is about improving image micro-contrast. While of interest, it's not really a multishot technique, being more about various post-processing options in Photoshop. This is another missed opportunity to explore the trade-offs between pre-processing and post-processing component images, which would have perhaps been more useful.
Overall this book left me frustrated, as an opportunity lost. I did learn things from it, but instead of a balanced overview and keen insights into technique, this is just too much about fiddling in Photoshop.