Managing files w/ focus stacking

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Michaelpage
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Managing files w/ focus stacking

Post by Michaelpage »

I use focus stacking to produce close ups of flowers, starting with raw files in Lightroom and exporting tiffs to Zerene. I generate 10 - 15 original images to produce a final product. I'd appreciate some guidance on which image files I should save, in addition to the final:

- The original RAW files?
- The TIFFs exported to Zerene?
- The Zerene Project folder, which seems to contain a third set of files in JPEG?

A second question: if Zerene is converting the individual images to JPEG is there any reason to export using TIFF? Is there any reason to continue generating the original images in RAW?

Thank you.

ray_parkhurst
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Re: Managing files w/ focus stacking

Post by ray_parkhurst »

Michaelpage wrote:I use focus stacking to produce close ups of flowers, starting with raw files in Lightroom and exporting tiffs to Zerene. I generate 10 - 15 original images to produce a final product. I'd appreciate some guidance on which image files I should save, in addition to the final:

- The original RAW files?
- The TIFFs exported to Zerene?
- The Zerene Project folder, which seems to contain a third set of files in JPEG?

A second question: if Zerene is converting the individual images to JPEG is there any reason to export using TIFF? Is there any reason to continue generating the original images in RAW?

Thank you.
I keep the original RAW files, and the final work product. I can always do the work over again from the originals. For stitch work, I keep the stacked tifs, plus the final panorama. Generally I don't like keeping tifs since they are so huge. Each project goes into its own folder.

JH
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Post by JH »

Raw have more colour information than jpg. In a few ocassion I have got problems with jpgs - some kind of ”banding” that was much less of a problem with raw. Therefore I use raw BUT I also wants to stack the picture ”live” in Zerene, therefore I take jpg and raw at the same time. :D

Best regards
Jörgen Hellberg
Jörgen Hellberg, my webbsite www.hellberg.photo

rjlittlefield
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Re: Managing files w/ focus stacking

Post by rjlittlefield »

Michaelpage wrote:- The Zerene Project folder, which seems to contain a third set of files in JPEG?
That sounds like you're looking at the "previewimages" folder inside the Zerene Stacker project. Those are low quailty (highly compressed) screen preview images, controlled by the settings for "Cache {un}aligned screen images" at Options > Preferences > Caching & Undo. They are generated, by default, to make navigation faster when retouching and when using press-and-drag in the list of source files. If you don't want them generated, just un-check the options. It's also OK to delete them when archiving a project. If needed later, they will just be regenerated from the original sources, assuming that the sources are still available at that later time.
...starting with raw files in Lightroom and exporting tiffs to Zerene
If you export to Zerene using the Lightroom plugin, and then save the Zerene Stacker project, a copy of the exported TIFFs will also be saved in the project, in a folder named "SourceImages". There is currently no option to keep that from happening. However, after the project is saved, you can remove the SourceImages folder if you are prepared to manually recreate it later if it's needed, say for retouching from source.
Is there any reason to continue generating the original images in RAW?
Sure, but there are tradeoffs.

Compared to shooting in JPEG or TIFF, shooting in raw gives you much better ability to adjust exposure and color balance in post-processing. If you shoot as JPEG or TIFF, you'll only get 8 bits of color, versus typically 12 or 14 bits (repackaged as 16) when you shoot in raw. Lightroom also does a better job handling hot or dead pixels when converting from raw.

On the other hand, if your workflow is finely tuned so that you don't need to make such adjustments, then shooting JPEG can still get you an excellent result, much faster and in less storage than shooting raw and converting. People who shoot deep stacks often shoot JPEG because of the advantages in time and storage.

--Rik

ray_parkhurst
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Re: Managing files w/ focus stacking

Post by ray_parkhurst »

rjlittlefield wrote: If you shoot as JPEG or TIFF, you'll only get 8 bits of color, versus typically 12 or 14 bits (repackaged as 16) when you shoot in raw.
I usually save my interim files as 16-bit TIFF after RAW processing. Am I fooling myself? I have only been saving to jpg at the final processing step to avoid artifacts.

rjlittlefield
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Re: Managing files w/ focus stacking

Post by rjlittlefield »

ray_parkhurst wrote:Am I fooling myself?
I don't know. It depends on what you think is happening.

The workflow that you're using is what I recommend for very best quality.

Saving as 16-bit TIFF is the only way to preserve all the gradation that is present in the original raw files. The data in raw files typically has only 12 or 14 bits of precision, so if there were such a thing as 12- or 14-bit TIFF files, then arguably those would be a hair better than 16 bits because the files would be a little shorter and you would still be preserving all the information. But in practice your choice is between 8-bit TIFF and 16-bit TIFF. 8-bit clearly loses information, so 16-bit is the best way to go.

Of course it's a different question how much you would lose by going with 8-bit TIFF or even JPEG. That's where the tradeoffs come in, regarding time and space versus quality. That's a very subjective decision, so I don't know any way to answer it except to test if you care.

--Rik

ray_parkhurst
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Re: Managing files w/ focus stacking

Post by ray_parkhurst »

rjlittlefield wrote:
ray_parkhurst wrote:Am I fooling myself?
I don't know. It depends on what you think is happening.

The workflow that you're using is what I recommend for very best quality.
I was assuming I'd be preserving full color info right to the end with this method, so I guess I'm OK.

Michaelpage
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Thank you

Post by Michaelpage »

for helping me understand my options here. Looks like once again I'll have to make some judgements on my own. I'm learning.

SONYNUT
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Post by SONYNUT »

I try to keep everything...till my memory is full and i go on a dumping binge ;-)
..............................................................................
Just shoot it......

Deanimator
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Post by Deanimator »

My process:
  1. Shoot stack in RAW.
  2. Import RAW files into Elements which saves them into dated folders. I rename them as necessary for multiple stacks on the same day.
  3. Adjust exposure, contrast, etc., in Elements.
  4. Save adjusted images as TIFFs in C:\Users\user\Pictures\Camera\T4i\Macro\day-month-year Stack n.
  5. Import TIFFs into Zerene.
  6. Run stacks in Zerene.
  7. Save stacked images as JPGs in C:\Users\user\Pictures\Camera\T4i\Macro\day-month-year Stack n\Output.
If I'm unhappy with the results, I delete the RAW files and stacks and containing folders.

If I like what I did, I keep the RAW files at least for a while, and the TIFFs and JPGs of the stacks. I might eventually delete the TIFFs.

Beatsy
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Post by Beatsy »

More often than not, I just keep the end results. But for some of my better subjects, I keep the RAW files. Exported TIFFs are deleted because they're much larger than the RAW files - and can easily be regenerated anyway.

FWIW: I find Capture One "sessions" are a very natural way to maintain/keep images from stacking sessions (all files in one folder - one session per session, so to speak).

Final output images are imported into Capture One "catalogs" (database model like Lightroom uses) but the individual sessions themselves, with their large collections of source images, are easily managed, archived and restored just like any other files. No need to clog up finished-image portfolios with those nor any need to use (slower) photo-related tools to access and manage them.

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