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Photoshop: Super Resolution from multiple images

Is it possible a future upgrade might consider offering "Super Resolution" for increasing pixel density and resolution using multiple stacked images, where each image requires a slight offset? Currently, the only commercial availability that I'm aware comes from Photoacute. Seems like a feature Photoshop should consider, at least in the extended version?
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  • Chris Cox (Sr. Computer Scientist) August 25, 2012 18:59
    There are some published algorithms for that, but they all seem to fall short of acceptable quality. Some work reasonably for astronomy, but only because you can assume that the background is near black.

    But we'll keep our research going in that area, and monitoring publications for advances in quality.
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  • Thanks Chris! Hopefully, something will develop. I don't doubt your comment on published algorithms and resulting image quality, especially as my knowledge/understanding is weak but what are your thoughts or impression of what PhotoAcute is doing? I purchased the program and am impressed with the resulting upsized, super resolution image. Intricate details are significantly enhanced. A good example is where small, unreadable texts becoming legible after running the stacking routine. I can post examples if interested? While I'm pleased with PhotoAcute, it would be nice to see this ability integrated into Photoshop.
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  • I’m Over the moon
    Photoshop in it's current encarnation can produce something you are looking for; but there are specialized tools that make it easier and wok quite well.

    Panorama's is one way of making a very high res image. Take a landscape taken with a 200mm lens. I am working on one now. It is a multiple row pano, 8 horizontal shots taken in 5 rows gving a total of 40 images - each being a 36 Mpixel image. Using Photoshop to stitch these together does not work well at all, but specialized software like Autopano Pro or PTGUI makes light work of the stiching and blending and has anti-ghost features. Automation can help here and there is a number of dedicated pano makers that make giga-pixel images. They use automated heads to take these images. The lagest I have made is a 3 giga-pixel image which I printed to 70"x40" and you can stand with your nose a couple of inches away and see amazing detail. That was as special one off for a client display, but I regularly make 20"x40 and 23x60" prints for shows.

    Focus stacking is technique while not increasing the overall resolution of the image, can add remendous depth of field. Photoshop works well in aliging the layers to get a composite image. But there is specialized software, like Zerene Stacker that does a bang up job for free. This is mainly used for scientific macro work, but works well on other subjects. The technique is not too difficult to master, and having one of those manual lenses with the f-stop controls on the lens definitely helps. Automation also helps, and I use a pretty cheap package that will step the focus of the lens through differing focus points at the push of a button or click of a mouse. Trouble is you need a windows laptop to make this happen. I use an el-cheapo netbook which easily fits in my backpack. The product is called "ControlMyNikon" and it costs around $20 and supports the D800/D800E and the D4 :)

    Then of course you have the HDR technique for expanding dynamic range, Photoshop does quite well here, but some of the other dedicated HDR packages (Nik and Photmatix) have more features and controls.

    You can of course combine HDR with Pano's to get both increased resolution and expanded dynamic range. I do this with landscapes, but limit the horizontal shots to five with a bracket of 7 images. This is to ensure there is not too much change in light or movement because of wind etc.

    Maybe all of this one day can be accomplished in Photoshop :) Maybe CS7 even bigger :)

    Mike
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  • Thanks Mike. Yes, stitching to create high resolution composite is a process I’m quite familiar with. I use to use a third-party program (no longer remember which one?) as Photoshops early generation panoramic never stitched properly for me but the later generations photomerge works really well BUT anyway, your 3gig printed image at 70”x40” –wow! I bet it’s incredible ... I’d sure love to see it! As a side, I’m experimenting with an older Olympus p&s that has been languishing in my closet with IR. I’m trying to make higher resolution stitched planos as well as multiple shots to reduce the ridiculous amount of noise I’m getting with layer stacking. The noise comes from the setups need for loooong shutter speeds. I haven’t gotten results I think are possible but I’ve just started and I’m probably a bit picky :)

    I also am very familiar with focus stacking. At my work, I have a series of compound and stereo scopes with a camera port where images typically require focus stacking. I also have a copy stand that I use various macro lenses for larger samples. The stereoscope and the copy stand generally require manual image alignment as they offset the image too much for any auto alignments I’ve yet used. I’m also using Canon cameras and after they released “live view,” it revolutionized my work load with focusing and camera controls using a computer.

    And yes, I’m also familiar with multiple exposure HDR routines. I use both Photoshop as well as Photomatix. It is kinda of entertaining to observe some of the internet chatter where there is strong division with those that abhor surreal, hper HRD from those that love them. It is identical to the arguments that were occurring a few years ago over computerized photo-art. In any regards, HDR can be used for hyper scenes but it is also gives fantastic power in expanding dynamic range with little noise or pixelation while retaining realism.

    Anyway, thanks again Mike and thank you Chris! The links were great information, I wasn’t aware of Drizzle but this is obviously a “super-resolution” derivative that PhotoAcute is using and what I’m hoping the Photoshop developer’s team may be able to implement in a future release.
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