Photoshop: Problems with Focus Stacking in Photoshop CC

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  • Updated 3 months ago
  • (Edited)
I put 7 photos with a little different focus into layers in Photoshop CC. With the operations “Edit > Auto-Align Layers...” and “Edit > Auto-Blend Layers...” I started the Focus stacking. The result was not satisfying. There was some blur in the resulting photo (see left side in example photo). But when I made the “Edit > Auto-Blend Layers...” for the first pair of photos and reunion in one layer and then, step by step, the same with the other layers, I got a good result (see 2nd photo). Conclusion: The "Auto-blend layers" function doesn't work properly with more then two layers.

Burghard Engel
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Burghard Engel

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  • frustrated

Posted 6 years ago

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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Hi Burghard, would you be willing to post the 7 source images so we can try and repro internally? (Dropbox or other sharing service)
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Burghard Engel

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Hi Jeffrey, yes, that should be no problem.
I'd like to think, that you will respect my copyright and will use my photos only for bug research.
As I started my focus stacking from Lightroom, I send you the original raw and xmp files. If you need TIFF, please let me know.
Do you have an email address to send the Dropbox Link?
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Correct. We'd just use them for internal testing. I'll send you an email shortly. Thanks!
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Tom Morse

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Hi, can I just add that I have also experienced major issues with the Blurring of image when Focus Stacking. I have tried with many of images.
I have also tried 2 third party pieces of software which worked very well, so know it can be done.

I'd be interested to hear how you got on with Burghard's images.
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Alan Cohen

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Focus Stacking works poorly in PS CC and not at all in PS CC 2014.
Not only don't we have Mini Bridge anymore but we don't have focus stacking any more either. With two major losses from CS6 whats the point of the cloud based product?
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Gaurav Joshi

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Hi,

Even I am facing the same problem. I have tried Focus Stacking images following the same steps as Burghard Engel did. But the end result is not satisfactory. The image gets blurred.

Please help if someone finds a way out.

Thanks
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Roger Needham

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in my experience the problem is with the auto-blend feature. I use this tool constantly with macro images. as far as I can tell, auto-blend simply selects one layer and masks out the rest leaving you with a partly 'blurred' image. I reported this to the UK telephone helpline and they quickly confirmed the problem as a bug in the latest CC 2014 update and gave me a link to Adobe.com that shows the only work-around available is 'use the previous version of Photoshop CC until we can fix the problem'. I was assured the engineers are working flat out to solve this problem but I'm still waiting for that next update . . .
Roger Needham
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L Davison

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My current version of CC also has issues with focus stacking. It doesn't work. I rolled back to the previous version and it is fine.
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KarenWilliam Hill

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I have been seeing autoblend failing at all times. I word around this in CC 2014 using select focus masks. I now see that I need to return to the previous version.
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Chris Jonkers

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an other great miss for our money...
first the blank screens and now this focus stacking failure...
i'm not a happy camper with 400 photo's to stack ... :-(
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Dany dorg

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I have the same problem the focus stacking dont work. The images are worse and blur after proces http://screencast.com/t/i8eyTDxFTr
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Colin Meager

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I thought it was me until I found this thread. Been having this stacking problem for some time and have tried Zerene but I don't really want to use another program. Seems to be taking a long time for Adobe to correct.
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Eric Zabinsky

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Works great with 5.1. Not at all in CC.
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Carolyn Elcock

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Has this issue been sorted yet? I am also having problems
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Alan Goldberg

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I'm using CC 2019 & this problem is still there. Adobe not interested
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Ken Kemp

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I've been having this problem with even the most up to date PS CC.  It seems that PS does not pick the portions of images to use in the focus stacking in any logical manner and I get misaligned glitches in the final image, especially in the more distant objects in an image.  Maybe the glitches are from the "fill" part of the software?  I wonder, if those that say it works great are just not examining the results closely enough?  The glitches that I see may not be visible to a casual observer, unless the image is enlarged sufficiently.
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Chris Jonkers

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Just use Helicon for stitching. Stacks ! Faster and better!
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Stephen Wood

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I have a new subscription and am up-to-date, but cannot get Photoshop CC to stack. I started off using the obvious method, then tried doing alignment etc one stage at a time, but cannot get a good result.  What Ken Kemp describes above is my experience.
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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It depends very much on what those 'glitches' are. Without seeing an example, nobody can tell if Photoshop is working as expected and you are seeing the limitations of focus stacking, or if there is something wrong.

Focus stacking does have its limitations. If you focus on the background, objects in the foreground are blurred and that blurring increases the size. That means that a small area right next to a foreground object is never going to show a perfectly sharp background in a focus stack, because there isn't any image that contains this perfectly sharp background part. You will always have to do some manual clean up.
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Joel Sigerson

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Photoshop doesn't focus stack anymore and hasn't since... CS6?

Auto-blend is only useful for stitching panoramas. Adobe's not going to come right out and say we removed a feature, but that's the long and short of it.

Switch to Helicon, or stack manually. If anyone tries to tell you it's user error, it's because they've never tried it. 
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Ivar Schiager

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I am new to stacking, but am very unsatisfied with the stacking in Photoshop CC.
Thanks to Chris Jonkers I just tried Helicon and found:
Helicon does what Photoshop doesn't, - and faster.
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Chris Jonkers

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Ivan great to be of help! 
yes the latest version is lightning fast an accurate, there's a steep learning curve and it pays of o try al the variables in the beginning to see what the best modes are for certain types of subjects. but then it's just throwing them in auto mode and do a 100 in no time!
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Stephen Wood

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I have spent ages trying to get focus stacking to work in PS CC  It screws up every time.  Just tried exactly the same images in the trial version of Helicon  - super sharp in half the time.