Examples of Photo-stitching and Focus Stacking

by Mol Smith

April 2015


Whilst organising the front page of Mic UK this month, I was reading through the excellent article Panoramic Stitching in Photomicrography by Michael Reese Much (FRMS EMS) and recall my own work in creating the now ceased utility here called the 2D microscope. I used a Canon SLR 550D on a low cost Brunel microscope to take multiple pictures of various sample slides. Lower cost microscopes are excellent value for money but obviously are not able to produce the ultimate crisp and clear images of more expensive instruments.

However, by combining photo stitching and focus stacking (taking images at various depths of focus and recombining the sharp elements in each image into an improved focused composite image), extraordinary results are obtainable. The following images were originally produced at 10000 pixels wide and are greatly reduced in size here. The microscope used cost no more than £150.00

The main issue arrives through different images being illuminated with variations between them, often leading to colour casts and dark patches. A second problem is sometimes the pieces of the picture do not line up properly, requiring patient work in photoshop to warp and manipulate each of the images to fit together coherently at their edges. Use of the burn/dodge brush in photoshop, if used carefully will remove the casts and shadows.


Bee Ocelli

This one shows the image after photo-stitching and focus stacking but before post processing using burn/dodge tool and level adjustment. A small unsharp filter was always used. Photoshop was used to carry out the post processing.


And after processing...

Software used:

Photomerge in Adobe Photoshop.
Alan Hadley's focus stacking software. Combine ZP  (Free).



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Main site is at www.microscopy-uk.org.uk . Published in the April 2015 edition of Micscape Magazine.