A professor and some students at the University of Waterloo have developed a faster way to apply focus stacking to images.
The team of researchers is made up of Professor Peter van Beek along with a few of his students, David Choi, Aliya Pazylbekova and Wuhan Zhou. All of the researchers are from the university’s Cheriton School of Computer Science.
The team has developed a way for cameras to shoot multiple images with different focus points and then combine all the images into one super sharp photo.
The team has shared a demo image of a few flowers. In the regular image, there’s a small portion along the bottom of the orange flower that’s in focus. After the team retook the photo with their new processing scheme the entire image is perfectly sharp and in focus.
To develop pictures like this requires users to focus stack their images. After all the photos are taken this process is usually done manually. There’s a lot of room for human error when the process is done manually, according to van Beek. Sometimes photographers can take too many images which can be time-consuming, or too few and the project falls apart
Van Beek’s version of focus stacking looks to automatically take the perfect amount of pictures and combine them using software. Taking the exact right number of photographs helps hit that sweet spot between time and quality.
“Our algorithm requires 4.5 times fewer images on average — a reduction that would significantly cut the time needed to capture the set of pictures,” said van Beek in a recent press release.
It’s easy how companies like Google and Apple integrating this technique into their camera apps.