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P: Better auto stacking for bracketing, HDR, Focus Stacking and Panoramas

37 Votes
Explorer ,
Apr 27, 2011 Apr 27, 2011

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I currently shoot a lot of Bracketed shots for exposure blending, and with each shot having a different shutter speed the auto-stacking can fail to accurately stack the grouped shots - especially when the shutter speed gets up into 10+ seconds!I would love an option for Auto Stacking to work on the time delay between the shutter closing and the shutter opening again, so it is a true measure of the gap between shots. In this way I can auto-stack on all bracketed shots even when the shutter speed is seconds long. Calculate the time between shots by adding the shutter speed to the capture time of the first shot, and then compare this to the capture time of the next shot, and if I am using Continuous shooting, this gap will be only a fraction of a second, regardless of the shutter speed.Gary

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51 Comments
LEGEND ,
May 01, 2011 May 01, 2011

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Seems simple enough, and useful...

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Participant ,
Dec 08, 2011 Dec 08, 2011

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Also for the opposite, I'd like auto stack to work to work when shooting hdr sets quickly (I shoot HDR panoramas, with a 10fps camera and often get 1 and a partial set in a second so I end up with stacks that are 4,2,4,2 and so on)
I think it'd be better to allow stacking plugins

http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh...

which could then take in to account exif flags like the ones canon puts in that says it's part of a bracketed set, and any other creative ideas people have automatically group pictures together.

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Community Beginner ,
Jan 16, 2012 Jan 16, 2012

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I agree with Bryn. I have shot over 20 panoramas in manual mode with everything fixed (white balance,shutter,ISO,white balance,zoom,color profile). This produces from 28 to around 70 photos if I shoot HDR,

Photoshop has never successfully identified and autostacked any one of my panoramas.
It usually fails by grouping too many / too few exposures.
It fails even if the folder contains a complete set of panorama shots, nothing more and nothing less.

Option 1: Give us manual control so we can tune the timings, brackets to make it work
Option 2: Do more testing and make it work reliably
Option 3 support 3rd party plugins that work well.
Option 4: Let us modify / correct errors in autostacks manually.
Option 5: Add a batch HDR function that operates on all stacks in a collection/folder so we can skip "Process collections".

Or a combination of the above.

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Participant ,
Mar 29, 2012 Mar 29, 2012

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truthfully at this point, I'm tired of waiting for an automagic solution (whether it's plugins per my link above, or sub second/multisecond intelligcence) I'd settle for a simple "stack by N..." function that takes all the selected photos and turns them in to stacks of N (most often 3)

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Community Beginner ,
Apr 16, 2012 Apr 16, 2012

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I have customised a Bridge script that stacks images correctly using this method.
It compares (gap between images - the duration of the first shot).
As you proposed, this proves more reliable than just working from the shooting timestamp of each image.

The problem is that the stacks (groups) created from this scripts don't process correctly with Adobe's "Process Collections" command. So I am working on my own new script to process the HDR image stacks.

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LEGEND ,
Nov 11, 2014 Nov 11, 2014

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Hi all,

I just released Stacker 2.0 (free), which I think works well for:

* HDRs
* Panos

but maybe not

HDR Panos (yet)

It has 2 main advantages over built-in auto-stacking:
* Timewise, it considers time from shutter closed to re-opened, not just capture time, so works well for long-exposure bracketed shots too.
* Supports exposure criteria: you can say whether exposure should differ by a certain amount (e.g. HDR components), or should be close to the same (e.g. Panos).



Note: if it does NOT work well for you, then help me figure out why not! (contact me offline).

Oh - it only works in Windows a.t.m., but it's on my to-do list to port to Mac.

http://www.robcole.com/Rob/ProductsAn...

Rob

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New Here ,
May 21, 2017 May 21, 2017

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Currently the auto stack looks at the difference between the "start" time between images. If the exposure is longer than the start time, then the images are not auto stacked.

Improvements for LR auto stack

1. look at the end time when calculating the time difference between images

2. Set up an auto stack HDR mode. Not only look at the time difference but also look at exposure data. Auto stack HDR based upon user selected parameter - change shutter speed, change aperture (unlikely), number of images to be in the stack.

3. Set up auto stack Panoramic/focus stacking mode. Not only look at the time difference but also check to make sure exposure data is the same for all images.

4. Create a semi-automatic mode, that lets me color code images to the stacked. I could apart a stack into smaller stacks (stack 1 would be red, stack 2 would be blue, ...) or combine images/stacks.

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Participant ,
May 21, 2017 May 21, 2017

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see autopano by kolor for how to find the brackets automatically using exposure info, then detect panoramas automatically

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New Here ,
May 21, 2017 May 21, 2017

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The only option I find for auto stacking is time.  Time between the beginning on image and the next.  An improvement would be the time between the end of one image and the start of the next.

Even better would be HDR and Panoramic auto-stacking tools.  In HDR stacking tools, LR would look at the exposure data as well as  time between sequential images.  Of course the options for auto number of images in the stack, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, .. images in the stack could be entered.  I hesitate to suggest that LR check for alignment between images in a stack because this could be rather time consuming.

In panoramic auto-stacking, the exposures would need to be the same (though there could be an option to shut this off).  Panoramic would be harder to implement as action could get confused with a panoramic.  A truly smart panoramic auto-stacking mode might require auto alignment.

Another tool could be created that shows the images to be stacked together, in the grid view each stack would start on the left of the grid and be surrounded by  a box.  + key would expand the box to the right, Shift + would expand the box to the left, - key would reduce the box on the right, shift - would reduce the box on the left.

Finally a simple thing (I hope this is simple), when I right click I get the stacking options.  Within the stacking options the hot keys are not shown.  I only recently found out the CMD G will combine images into a stack.

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Participant ,
May 21, 2017 May 21, 2017

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Rikk and Jeffrey, Autostack by capture time often doesn't work. Using the EXIF info (I know at least canon puts it in there for all modes except M, B) to know if it was bracketed, would help the autostack. see topic http://feedback.photoshop.com/photosh... for discussion of scenarios where autostack doesn't work.

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New Here ,
May 21, 2017 May 21, 2017

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Feature Request: Auto Stacking for bracketing. We know the camera make, have a auto stacking feature that will (if selected) look at the camera, the order of bracketing (user defined) & the EV (0,+,-) and stack everything selected that meets those criteria.

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New Here ,
May 21, 2017 May 21, 2017

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Add a feature to LR that groups bracketed exposures into a stack (or other grouping mechanism based on bracketing). This is different from the current feature that stacks based on time elapsed between shots. This would actually have smarts to collect different exposures taken and group them together.

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New Here ,
May 21, 2017 May 21, 2017

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I'd be happy if a plugin solved this, but when you bracket, quite often photos are shot right after each other, so they are often shot very closely together in time, and the Exposure Bias changes.For example, when I shoot HDR I might have a -1 EV, 0 EV, and +1 EV set of 3 photos or I might have -2 EV, -1 EV, 0 , 1 EV, and 2 EV. I'd love for there to be a way , in addition to setting a time interval (as Auto Stack does today) to also ask the Auto Stack to look at the Exposure Bias, and group photos that are shot in sequence AND with different Exposure Bias to be grouped into a stack as a Bracket set.Perhaps Auto Stacking today can be made to do this, but I don't think it could properly distinguish times when I happen to snap two or three shots quickly in succession vs a series of differing EV values. When the EV values are different with shots close together in time, you can be certain they are a bracketed set.

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Explorer ,
May 21, 2017 May 21, 2017

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I was just thinking of this idea a few days ago as a way to remove grunt work. I'm in favor.

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Participant ,
May 21, 2017 May 21, 2017

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well I guilted myself in to collecting data rather than real work (ok I was already procrastign commenting here)

 lightroom only shows the seconds in capture time (see here where they say they use difference in capture time https://helpx.adobe.com/lightroom/help/grouping-photos-stacks.html#WS4FA9631A-25CC-43e2-B3E2-20FC80E... )
on a landscape panorama where I wasn't in a hurry because nothing was moving (where I was shooting 0, -2, +2) on a 5ds r with a slow buffer

autostack group 1
1 - 3:14:47
2 - 3:14:47
3 - :47
4 - :48
5 - :48
6 - :49
7 - :50
8 - :50
9 - :50

autostack group 2
:52
:52
:52
:53
:53
:53

group 3
:55
:55
:55
:56
:56
:56

group 4
:58
:58
:58
:59
:59
:00
:01
:01
:01
:02
:03
:03
:04
:04
:04
:05
:05
:06
:06
:06
:07
:08
:08
:08

all of these exposure speeds were ~1/100th of second so provides no data on whether these use start or stop (and if they don't have access to sub second timing, then irrelevant)

I guess the fundamental issue is that I wish this set was bracketed by 3, so I could see the panorama in the grid, rather than being grouped in to sub batches. If I increase the interval to more than 1 second, say 10 seconds, since it's processing the entire folder, i starts to combine non bracketed pictures that aren't panoramas together.

The time taken to try different settings, and then get close then check and unstack (and change the stack if one is put in the wrong group) seems to add up to more than the time savings for me.

If I could select a group of images (without moving them to another folder) and run autostack on the selection, that would help some https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/lightroom_auto_stack_by_capture_time_use_curr...

also if they don't want to implement algorithm to try and figure out bracketing sequence (say 0, -, +, vs, -,0,+) ability to select a group of images and stack in groups of n

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Participant ,
May 21, 2017 May 21, 2017

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LR needs to get smart. With a single command, LR could look at photo times and stack HDR and panos. It could then do feature recognition to determine if a shot has overlap [HDR] or if it's panning [Panoramic]. Done. Let me drink my coffee, come back and deliver my photography. 

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Participant ,
May 21, 2017 May 21, 2017

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Since the automatic stacking doesn't work well for me, I'd really like to be able to select a range of images and create stacks in a consistent group. i.e. group bracketed shots in to stacks of 3. Or maybe I was shooting high contrast situation and I know I want to group that entire set in to stacks of 7.

Select stack of images.
Choose Photo | Stacking | Group in to stacks of ...
dialog pops up, I enter 3, hit ok.

every 4th photo is the top of a new stack.

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Contributor ,
Aug 17, 2017 Aug 17, 2017

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I would like this as well - would be a big help if i could just tell it to stack every X number of photos

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New Here ,
Apr 24, 2018 Apr 24, 2018

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When creating stacks have ability to select large set of photos and then Make Stacks Of Size X.  When doing bracketed photos for panos the time difference between last of three bracketed photos and first of next set may be only a second or two.  Can't separate by time. But could separate into stacks of three (or whatever).

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Explorer ,
May 13, 2018 May 13, 2018

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Imagine you are a landscape photograper, using a longish shutter speed (1, 3, 10 seconds etc.)

I use exposure bracketting, so the images are shot almost immediately one after another, but the Auto Stacking has serious issues with it. It thinks that seconds shot was captured 10.2 seconds after the first, but in reality the first shot took 10 seconds to take and then there was just a 0.2 second delay.

It would be great if Auto Stacking compared end of previous photo and start of the next one (instead of comparing just the starts of the photos). It would have much better idea of what was actually going on.

Thanks!

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Adobe Employee ,
Jun 19, 2018 Jun 19, 2018

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The ability to auto-stack HDR and Panos during the merge process was implemented in Lightroom Classic version 7.4.
More information can be found here: https://theblog.adobe.com/june-lightroom-cc-releases-preset-profile-synchronization/
Rikk Flohr - Customer Advocacy: Adobe Photography Products

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Explorer ,
Jun 19, 2018 Jun 19, 2018

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Thanks, while this feature might be useful, it is very different from the one requested in this thread.

The implemented one is "just" automatic stacking after user has manually chosen the correct three photos.

The requested one is intelligent auto-stacking that is able to process hundreds of photos and create stacks that should be then processed by the HDR merger.

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Contributor ,
Jun 19, 2018 Jun 19, 2018

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That's correct. Can we request for this feature request status to be changed from "implemented" to whatever it was before?

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LEGEND ,
Jun 19, 2018 Jun 19, 2018

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The status has been changed back to "no status", but Rikk's official reply is still marked as "official", hiding the rest of the thread. 

The feature request for what actually got implemented (also very useful) is here: 
https://feedback.photoshop.com/photoshop_family/topics/lightroom-hdr-merge-should-automatically-stac...

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Contributor ,
Jun 19, 2018 Jun 19, 2018

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Cheers for that, John 🙂

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