Fusion Technology

Fusion? Einstein?
E = MC² – energy = mass x lightspeed squared,
What does this have to do with photography and this article?
Well, not much except the mass could be a camera,
lightspeed would then be between 1/60 and 1/4000,
and the energy: the electronic creation of pictures.
It can also all be a bit of nonsense from me 🙂

Although, Fusion also means merging, among other things, and that’s what we’re going to talk about here.

What you should definitely try one time is merging or blending images, it is a tool that you can find in various image editing programs including Digikam.
The intention is to merge two or more pictures into one.
In the example here I have an HDR and a normally developed picture. By combining these two you can create a picture with the advantages of both. I myself do this regularly with HDR pictures, especially because I like more extreme HDR, because of this I get sometimes very ugly artifacts and strange colors. By combining normal and HDR pictures, these disadvantages are almost completely removed. But you can also do it to enhance colors, or to give a picture more depth. And I applied that here.

First I developed a picture in Luminance HDR with the settings I usually use with 24MP pictures: operator = Mantiuk 06 – contrast factor 0.80 – saturation factor 1.75 – detail factor 30 – pre gamma 0.80 – post saturation 1.75 – saved as Tif

Then in RawTherapee the second picture just auto levels – also saved as Tif

After, in Digikam go to Tools -> blend stacked images :

In the next screen, basically the blending tools should already be installed on your computer, so click next here – otherwise specify location or download

In the next screen you go to the pictures you want to blend – select and open,

and klick next

If the picture versions you want to merge are from one and the same picture, you can skip the next step “align bracketed images”.

last step before importing, click finish

Then the Enfuse settings: click: automatic levels, hard mask – set exposed, saturation and contrast to 1 – output choose jpeg – store as different name (do not overwrite!) Then click preview, if the output on screen is ok for you then click save – the output is saved in the same place as the original pictures.

If you are not satisfied or want to experiment with the settings – then after changing a setting and clicking on preview, an extra output will be added from the bottom of the screen.
If you don’t want all your experiments to be saved, only select the ones you do want. select or de-select next to the thumbnail.

On the screen below I have a 100% crop in the Digikam lighttable, on the left the “normal” RT output and on the right the “HDR+normal merge” output for comparison, underneath you can also compare the full image.

This is one way of fusing / blending / stacking pictures.
You can also use it for macro photography, where you merge pictures with different focus points to obtain a picture that shows the subject completely in focus.
It is also a lot of fun to merge mirror images or even completely different pictures to obtain surprising results.
A fun activity during a lockdown.

Below an example of an original and three different combinations :

The only thing to keep in mind:
only use pictures with the same color depth (preferebly Tif 16 bit) jpg also works of course,
and with the same size (x times y pixels)

Digikam “is an advanced open-source digital photo management application that runs on Linux, Windows, and MacOS. The application provides a comprehensive set of tools for importing, managing, editing, and sharing photos and raw files” – https://www.digikam.org/about/

Published by Marc R.

Belgium Based and Retired Photographer, IT specialist, Technician and Bushcrafter - not necessarily in that order. A few years back I got a message on my PC : "The box said 'Required Windows 11 or better'. So, I installed Linux Kubuntu 20.04 LTS" :-) - My Photography software : RawTherapee, Darktable, Digikam, Luminance HDR, Hugin, Gimp and many other. Oh yes, the email address is still there, but I'm not a Pentaxian anymore - now i'am proud to be a Fujiian !

4 thoughts on “Fusion Technology

  1. Fascinating article Marc. I love HDR photography and the different ways you can use it and the different results you can achieve.

    I usually use Darktable or Aurora for HDR merges, but I usually just use three bracketed shots. I like what you have done using two images! I will try this myself!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Mark, completely correct, three bracketed pitcures is the normal way and how it should be done, but it also works with one. Sometimes I even make the “one or two stops” over and under exposed picture myself in the computer by adjusting the exposure in RawTherapee and saving three different versions. It’s a bit cheating, but it’s hard to tell an HDR “this way” from a “real one”.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello There, thank you for the comment, I fully understand you, my eyes are also no longer what they used to be. But I really appreciate your visit here, and at the same time I find my way to your site. Very nice pictures! I will definitely go back, See you on Flickr! Marc.

      Liked by 1 person

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