Tuesday, February 24, 2009

"deshake" a time lapse sequence taken in windy conditions

In Barcelona I shot some time lapses in very windy weather and I only had the gorilla pod as a tripod with me. The result makes you seasick when watching.
Here is a still from that sequence:

Luckily, there is photoshop with its great "auto align" function. This will nicely deshake the movie. To use it, proceed the following way:
First load all the images as a stack into layers (File... Scripts... Load Images into Stack)

Then use Selection... Select all layers

The auto alignment dialog is opened with Edit... Auto Align Layers

With the selection of Auto:

and clicking on "ok", the alignement procedure starts. Depending on the amount of memory you have and the number of images to align, it takes very very very long. Reducing the size of the images speeds the process up by a large factor.

When it has finished, you can save the single layers again into seperate images with File... Scripts... Export Layers as Images...

Then choose a folder and an image format.

Here is the result of the raw and the deshake barcelona movie:



  1. only problem here is that photoshop will crash if you are working on a long time lapse (3,000+ frames) to layer 3,000 photos for a time lapse.

  2. I tried this last night and got a "out of memory" message. I'm trying 880 images resized to 1080 high. Total file size of all 880 images is about 700mb. I have 5gm RAM running on a MacPro. I tried it with only PhotoShop and Safari running. It would seem like I have enough RAM. (?) ...or is there a tweak to PS memory settings I can do?

  3. I checked the PS settings. I'm giving PS about 80% of available memory which turns out out to be a little over two gigs. The scratch disk is a second internal hard drive with 50+ gb empty space.

  4. And did it work?
    Actually I use now After effects to deshake. Does a really good job! I'll write a tutorial "soon".

    1. It'd be amazing to have such a tutorial. Thanks for the tutorial you already did though! Good job.

  5. You can create an 'action' that will:

    - load an image
    - paste your reference pic in a separate layer
    - auto align
    - save it

    You can then batch process this on all your images (I usually do a color correction to a base color scheme as well in the same pass).

    You can do 1000s of images in little or no memory.

    1. Can you PLEASE give some more detail on this method!
      I've created actions before, but not sure how to put this together.
      Been running batches of 20 images, but each batch is UNALIGNED!
      This way seems much better, if I could set the alignment off of one particular image (is that what you mean by "your reference pic"?) all other shots would sync up.

      When do I start recording the action?
      - load an image (File > Open?)
      - paste your reference pic in a separate layer (Copy paste? Open another image and add a layer? Drag it? How do I set my first image in the sequence as the reference or master?
      - auto align
      - save it(Run the action and select a folder?)

  6. Can you PLEASE write a quick tutorial or stabilizing and removing dust with AE?

    Thanks in advance!

  7. this really does not work... PS CS5, Dell Studio, Intel I5 processor 4GB ram... waste of time!

  8. Came across this post to attempt to solve the same problem.

    After a lot of experimentation, I've found that an alternative is to use VirtualDub (free) and get the DeShake filter (also free). Works a treat.

    Have also heard that Sony Vegas has this capability built in.

  9. Great tutorial, you really helped me out a lot! And this does work, I shrunk them down a little and loaded a stack of about 1200 images, and I got the "not enough RAM" message (I have 8GB). However, if you only align batches of 200 or so at a time, it'll eventually work. Thanks again

  10. Great tip! I've been using the motion tracker in after effects with lack luster results for far too long. Thanks!!!

  11. Nice! Thanks. No problem running this at 4k images with 16gb ram :) Takes a while though...running 1 hours so far. Memory seem stable at 6.4gb since the incline at the start.

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  13. photoshop only made borders to the stack images :/ how can I reposition them according to optimal resolutions (what every image has in common) ?

  14. Use VirtualDub with deshaker plugin. WHAM!

  15. I think it is a great solution, and yes do it in chunks if you have thousands of images. you should be able to do a few hundred at a time if you have them sized correctly.