AUGUST 15, 2002
Reindeer Graphics Optipix 1.0
Now the frame averaging filter I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, it does what it purports to do in Photoshop. But, on the other, one of it's selling points was that it can be used in NLEs and compositing packages that support Photoshop plugins for buffer multiple frames and extract sharper, higher-quality stills. Knowing how much one of these kinds of packages normally cost, I thought this particular feature would be an incredible value. However, when put to the test on some video footage in Adobe After Effects, I wasn't impressed. With anywhere from two to 120 frames averaged, the end result came out only nominally more sharp, which was offset by the blurring that occurred on the moving portions of the image. [an error occurred while processing this directive] I think the examples below say it.
However, for still photography, the frame blending feature can be quite useful as yet another method for producing a better result from multiple versions of the same photo, as with the Blend Exposures filter. Unlike Blend Exposures, the frame blending feature can use up to 30,000 8- or 16-bit images to generate an average. Probably a bit more than you'll ever use, but available just in case.
Here's how it works. In Photoshop, open any number of images, and choose the filter "Add to Buffer" for each one. When you've added all your images (or states, as the case may be), choose "Show Average." The filter will then generate an average of all the images in the buffer. When you're done, you can just clear out the buffer by choosing the filter "Clear Buffer."
If you want to use this filter in an NLE, just load the Add to Buffer and Show Average filters and then scrub through your timeline (or play the timeline). Any frame rendered in preview will be added to the average, and the average will be generated on the fly. Alternately, you can also render out an image sequence on a selection from the timeline and then use this filter in Photoshop.
While I wasn't terribly impressed with this filter, it does have its uses, and, as I said, the Blend Exposures filter is worth the price on its own.
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