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PICOLAY - Whats's new?

  • 2023-01-27
    - Stacking algorithm and alignment slightly improved.
  • 2022-07-15
    - Fine tuning of the stacking algorithm to gain better stacking results and smoother depth maps.
    - Maximum filter size increased from 10 to to 13.
  • 2022-06-13
    - Stacking algorithm further improved to give better edge detection.
  • 2022-06-01
    - Stacking algorithm improved to give a better depth map at large scales.
  • 2022-04-22
    - New formula for anaglyph colours included:
    As standard now the formula of Masuji Suto, author of the StereoPhoto Maker freeware, is used. This gives the best results particularly for red structures. Under 'Options' one can still select 'Full colour', 'Half colour' and 'Dubois' as well.
  • 2022-03-20
    - New function added:
    Under 'Options' one can switch on 'Stacking speed: Slow & fine' instead of the standard setting 'Fast and good'. This will skip the down-sizing of images for structure recognition. Fine details might become better visible, but also more noise. You'll have to try whether this improves your result...
    - PICOLAY has got a transparent background around its logo :)
    - Minor changes of the stacking algorithm.
    - Some minor bugs fixed.
  • 2021-12-22
    - New functions added:
    - Under 'Options' one can switch off the alphabetical re-ordering of loaded images. This might avoid problems coming up when filenames have different lentghs like 'image9', 'image10' ...
    - Names generated by multiple-folder stacking are now precedeed by a number '01', '02'... indicating the folder they are coming from.
    - Weighted average algorithm improved.
    - Some minor bugs fixed.
  • 2021-12-06
    - New function added: Under 'Options' one can activate 'Export stacking process'. This will generate and export bitmaps showing the steps of the stacking procedure bottom-up. Thereby on can visualise any structures that might get hidden by overlaying frames with higher-scored details, e.g. in fluorescence stacks. It works with both normal and hologram-stacking.

  • 2021-05-04
    - Some bugs fixed.

  • 2021-04-10
    - Two bugs fixed.

  • 2021-04-05
    - New adjustable stacking parameter weighted average creates smoother transitions between structures in distant layers.

  • 2020-12-26
    - Stacking algorithm significantly made faster again :-)

  • 2020-11-18
    - Stacking algorithm made faster and a bit better again :-)

  • 2020-11-17
    - Stacking algorithm improved and made a bit faster as well.

  • 2020-10-27
    - One more bug fixed that slowed down the stacking routine.

  • 2020-10-25
    - Another bug fixed (possible floating-point overflow).

  • 2020-10-13
    - Bug with 'Test 4 filter settings' fixed.

  • 2020-10-11
    - Loading of the image list was made much faster.
    - Clipboard bugwas not really fixed last time - now it is (hopefully).

  • 2020-09-13
    - Clipboard bugfixed.

  • 2020-08-27
    - Sorry, there were some bugs in the 3D functions, which hopefully are fixed now.
    - Stacking algorithm improved.
    - 3D File naming improved.
  • 2020-08-11
    - The detail-free background (generated by noise suppression) now can be selected from 6 options (mean, brightest or darkest pixel in the stack, average of the latter two, last image in the list, or adjustable target colour).
    - Several bugs in the 3D functions were fixed... (Certainly not the last ones...)
  • 2020-08-05
    - The Stacking algorithm has been made a bit more intelligent ;)
    - New 3D function: The last image of the list can be used for areas without detail under 'Options'.
    - Some bugs fixed.
  • 2020-08-01
    - New 3D function: Areas without detail can be placed in the mid level of the z axis or on the bottom.
  • 2020-07-28
    - Some minor bugs fixed...
  • 2020-07-24
    - Enhancement of image lists bug fixed...
  • 2020-07-23
    - The progress bar has got a new design, allows now for stopping image processing or quitting the program.
    - The stacking algorithm was further developed...
  • 2020-07-03
    - The background used for areas without detail can now be selected between: (1) Mean of all frames (as used so far), (2) darkest or (3) brightest pixels in the stack or (4) the average of the (2) and (3). The latter is set as default and can be changed under Options -> Use as stacking background.
    The consequent differences can be significant:

    - Artefact removal is now switched on by setting 'noise suppression' to a value >0. Default setting is now '1'. The additional button from the last version was removed to keep the panel as simple as possible.
    - Internal parameters for conversion of color images to grey scale were slightly changed.
  • 2020-06-24
    - Minor bugs fixed.
  • 2020-06-13
    - Sorry, there was a bug in the last version concerning the file generation during multiple-folder stacking. This one has been fixed now.
  • 2020-06-08
    - After years without change the stacking parameter panel has got a new check box: Artefact removal, designed to remove artificial structures appearing during the stacking routine. Default setting is 'checked', but one can switch it off, if it is not improving the result.

    PICOLAY filenames have been changed a bit as well. The PICOLAY stacked image is named 'pystkd' (former 'pysharp'), and '-ar' indicates artefact removal switched off..
  • 2020-05-23
    Detail detection improved.
    Depth map bug fixed.
  • 2020-05-16
    PICOLAY becomes multilingual. Italian and Spanish manuals are now included in the program or can be downloaded from the PICOLAY website -> Manuals ...
    Further fine tuning of the stacking algorithm ...
  • 2020-05-03
    Fine tuning of the new stacking algorithm ...
  • 2020-05-01
    Fine tuning of the new stacking algorithm and image alignment.
    Sorry for coming up with a new version so quickly after the last one, but this one should be a bit better...
  • 2020-04-20
    Completely new stacking algorithm based on a Gaussian filter (5x5) applied on three different scales. A bit faster as well...

  • 2020-03-26
    SORRY, there was a bug (w/ rectangle tool) in the version from 2020-03-25, that has been fixed...

  • 2020-03-24
    Alignment improved ...
    Smoothing function (blur) improved ...

  • 2020-03-08
    PICOLAY has learned FRENCH. Bernard Jenni was so kind to generate a french version of the manual, which is included in the program help or can be downloaded as pdf.
    Manuals in Englisch and German were updated as well.
    New example stack included with the installation.
  • 2020-02-06
    Stacking algorithm improved ...

  • 2020-01-31
    3D Distance is now applied to generated left and right images, not only to anaglyphs.

  • 2020-01-25
    Stacking routine improved. Smart filter gives smoother results now...

  • 2019-08-31
    Image alignment improved.
    Depth map can be exported as grey bitmap
    PICOLAY is getting a new logo...
  • 2019-07-30
    Stack multiple subfolders improved.
  • 2019-06-29
    Cloning bug fixed.
  • 2019-05-06
    Window positioning and stacking algorithm improved, parameters for test alignment changed.
  • 2019-04-15
    Again and again: Alignment improved. Should give better results with all types of images...

  • 2019-03-23
    Alignment improved again. Should be better for macro images now.
    Clean background bug fixed.

  • 2019-03-13
    Alignment improved again. It's now better resistant against repetitive patterns.

  • 2019-02-19
    Alignment further improved. It's now based on both colour comparison and edge detection.

  • 2019-01-19
    Alignment improved.

  • 2018-11-18
    Sorry, yesterday I had uploaded a wrong version of PICOLAY. Those who have downloaded this before Sun 18.11. at 11:00 CET should do it again. The correct version has now 'Version: 2018-11-18' on its main window.

  • 2018-11-17
    Finally PICOLAY has become a 64 bit application. File size has doubled, the program works 20 - 25 % faster and can now handle huge images, which had caused problems in the 32 bit version.

  • 2018-04-07
    Stacking of multiple subfolders improved. The results are now saved with specific names in the folder above the subfolders. Furthermore, the stacking parameters can be changed easier prior to starting the stacking routine.

  • 2018-02-21
    Again Stacking routine improved...

  • 2017-12-06
    Stacking routine improved: more detail less artificial edges...

  • 2017-11-20
    Manual updated.

  • 2017-11-16
    Stacking routine improved.
    p# in files generated by PICOLAY is now replaced by py.
  • 2017-06-18
    Stacking routine further improved.
  • 2017-06-06
    Stacking routine made considerably faster (and better)..
  • Some bugs fixed.
  • 2017-05-21
    Some bugs fixed.
  • 2017-05-14
    Stacking results smoothed better.
  • 2017-05-06
    Stacking artefacts reduced.
  • 2017-04-22
    Bug fixed that occurred with resizing the result image during 3D image generation. Sorry for making two updates within two days...
  • 2017-04-20
    PICOLAY can now be used to make a very basic stitching. Just copy two images into the left and right window. Select 'Mouse -> Merge/stitch L&R image' and define one corresponding position in both images, before merging them. To be able to clean a possible seam in the merged image, the 'Clone to result image' was developed to work with shifted positions in images of different sizes.
  • 2017-01-11
    Stacking speed significantly increased.

  • 2016-12-02
    Minor improvements.

  • 2016-11-02
    Alignment routine improved.
    It's now really better and a bit faster. Sorry for a second update after a few days...
    Rename 'p#' in advance using 'Image list -> Rename marked files' by checking '[X] Do with all new files'. Stacked images can hereby get individual names without later renaming being necessary.
  • 2016-10-30
    Stacking routine improved by combining several algorithm changes since March 2016.
    Alignment routine improved.
    Stacking images in multiple subfolders can now be done with four different parameter sets.

  • 2016-10-02
    Stacking routine improved.
    Paintbrush maximum size increased to 256 Pixel diameter.
    3D panelslightly changed.

  • 2016-08-15
    Stacking routine improved.
    Manual updates (English and German)
  • 2016-07-25
    Stacking routine improved.
    Minimum contrast renamed to Noise reduction, which should be easier understandable.
    Bug removed that occurred with the Paintbrush or Clean background tool.

  • 2016-07-18
    Stacking routine improved (faster and better), especially for large images.
    RGB values are now indicated above the image window (as well as the x/y position) when you are moving the mouse over the image.

  • 2016-06-29
    New routine added that helps to clean the background. It's a mouse tool. You define the background colour and the colour to be changed (by a right-button click), as well as tolerance ranges for colour and brightness. Then you can wipe with a wide brush over the image and fill in the background colour in the areas meeting the tolerance limits. With a new right-button click you select a new target colour wherever it is required.

  • 2016-06-23
    Stacking routine improved to keep low contrast areas better in the back.

  • 2016-05-26
    Anaglyph colours (still red-cyan) can now be set to 'Full colour', 'Half colour' or 'Optimised (Dubois)'.
    Stacking routine changed slightly.
    Alignment improved.

  • 2016-03-24
    Stacking made more sensitive to both, fine and coarse structures. Low-contrast areas go better to the background now.

  • 2016-03-12
    Image alignment can now be performed along with the stacking procedure (starting from the last images of the stack) [check 1x], or one can do it prior to the stacking as well [check 2x]. In this case images are aligned to the middle of the stack first.
    Manuals updated (English and German).
    Batch routines removed from the program.
  • 2016-02-05
    Completely new alignment algorithm gives better results and is faster than before.
    Manuals updated (English and German).
    Some bugs fixed.
  • 2016-01-19
    New stacking algorithm gives better results particularly with large images.
    Some (but not all) bugs fixed.
  • 2015-12-22
    Sorry for uploading a new version after 2 days, only. But this has the
    Stacking routine improved to deal better with large structures,
    and the alignment routine improved.
  • 2015-12-20
    Same old story: Stacking routine improved.

  • 2015-11-25
    Slight changes of the Auto-align images routine.
    Sharpening routine improved.

  • 2015-11-23
    Auto-align images starts now with the last image in the list.
    Auto-save depth map is now set to off. The switch has been moved from 'Options' to the stacking panel.
    Test 4 param. sets is now switched on. Thus, the user sees the effect of some parameters and can easily to find the optimum result.
  • 2015-11-01
    White balance improved.
    New function Flip map (found under 'Options') allows for switching the 3D information from convex to concave and vice versa.

  • 2015-09-27
    Hologram stacking made softer.

  • 2015-09-09
    New FAQs added to the homepage in English and German.

  • 2015-08-12
    Hologram stacking routine improved.

  • 2015-06-01
    Hologram stacking routine improved.
    Version control now indicates automatically when a new version is ready for download.
  • 2015-05-24
    Stacking routine improved. Back and forth - now top-down again...

  • 2015-04-23
    Stacking routine improved. (Sorry, back to 'bottom-up').
    Alignment improved.
    Bug fixed.

  • 2015-04-04
    - Stacking routine improved to reduce noise. The image is now analysed top-down and not bottom-up any more.
    - Alignment routine improved.
    - New function: An interlaced overlay of map and stacked image can be copied to the image window (function is reached on top of the result image). This allow for editing the map as overlay of the stacked result.
  • 2015-02-28
    - Stacking routine again a bit faster and hopefully better.

  • 2015-02-25
    - Stacking routine made faster by 20 % and better.
    - Some minor bugs fixed.

  • 2015-02-02
    - Stacking algorithm improved to generate a smoother background with increasing values for the minimum contrast.
    - Some bugs fixed.
    - Additonal download offer: PICOLAY.zip (containing PICOLAY.exe without installer, help- and demo files).

  • 2014-10-12
    - Stacking window simplified.
    - Again some changes of the stacking algorithm.

  • 2014-10-04
    - Minor changes of the stacking algorithm.
    - Minor changes of the alignment algorithm.
    - Cleaner edges.
  • 2014-09-30
    - Better stacking results by new fast algorithm.
  • 2014-09-12
    - Fine-tuning of internal parameters.
  • 2014-09-09
    - Minor changes of internal parameters.
  • 2014-09-07
    - Faster stacking by a factor of about 3. Stacking is now performed on resized edge images using smaller filters. Furthermore, I have changed internal routines to integer- instead of floating point calculations.
  • 2014-08-26
    - Some internal changes concerning stacking algorithm, alignment etc.

  • 2014-08-20
    - New stacking algorithm makes the stacking procedure faster by about 20%.

  • 2014-08-11
    - Completely new algorithm makes image alignment faster by a factor of 2.

  • 2014-06-02
    - Image alignment made faster for large images.
    - Toggle marks added to stacking of several subfolders with one click.
  • 2014-05-25
    - Stacking routine made a bit faster (depth map becomes a bit more rough at the same time).
    - Some more bugs fixed
  • 2014-05-21
    - Sorry for a new update after 2 days, only. I fixed a bug that really improves the background if you are using minimum contrast values above 1...
  • 2014-05-19
    - Manuals updated.
    - Short reference updated.
  • 2014-05-17
    - Bug with 3D display of colour-based stacked images fixed.
    - Auto-save maps is now set to ON as pre-set parameter.
  • 2014-05-10
    - Filter properties made more flexible. Here an example (animated gif) of the effects of varied filter settings.
  • 2014-05-06
    - Major changes of the Stacking procedure. The adjustable parameter 'Weighted average', has been removed, as it was not very useful in the latest versions (internally it is still applied). Instead, one can now set the stacking filter to 'Automatic' or to a "Fixed value" value between 1 (high-pass) and 10 (low-pass). In the first case the filter will change within the image depending on the degree of detail.
  • 2014-04-10
    - Stacking algorithm improved.
    - Bug fixed that sometimes occurred during rotation around the x axis.
  • 2014-02-25
    - Image alignment routine improved.
  • 2014-02-24
    - Stacking algorithm changed to reduce background noise.
  • 2014-01-27
    - Bug concerning Colour-based hologram stacking fixed.
  • 2013-12-23
    - Scroll bar management improved.
  • 2013-11-30
    - Stacking algorithm changed again, this time taking care of the details...
  • 2013-11-11
    - Stacking algorithm changed to give low-pass results a higher impact.
  • 2013-11-03
    - Some internal routines improved.
  • 2013-10-27
    - Stacking algorithm again and further improved to give a less noisy background.
    - Manuals (English ahnd German) updated.
  • 2013-10-20
    - Stacking algorithm improved to give a less noisy background.
    - PICOLAY now can switch off the computer after having finished stacking of multiple folders.
    - Hint: If you have installed PICOLAY into the standard program folder, and you can not start it: Click on the icon with the right mouse button and use 'Start as administrator' ...
  • 2013-09-30
    - PICOLAY now can now handle up to 65535 images at once (theoretically - do not try too long lists).
    - Manuals (English and German) updated.
    - Installer added, that allows to set up PICOLAY on your hard disk or USB stick.
  • 2013-09-25
    - New function: Relief-like visualisation. Under 3-D view one can now generate relief-like images. A new panel allows for overlaying (in B/W) the depth map and sharp image, and for adding shadows (light coming from top left) with adjustable density and intensity.
  • 2013-08-21
    - Help management improved: Pressing the F1-key now opens context-related HTML files with a short reference about Main window, Image window, Result window and 3D settings.
    - Download now is offered as zip file with a subfolder 'picolay_helpfiles'.
    - If this subfolder is not installed (or not found) on the local computer, it will be opened on the PICOLAY homepage.
    - 'Stack with current parameters' is now started by Ctrl-F1.
    - Image alignment improved.
  • 2013-06-27
    - Stacking algorithm further developed: Differentiation of high- and low-pass filter results used to better show hairs and similar structures.

  • 2013-06-20
    - Stacking algorithm optimized again.
    - Bug eliminated that showed ghost images in some cases.

  • 2013-06-13
    - PICOLAY finally can generate interlaced stereo images, either Right-Left or Left-Right. See here an animated example (for polarized goggles. Take care to display it at 100% on your polarized monitor and move it vertically until you see the correct clockwise rotation in 3D).
    - Furthermore, stereo images R-L or R-L on top of each other (half height each) can be produced.
    - Batch stacking of subfolders can now do automatic alignment for all subfolders (so far this function stopped at the first folder).
    - Stacking algorithm changed...as always.

  • 2013-05-18
    - Stacking algorithm improved again (back to the roots in some regards, faster but hopefully better...).

  • 2013-05-12
    - Stacking algorithm improved...
    - Minor changes of the GUI.

  • 2013-04-28
    - Bug in the Subfolder stacking routine fixed.
    - Insert intermediate images procedure improved.
    - Mouse tool function Sharpen improved.

  • 2013-04-24
    - Alignment procedure improved.
    - Bug in the Hologram procedure fixed.
    - Stacking algorithm slightly improved again (and again and again...).

  • 2013-04-08
    - Some bugs concerning the mouse tool functions fixed (colour artefacts during cloning, and drawing of the scale bar).
    - 3D-Panel cleared out: The choices Original/Map/Overlay, B/W and Grid were removed. The latter was not perfectly working, the others can be obtained simply by copying the respective image to the result window. "Seam around 3-D pixels" was renamed to "Pixel enlargement".
    - Stacking algorithm slightly improved again.

  • 2013-03-29
    - Standard settings changed. PICOLAY now offers to generate four images stacked with different parameters for minimum contrast and weighted average. This takes only a few seconds and facilitates the finding of perfect values.
    - Alignment of images improved.
    - Stacking algorithm slightly changed.

  • 2013-02-24
    - Stacking algorithm now considers colour changes and not only grey values if applicable.

  • 2013-02-23
    - New galleries: Now sorted according to the viewing modes: 2D-stacks, anaglyphs, crossed-eyes stereos, animations, and MPO files.

  • 2013-02-18
    - Bug fixed that caused an stacking error when there were unmarked images in the list.

  • 2013-02-03
    - New batch routine added. It is now possible to perform stacking of several image series in different subfolders with one click. Details are described under File -> Stack images in subfolders.
    - Image stacks are now analysed 'bottom-up'. This allows better elaboration of upper structures.
    - Depth map algorithm changed to bring smooth areas better into the background.
  • 2013-01-27
    - Noise reduction further developed. Areas not reaching the minimum contrast (set as stacking parameter) are now filled with smoothed average, which generates a nice 'bokeh'.

  • 2013-01-22
    - New internal stacking algorithm, which is about 10 % faster and better at low contrast areas. - Noise reduction further improved.
    - 3D projection improved.
  • 2013-01-16
    - Some minor corrections...
  • 2013-01-13
    - Noise reduction routine added.
    This averages pixels at areas of low contrast, if the minimum contrast ist set to a value > 0.
  • 2013-01-05
    - Stacking algorithm again improved.
    - MPO file generation is now started in a separate window that allows editing of the new name.
  • 2012-12-26
    - Stacking algorithm further developed. Low contrast areas now give less noise.
  • 2012-12-11
    - PICOLAY can now generate MPO files as well as reading them. This function is found under 'Image list' (where it will combine the 1st two marked jpg files in the list but not display the mpo) or under '3D-view' (as option coupled to the generation of two separate images). Upon opening mpo files they will be split and indicated as two jpg images in the list.
  • 2012-11-26
    - PICOLAY can now be used as the standard program to open jpg files. Alternatively one can move images on the PICOLAY icon to open them.
    - Bug fixed that caused memory overflow when large numbers of images were processed.
  • 2012-10-11
    - MPO files reading routine made faster and more tolerant. Generation of MPO files has still to be worked out.
  • 2012-10-10
    - PICOLAY now can read MPO files, at least some of them. I am still improving this routine, and I am also trying to implement the generation of MPO images very soon ...
  • 2012-09-23
    - Synchronize function made less glitchy.
    - Show parameters/Batch file routine updated.
  • 2012-08-19
    - Stacking algorithm slightly improved.
  • 2012-08-01
    - Blurring made smoother.
    - Bug preventing hologram stacking removed.
  • 2012-07-26
    - Bug removed that sometimes caused 'division by zero error' during stacking.
  • 2012-07-21
    - New algorithm for noise reduction working independent of 'Minimum contrast'. The latter has been set to zero as standard value.
    - Image stacks are now read top-down. This moves unsharp areas more to the background.
    - New function: When 'Synopsis' is switched on with the mouse tool as paintbrush, the mouse movements are shown on the overlay of depth map and sharp image on the right. This helps during retouching.
    - Internal parameter added (sensitivity, increases with image dimensions).
    - Bug in the 'Save depth map as' routine removed.
  • 2012-07-17
    - Bug removed that occurred sometimes during alignment.
  • 2012-07-15
    Bug removed that disabled the 3D view function after stacking.
  • 2012-07-14
    Several changes again:
    - After finishing the stacking procedure, an overlay of stacked result + depth map is displayed in the left image. This should help to optimise the stacking parameters. (The overlay is not saved automatically.)
    - The zoom factor of the right window is no longer coupled to that of the image window, unless synopsis is switched on.
    - Preference of top or bottom layers algorithm changed.
    - Weighted average algorithm slightly changed.
    - A click on Abort program on the activity indicator panel now causes the program to close.
    - Any open windows are now closed if new images are added.
    - Double display of added image names is now prevented.
    - Manuals (German and English version) updated.
  • 2012-07-12
    - PICOLAY has become simpler, smarter and better.
    - The Filter radius, one of the parameters the user had to set is vanished, as the program now applies variable filters depending on the image area and structures.
    - For this reason the pyramide algorithm became superfluous and has been removed as well.
    - Patches can now be both widened or narrowed. The latter can be used to remove dust particles or to reduce unwanted halos around fine structures.
    - The Preference of top frames has been extended to allow negative values (preference of bottom structures) as well.
  • 2012-06-26
    - Stacking algorithm improved, transitions between contrast-rich and -poor areas made softer.
  • 2012-06-26
    - Stacking algorithm improved. Weighted average and sharpest pixel are mixed in a different way, to give a smoother result.
  • 2012-06-23
    - Stacking algorithm improved.
  • 2012-06-07
    - New function: Synopsis (switched on and off on top of the Result window). This synchronizes size and position of the Result window with that of the Image window on the left side. The function is helpful for image comparisons and especially for zooming into cross-eyed image pairs.
    - Alignment algorithm improved.
  • 2012-05-31
    - Again and again: Stacking algorithm improved.
    - Auto-align and resize can now be checked on the stacking panel.
  • 2012-05-14
    - Depth maps and images to be displayed in 3D now can be directly loaded and copied to the corresponding windows (Edit -> Copy to result window or Copy to depth map, respectively) without prior stacking. This opens new possibilities of 3D visualizaton beyond focus stacking. E.g., one even can copy any image to the depth map, where the degree brightness will be interpreted as height...
    - More bugs fixed.
    - Deutsch: Neues Tutorial: Schritt für Schritt.
  • 2012-05-10
    - A few bugs fixed.
  • 2012-05-07
    - Stacking algorithm changed again. The pyramid algorithm can now be used additionally. Already former versions had analysed sharpness of images at different scales. The new formula simply measures differences of images generated by sequential down- and (re-) upscaling on different scales.
  • 2012-05-04
    - Stacking algorithm improved again. It now should work better with large structures and filter radius values.
  • 2012-04-29
    - New stacking algorithm. This should make it easier to find the perfect parameters.
    - New function: Marked images can be drawn into a frame with adjustable colour.
  • 2012-04-22
    - File management improved. One can now add or remove images in a more flexible manner.
    - Some internal improvements that also may influence the image quality.
    - A few bugs fixed, i.e. the one causing crash at a filter radius of 1.
  • 2012-03-19
    - Resize function improved, gives slightly better results of various routines.
    - Window management improved. The little tool windows stay on top if images are enlarged etc.
    - Beep when done is now directly activated on the business indicator window.
  • 2012-03-15
    - Auto-align function (F6) improved and made faster.
    - The ugly egdes of [RL], [LR], [RLR] etc. images silenced.
  • 2012-03-14
    - PICOLAY can now open and save jpeg stereo files (*.jps). They can be generated under 3D view as RL od LR images.
    - The help function now starts with a clickable list of contents.
    - One can switch between an English and German version of the manual.
  • 2012-02-18
    - And back again: I have improved the weighted average function. Its now more powerful. However, it requires new reading of the frames.
  • 2012-02-12
    - Finding the best stacking parameters made faster: Testing of different weighted average values can now be performed within a few seconds changed without reading of all images again. The same is possible for Minmum contrast, and Patch enlargement, while new values for Filter radius and Preference of upper frames require new reading.
    - Auto-set parameters replaces the former function Auto-set brightness and align. Currently, this is not yet an improvement, as only size-dependent standard values are set. It is planned to develop this to an "intelligent" routine that automatically does alignment, brightness correction etc.
    - Manual updated, within the program and as external pdf file.
    - Deutsche Anleitung auf den neuesten Stand gebracht (als pdf-Datei).
  • 2012-01-25
    - Weighted average function improved. Frames above the sharpest one now contribute to the result if they have at least 80 % of the maximum sharpness.
    - Enhance image functions improved. Now brightness-affecting steps are applied first. Image resizing is now performed (internally) stepwise, if the factor exceeds 2.
    - Copy depth map to image window, edit it, and copy back to depth map: bug removed and improved.
  • 2012-01-20
    - Smooth function now renamed to 'Enlarge patches (of same layer around sharp pixels)'. The effect strength can be set to values from 0 to 9, i.e. the radius in which the same layer as the next neighbouring sharp pixel is selected (as long as there is no other sharp pixel around).
  • 2012-01-15
    - Smooth function during stacking improved. This routine was not helpful in the last versions and previously generated little crosses. The new version allows for using higher minimum contrast values and fills holes originating from that with pixels from the surrounding layers - the impacted area depends on the radius value.
  • 2012-01-14
    - Two bugs concerning the image enhancement routine fixed.
  • 2012-01-11
    - The enhancement window now shows a histogram window, which helps to find the best parameters.
    - A few bugs removed.
  • 2011-12-31
    - Stacking algorithm improved.
    - Some bugs removed, the very last ones - for this year ;-)
  • 2011-12-27
    - PICOLAY now comes in BLUE. If you don't like that, set it back to grey under Options.
    - I have added tracking bars to the stacking parameter panel. Furthermore, the stacking process can be started by double-clicking the numbers of this panel.
    - Last not least: Some bugs removed...
  • 2011-12-23
    - As there were still problems causing program abort when the new contrast slider was used, I have changed it. Now any change of parameters causes rapid calculation of a new stacking result after you have once analysed the stack by Go.
  • 2011-12-18
    - Due to memory management problems causing program abort I have replaced the old function Auto-vary parameters by Auto-set brightness and align.
  • 2011-12-17
    - Stacking parameters can be set easier now. There is a slider for the Minimum contrast value. Furthermore, the new result is calculated immediately when you change Minimum contrast, Auto-enhance or Smooth (provided the stack has been analysed already).
    - A few minor bugs fixed.
  • 2011-10-22
    - Some minor bugs removed.
  • 2011-10-18
    - Window management improved: A new menue item above the images now allows to switch between full- and half-screen image windows. The Esc-key, double-clicking on the window frame or clicking on [Half screen] brings you back to normal size. Another menue item switches between 100% (= 1:1) display of the images and display fitted to the current window. [+] and [-] causes stepwise size changes as before.
    - Beep when done sound improved.
  • 2011-10-06
    - PICOLAY can now open PNG and RAW images (additionally to jpg, bmp, gif, tif). Results can also be saved in the PNG format. For opening RAW images (implemented formats: DNG [Adobe], CR2 [Canon] or NEF [Nikon]) one needs to install the appropriate CODECs, which are freely available from the manufactures. Unfortunately, not all codecs work on 64 bit systems.
  • 2011-08-28
    - Function of the F1 key changed. Now F1 starts stacking with current parameters. Repeated runs with automatically varied parameters have to be selected under 'Set stacking parameters -> Auto-vary parameters -> Go'.
    - The correct decimal separator (comma or point, depending on the regional settings) is now automatically recognized.
    - Stacking algorithm further developed. It is now possible to mix the sharpest layer on each position with the weighted average of sharpness beetween 0 and 100 %.
  • 2011-08-23
    - Some bugs fixed. There might be more to be detected in the new Delphi XE version...
  • 2011-08-20
    - New compiler used to generate PICOLAY. Instead of using Delphi 5 (from 1999) I have now switched to the current Delphi XE version to further develop the program.
    - The last version compiled with Delphi 5 will be kept available for free download under the name picolayD5.exe. The new version has currently the same functionality as the old one, but this will change in the future. The new program file is twice as big as picolayD5 but still small (1.6 MB), fully portable and without need of installation.
    - PLEASE drop me a mail, if there are bugs in the new version that did not occur before.
    - PICOLAY has got a new graphical user interface with some of the forms in new order.
    - Under 'Options' it is now possible to set a fixed width : height ratio for cropping (4:3, 3:2, 1:1 or manual).
    - A bug in 'Divide by 1st image' was fixed.
  • 2011-07-17
    - PICOLAY can now correct the rotation of images in the alignment routine. Function has to be activated under 'Options'.
    - Alignment routine improved.
    - Some internal corrections made.
    - Manual (engl.) updated.
  • 2011-07-12
    - Crop all images routine repaired (had been out of order in the last version).
  • 2011-07-10
    - Size adjustment routine during stack alignment improved.
    - Some windows made a bit larger to fit on Windows 7 desktops.
  • 2011-06-24
    - Bug in 'Mouse function Clone to to result image' fixed.
    - Enhance image Sharpen routine improved.
  • 2011-06-11
    - Stacking routine improved.
    - Enhance image routines a little bit further developed.
  • 2011-06-10
    - Enhance image routines further developed. It is now possible to adjust brightness and contrast separarately for dark and bright areas.
  • 2011-05-29
    - Alignment routine further improved.
    - Bug in 'Smooth' map during stacking fixed.
  • 2011-05-25
    - Rotation algorithm improved (under 'Enhance image').
    - Alignment routine improved (to be continued...).
  • 2011-05-16
    - Stacking algorithm slightly improved, minor bug in alignment routine removed.
  • 2011-05-12
    - Bug removed that caused artifacts in the smooth stacking and F12 routine.
  • 2011-05-09
    - 'Auto-align positions & resize' routine improved. It's now slower but gives better results.
  • 2011-05-04
    - Some bugs in the 'Auto-align positions & resize' routine fixed.
  • 2011-05-01
    - Resize function improved. Now it is faster, especially with large images.
  • 2011-04-29
    - PICOLAY can now resize images. This routine will especially be helpful for pictures taken through a stereo microscope, where the object appears moving with the focus, as well as for macro images, where the objects appear larger when the lens comes closer. Use this function prior to stacking. Under 'Options' the resize function can be inactivated or switched on again.

    TIP: If the alignment is not perfect, a second run might give a better result.

    TIP: If you have any hot pixels on your chip or dust in your optical systems, it is recommended that you take unsharp images above and underneath the object, average these and subtract them via the 'Set background/flat field' routine (F10). Otherwise those particles could grow to disturbing lines.
  • 2011-04-16
    - Bug fixed that caused abort during F1 routine.
  • 2010-12-16
    - New function implemented: Images in the clipboard can now be pasted to all marked images in the list. Function can be reached via 'Edit' or 'Mouse function' above the image window.
    - Stacking algorithm further developed. Contrast and colour saturation are now corrected for the average colour of an image.
  • 2010-12-10
    - Bug fixed that caused error messages in the hologram routine.
    - Colour-based hologram routine improved.
  • 2010-12-04
    - Same old story (to be continued): Stacking algorithm further developed.
    - Map-based 3-D images improved.
  • 2010-11-29
    - And again: Stacking algorithm further developed.
    - Map-based 3-D images improved.
  • 2010-11-14
    - Even after many hours of optimisation I still find improvements of the stacking algorithm. Besides peak detection, edge detection and colour saturation, contrast is now contributing a bit to the sharpness assessment.
  • 2010-11-05
    - Some bugs (that creep in whenever major changes are made) fixed. Now the program is bug-free ;-) until you let me know what's going wrong...
  • 2010-11-04
    - Faster stacking and hopefully better results again.
  • 2010-10-31
    - Major changes of internal processes:
    - New stacking algorithm, especially for large filter frames. So far all images were scaled down if a filter radius > 1 was used (modified pyramid algorithm). This is now unnecessary. A new radius-dependent algorithm allows to do faster stacking with a single read (as soon as the mean values and target image have been calculated).
    - Colour saturation is now contributing to the quality assessment during stacking.
    - Improved procedure to minmize halos at high- to low-contrast transitions.
    - 3D images are generated faster, especially if the hologram function is applied. (Now a single read generates the two images required for 3D output.)
    - Rectangles are drawn with thicker lines to prevent them from disappearing at zoom values < 100%.
  • 2010-10-14
    - Some minor bugs fixed.
  • 2010-10-10
    - Stacking algorithm improved. When I do this I check the results with at least 20 different image stacks that show a range of different features. I hope that the users also get better output....
  • 2010-10-01
    - Pdf of the presentation at the IME Meeting in Emden (17.-19.9.2010) added under 'Examples'.
  • 2010-09-28
    - Under 'Options' it is now possible to have the original file name added to p# files generated by PICOLAY.
  • 2010-09-10
    - Some internal changes, including stacking algorithm.
  • 2010-09-01
    - New tutorial (engl.)
    - Some small changes to match tutorial and program.
  • 2010-08-27
    - New function 'Sharpen' under mouse functions. This allows to apply the sharpening procedure to selected areas of images.
    - New button on the mouse function window. This makes it easier to overwrite original images, e.g. after you have sharpened or blurred certain areas to improve stacking results.
  • 2010-08-13
    - Some internal simplifications.
  • 2010-08-07
    - Stacking results of the F1 routine ('Try set of varied parameters') are now saved in the format selected under 'Options'.
    - Stacking parameters of the F1 routine changed.
    - Bug occurring during generation of more than one rocking gifs fixed.
  • 2010-08-04
    - One-click stacking for lazy users
    The F1-key or clicking on 'Stack with varied parameters' will start a series of routines with pre-adjusted parameters.
    * Non-marked entries in the listbox (but not the image files on disc) will be removed.
    * The images of the stack will be corrected for x- and y- displacements (especially required for stacks taken with a stereo microscope).
    * Brightness of the images will be harmonised.
    * Repeated stacking runs with varied parameters will be performed. This generates a list of 'p#sharp...' files with the parameters as part of the name.
    * The files 'p#avmap.bmp' and 'p#avsharp.bmp' will be generated, which contain the average of the stacked results and the corresponding 2-D maps.
    Just browse the stacked results to find the best one or to learn which parameters give the best result.
  • 2010-08-01
    - Stacking algorithm improved. PICOLAY is still expecting to have the uppermost image on top of the list (carry out 'Reverse list top-down', if this is not the case). However, stacking now starts at the bottom and gives better results for the object surface.
  • 2010-07-07
    - Print function improved (is still not very sophisticated).
    - Bug in 'Save result as' function fixed.
  • 2010-07-04
    - Acoustic signal when done, can now be selected under options.
    - Little bug that displayed strange colours during stacking was removed.
  • 2010-06-13
    - Visualisation of rectangles and circles during image editing improved.
  • 2010-06-10
    - x/y alignment improved. Should give better results with image series taken through stereo micrsoscopes.
  • 2010-05-30
    - Stacking algorithm improved again. Now one has to apply about 20 % higher values for 'Minimum contrast', which allows finer differentiation than before.
  • 2010-05-29
    - Stepwise rotation is now correctly done with all 8 different output 3-D formats.
  • 2010-05-06
    - Algorithm for sharpness detection improved. Fine structures are better detectable than before, especially if a filter frame size >1 is used.
    - Preview of Rotation angles close to 90° or 270° (subroutine 'Enhance') is now correct.
  • 2010-04-05
    - New function Divide, which allows to divide the RGB values of marked images by those of the first image in the list. This is useful for some scientific applications.
    - Wipe dust routine removed. The same result can be obtained by other routines.
    - Manual (engl.) updated.
    - Some minor bugs fixed.
  • 2010-04-04
    - Several algorithms have been changed to obtain more stable and smoother results: The stacking routine now (is a bit slower than so far as it) looks at edges in the maximum black and maximum white extracts as well as colour saturation. Weighted average is not a selectable parameter any more, as it has been integrated into the normal stacking procedure. Low contrast areas are now filled with a more structured background than the pure average used so far.
    - Animated gif images can now be named before saving them.
  • 2010-03-27
    - Some internal things simplified, some bugs fixed (hologram stacking with maps and overlay display), hopefully no new bugs built in.
  • 2010-03-20
    - Hologram stacking improved. Furthermore, like with map-base projections, one can now use either the average or a defined background colour for low-contrast areas.
  • 2010-03-14
    - Map-based 3-D views improved again. One can now use either the average or a defined background colour for low-contrast areas.
  • 2010-03-09
    - Map-based 3-D views improved. Just try a 360° rotation around the x- or y-axis , and you'll get a much sharper result than before.
  • 2010-03-07
    - Perfect stacking parameters can now be found faster: Results for new values/settings for 'Minimum contrast', 'Smoothing' and 'Auto-enhancement' are now displayed in a second, without reading the image stack again.
    - Results of 3-D images with seam are calculated a bit faster than before, too.
  • 2010-03-05
    - Stacking algorithm improved -> faster, smaller, better...
  • 2010-02-26
    - Bugs removed that occurred when Scale bar or Text were positioned on images at zoom values different from 100%.
  • 2010-02-24
    - Transitions between sharp and averaged areas are now smoothed. This gives much better looking stacking results!
  • 2010-02-20
    - New algorithm for Focus stacking gives better results. Gaps of low contrast between sharp areas are filled by a new method. This allows to use higher values for 'Minimum contrast' if the 'Smooth 2-D map' option is used.
    - Little bug in Crop selection removed.
  • 2010-02-13
    - PICOLAY parameters and Batch jobs can be saved to (or loaded from) a text file called 'PICOLAYparams.txt' (in the current image directory). This function is available in File menue and allows to start batch jobs to run series of different routines with series of different parameters.
    - 3-D view now with virtual perspective. Free rotations of objects was done already by PICOLAY. So far the size of structures was kept as found in the original images. Now a (central) perspective can be added showing parts in the foreground bigger (e.g. 5 or 10 %) than the those in the background. This gives a more natural impression.
    - English Manual updated.
  • 2010-02-01
    - Smooth option within sharpness-based stacking now gives softer transitions between sharp and background zones.
    -Weighted average slightly improved.
    -Hologram stacking slightly improved.
  • 2010-01-25
    - Displacement correction of x- and y-positions improved. PICOLAY is now better suited for use with z-stacks generated with stereo microscopes. One click (F6) generates an aligned stack (saved under xy#...bmp).
  • 2010-01-24
    - 'Flat field correction' and 'White balance' now offer an image-based target colour when activated.
    - Bug fixed that occurred when prior to Flat field correction another routine was run.
    - Manual updated.
    - German manual and German tutorial updated.
  • 2010-01-17
    - Hologram stacking improved. Bug in colour-based hologram-stacking fixed.
    - Image list handling improved. List window can now be resized.
  • 2010-01-13
    - New modes of 3D output added. There are now 8 different image formats selectable with a single click:
    • Cyan-red overlay = anaglyph image
    • Two separated images [R] and [L] (showing right- and left-eye view)
    • [RL] = right-left combined (for cross viewing)
    • [RLR] = right-left-right (shows convex and concave image)
    • [LR] = left-right combined (for parallel viewing)
    • [LRL] = left-right-left (shows convex and concave image)
    • [RLLR] = panel with 4 half-sized images (shows convex and concave image)
    • Rocking gif: generates animated gif file rocking by the viewing angle.
      (Although the animated file is saved correctly, rocking is displayed only once, but not if you click on the filename in the list.)

  • 2010-01-10
    - Hologram stacking improved. Pixels to be displayed have to possess higher contrast than their neighbours in the previous or next layers. This gives results with increased sharpness.
  • 2009-12-18
    - Bug concerning automatic file name generation fixed.
  • 2009-12-04
    - Stacking algorithm improved, now analyses RGB channels separately instead of grey values averaged from them.
  • 2009-11-27
    - New shortcuts for image list operations.
    - Minor bugs removed.
  • 2009-11-12
    - Map smothing improved.
    - File names generated for 3D-views are now giving more of the used parameters.
  • 2009-11-05
    - Image handling improved (hopefully no new bugs ...).
  • 2009-10-31
    - Hologram stacking improved (interpolation between Z-layers).
    - Image handling improved. PICOLAY now offers to overwrite files beginning with p#, enh#, clip# and slice#, when they were retouched.
  • 2009-10-25
    - Hologram stacking improved, now generates less noise but is a bit slower than before. Furthermore, slices containing the sharp areas of each frame can be exported.
    - Image handling slightly improved.
  • 2009-10-21
    - Image handling and zoom functions improved. Newly opened images are stretched to the window size. Walking through the stack is now performed by clicking on <-- and --> on the image window. One can zoom in ([+] / [-]) without loosing the central postion of the window.
    - Blur function added under mouse tools.
    - Some minor bugs fixed.
  • 2009-10-11
    - The last 'improvement' (Image rotation) had to be bug-fixed - sorry! I appreciate any messages about routines that are obviously faulty.
  • 2009-10-09
    - Image rotation (subroutine of 'Enhance image') improved. Rotation around 90, 180 and 270 degrees is now faster, and the images dimensions (width and height) are adapted.
  • 2009-10-07
    - Bug-fix for 'JPEG error #36' restored. PICOLAY can now handle large jpg files again. Sorry to those who downloaded the program during the last 5 days.
  • 2009-09-23
    - Stacking algorithm improved, some internal simplifications.
  • 2009-09-21
    English & Deutsches Tutorial update
  • 2009-09-19
    New Tutorial (engl.), new Demo video clip
  • 2009-09-13
    Die Anleitung auf DEUTSCH wurde aktualisiert. German Manual updated.
  • 2009-09-08
    The Manual (engl.) was updated .
  • 2009-09-05
    - New progress window added. Incremental numbers indicate program activity. One can terminate ongoing operations (which might leave some crazy results!)
    - Text and scale bars can now be added to all marked images at the same position.
  • 2009-09-01
    - Stacking algorithm improved. Internal simplifications.
    - 'Weighted average' is now set as standard stacking procedure (Start by pressing F1).
    - Alignment of x- and y-positions can now generate jpg and gif files (if selected under options). However bmp remains the recommended file type as the results will be further processed.
  • 2009-08-29
    - New function: Write text on images . This is achieved under Mouse functions. Just select 'Insert text', edit your text in the new little window and place it on the image by a simple click. You can select a font, colour and size before, and write horizontally as well vertically. The 'undo' function is enabled as well.
    - The insert of a scale bar has been simplified, too. This is now done by similar steps as adding text under Mouse functions. Still you have to calculate the length by yourself. One can select any colour, and add it by a click, 'undo' implemented as well.
  • 2009-08-28
    - New function: Insert intermediate images in the Image list menue. This generates additional images (averaged from 1+2, 2+3 ...) and is useful to get smooth transitions in slide shows and if you are going to make 3-D projections with a rather low number of layers in your stack.
    - New function: Seam also usable for Hologram stacking. This gives smoother results, however with less details.
    - New function: The hologram procedure stretches pixels in z direction. This avoids gaps if you turn your 3-D projections to angles around 90°. Before, there were only thin lines visible in that case.
    - Slide show bug removed.
  • 2009-08-25
    - Stacking algorithm slightly improved. Weigthed average function significantly improved.
  • 2009-08-21
    - Ring artefact showing up after 'undo' during cloning removed..
  • 2009-08-20
    - Stacking algorithm slightly improved.
    - The viewing angle of 3-D images can now be set to broken numbers. Please use integers for the rotation angles as before.
    - Wrong naming in the image list (b#b#... instead of b#...) corrected.
  • 2009-08-18
    - Minor corrections of PICOLAY.
    - New page added under Examples: The 3-D capacities are demonstrated in detail...
  • 2009-08-16
    - PICOLAY has got a new stacking algorithm. Instead of using filters (little squares) of different size to detect sharp areas, the images are now resized to smaller dimensions, before they are analysed (with a small filter) to detect large structures. In a second round the original size is analysed in order to detect fine structures. This is a bit similar to the pyramid algorithm. However, I got better (and faster) results when I applied this simple two-step procedure.
    Smooth structures without details are now better detected. Filter frame '2' or '5' now means: Divide width and height by a factor of 2 or 5 for the detection of large structures. The minimum contrast now needs lower values than before. This makes it easier to find the perfect stacking parameters.
  • 2009-08-12
    - New function added: 'Clear list' (under Image list). I became aware that users had tried to clear the list by deleting all marked files from disk...
  • 2009-08-07
    - Some bugs eliminated (hopefully not new ones built in...)
  • 2009-08-04
    - PICOLAY now allows to generate animated gif files by means of a simple click. First start the slide show by pressing the F12-key. This will display all marked images in the list with the interval set under 'Options | Set image parameters'. (Here one also can set whether the show goes backwards or starts from the beginning when the end of the list is reached.) Stop the slide show by clicking in the list or in the image window. Generate the file 'animated.gif' by clicking on 'Image list | Generate animated gif image'. That's it. Your slide show is brought to a format that can be displayed by any browser without the requirement of special drivers. Please regard: Large pictures and many of them will require much disk space and download time...

    - The retouching mouse functions were improved. Rings indicate position and brush width of the mouse tool. The effects are strongest in the middle and fade out at the edges of the line. One can now easily perform manual stacking: Let the program do the stacking routine first. This will bring the result (and hidden depth map) to the (right) result window. Then activate 'Mouse function | Clone to result window' in the image window at the left. Click on each of the original images in the list, and move the mouse (with the left button pressed down) over areas that should be cloned to the stacked result. The cloned areas will automatically be written into the depth map to allow correct 3-D projection later on.

    - The English manual (also readable within PICOLAY under 'Help | Manual') was updated.


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