Advanced Stacker PLUS Version 14

History of the Stacking Action

You can purchase the Advanced Stacker PLUS  below or in the Store.

**NOTE to Mac Users: High Sierra with CS 2018 or CS 2019 WORK properly. BUT
Yosemite, Sierra or High Sierra with PS CC 2015, CS 2017 or CS 2018 have installation problems. We recommend you do NOT purchase this product unless you are using High Sierra and CS 2018 or CS 2019.   There are no known problems with any combination of modern Windows (7 or later) and Photoshop versions.

Quick Instructions for the Impatient

Please read here for detailed instructions.

Take a look here for notes, Q&A and comments.

Purchase Options

Advanced Stacker PLUS [14E] with Online Video and Notes
Includes the even EASIER to install Advanced Photoshop action set version 14E, an unlimited viewing online video on creating star trails, notes (PDF) on creating star trails and practice files. The video is 2 hours long. This action is power. You can create star trails, cloud timestacks and stack images with a minimum of effort and a maximum of control. You can create "comets", "midgets" streaks and much more. And you can create intermediate files along the way to put interesting motion effects into your timelapse. Compatible with Photoshop CS6 (standard or extended), CC, CC 2014-2018. While we have every reason to believe compatibility with CS3, CS4, CS5, and CS5.5 still works, we have no means to test these.
**NOTE: MAC Users with Yosemite or El Capitan, or Sierra and PS CC 2015 or later are reporting installation problems. We recommend you do NOT purchase this product until we have been able to resolve this issue. NOTE: We believe ASP DOES work properly with High Sierra and CS6 and CC 2018.
NOT Compatible with Photoshop Elements, or Lightroom. Please specify your primary OS and Photoshop version when ordering. You will receive links to both Mac and Windows installers.
Advanced Stacker PLUS Version 14E
This action is power. You can create star trails and stack images with a minimum of effort and a maximum of control. You can create "comets", "midgets" streaks and much more. And you can create intermediate files along the way to put interesting motion effects into your timelapse. Version 14e also preserves EXIF data, includes Ultra Long Streaks and more! Compatible with Adobe Photoshop CS5 through CC including CC 2018. Not compatible with any other version of Photoshop, particularly not compatible with Photoshop Elements or Photoshop Lightroom.
**NOTE: MAC Users with Sierra, Yosemite or El Capitan and PS CC 2015-2018 are reporting installation problems. We recommend you do NOT purchase this product until we have been able to resolve this issue. Operation with High Sierra and Photoshop CS6, and CC 2018 is believed to work fine.
Indicate your operating system and Photoshop version. If you have more than one, please indicate which you use the most. You will be sent links for BOTH the Mac and Windows versions.

Using the Advanced Stacker PLUS

Usage of the Advanced Stacker PLUS is very similar to prior versions. Below is a video that may help you get started. If you want to start at the usage example, please click here instead, or advance the pointer to 7 minutes and 6 seconds.

NOTES: Version 14E Presents a dialog BEFORE it creates the base document. Press CONTINUE. See “Common Usage Problems Below”. The beginning of the video shows how to install ASP 14e on Windows.

Most Common Usage Errors

  1. It keeps warning me about “color space” or image size, or popping open the Adobe Camera Raw utility.  You also may get  “Move is not currently  available.” Be sure to check all the indicated options when executing. Also, be sure you only have ONE “StackResults.psd” document open. If you run the “Do This First” more than once, you will have multiple documents open and that makes a mess.

    The File->Automate->Batch DialogI(s) from different Photoshop versions have the same content but a different look. Click either for a larger view.

  2. After using intermediates, there is only one file that has been saved. See the issue above. There must be a “serial number” or all saved files will have the same name.
  3. I get an error “The Command ‘Move’ is not currently available.” The most common causes of this are described in item 1 above, however another cause is when layers are turned off or collapsed prior to running one of the stacking steps.  Do not collapse layer sets. Also make sure you “Do This First” before attempting any other stacking. Finally, be sure you press Stop when the text indicates “PLEASE PRESS STOP now”, not on any other screen of the Do this First.

    Do NOT press Stop now. Nothing has happened yet!


    Do Stop Here! Note that the text will not be yellow.


  4. If Stacking seems to go a bit slow,  hide the Layer Palette and Action Palettes and things will go quite a bit faster. Photoshop will not spend so much time drawing those displays. Indeed, sometimes the stacking goes so fast that you will not see the display update much at all until it is done.
  5. Could not save a copy as …” This error occurs if you use the “with Intermediates but did not specify “Override Saves” and pick an output folder (see screen shot for 1, above).
  6. My images are watermarked and I do not want that!  See Customizations, below.
  7. The command ‘Select’ is not currently available.” The error can if you have more than one StackResults.psd file open (see 1, above).  Make sure you have closed or renamed (by saving) any prior StackResult.psd
  8. How do I select the output location for Intermediates?Select any starting serial number you wish. Be sure to select “Override Action Save As” and choose an output folder.
  9. How do I select the output format for intermediates? How do I select watermarking mode (or turn it off) for intermediates? How can I resize my intermediate files before  saving them?

Known Problems

    1. RE,MJ: “Place Command Not available” when using Do This First. Unknown cause. Disabling the watermark resolves the problem (let us know if it does not!).
      Workaround for "Place" Problem.

      Workaround for “Place” Problem.

  1. How do I stop that ugly watermark? UGLY? Hey, we don’t think it’s ugly :-). But see Customizations, below.


You may want to turn off the default watermark. There are two simple ways to accomplish that and a 3rd way you may find more appealing.

  1. The watermark is a layer in a layer group. To vanquish it, turn off the visibility of the watermark layer (click the eye in the example below) on the Layer palette. To see the Photoshop layer palette use Window -> Layers or hot key F7.  Then click the eye on the watermark layer. The actions expect a watermark group to remain, so do not turn off the eye on the Watermark Folder.  You can turn off this layer at any time – before or after stacking. Intermediate modes use a different watermarking mechanism (see 5, below).
  2. Disable watermarks by selecting a blank watermark (see Known Problem 1, above).
  3. Create your own watermark.  We suggest you use the “Create My Watermark” in the ASP Customizations, and then instead of turning on the StarCircleAcademy or No Watermark, select “Load My Watermark”.  You can always turn it off later if you wish as described in step 1.   Watermarks are automatically scaled to match your image size and positioned as selected in the “Align My Watermark” action of the ASP Customizations.
  4. Do you have a dialog in “Do This First” that bugs you?  Here is how to turn it off:
    If this dialog is turned on, you can turn it off.

    If this dialog is turned on, you can turn it off.

  5. Intermediates use a different watermarking mechanism. Here is how to turn that on/off:

Problems Under Investigation

Problems Resolved

No open issues.

How to Report Problems

  1. Please be specific about the nature of the problem. Doesn’t work or fails is like taking your car to the mechanic and saying “it’s broken”. To get help you need to say more. For example when does the failure occur?
    • If the download links fail with an error message, tell us “Download failed” and provide the error message.
    • If installation fails, please check the INSTALL instructions. If that doesn’t help, please specify what message or failure you get.
    • If an error message pops up, what is it?
    • If you get an unexpected result (appearance) – what was unexpected?
    • Screen shots are often very helpful.  (See here for how to get a screen shot on almost any machine).
  2. Before reporting a problem with using the Advanced Stacker PLUS, please check the “Known Problems” and Common Problems sections above. And please also do a fresh re-install.
  3. Consult the videos above, too.
  4. Let us know (by making a comment below) what the problem was. Please include the following information:
    1. What operating system and Photoshop version you’re using (e.g. Mac OS X 10.8, PS CS4 Extended)
    2. What kind of files you’re using and their size (e.g. 5000×4000 8 bit JPEG)
    3. What step(s) you’ve taken.
    4. What errors or anomalies you’ve noticed.  (e.g. Move not allowed)
    5. If needed we’ll contact you for follow up.

91 thoughts on “Advanced Stacker PLUS Version 14

  1. Ken

    Hey Steve, I really love the Advanced Star Stacker. The one thing is that it automatically flattens the image, which is unfortunately not something I want if I am to edit individual frames to remove airplanes or unwanted headlights. How do we stop this from flattening the image? Thank you very much!

    Actually, these are all my questions:
    1.) How can I keep everything from flattening? In other words, I want to keep all the layers intact for further editing.
    2.) How can I keep the action from renaming each layer?
    3.) How can I have #1 and #2 above work for other functions “long streaks”, “comets”, etc.? Thank you very much.

    You replied with: “I’d start, however, by wondering how many frames you’re talking about? If large and/or more than say 20 then bringing everything in as layers is going to be VERY slow – and it’s part of the reason I created the action to work the way it does.”

    My answer? It’s almost always more than 20, and often over a hundred. I know it’s slow. But it’s the only way I know how to effectively remove airplane trails, inadvertent lights, headlights, mistakes from light painting, etc. I like removing them from individual frames.

    I asked a friend if your stacking left the layers, and he said yes, but I think he misunderstood me. I really hope that I can eliminate the flattening or else I will not be able to use most of your actions, unfortunately, as brilliant and beautifully conceived as it is.

    1. Steven Christenson

      I think you’ve got a workflow conundrum. If your goal is to produce normal (lighten) mode trails, you can use Photoshop CS6 and set all the layers to “lighten” at 100% and you’re done – except for going through the layers one-by-one and fixing them, that is :-). My normal workflow is to export all of my images as JPG or TIFF, open all the ones that have airplane trails in small batches, heal or clone out the trails and save those documents. I then stack the healed documents. There is a “File -> Scripts -> Export Layers to files” that is in newer versions of Photoshop that could help here, but again, my experience is that after about a dozen large layers performance is unsatisfactory. I once made the mistake of trying to save such a document. It spent about 25 minutes writing and then told me that the document was too large! I had to use PSB format. The write ended up taking about three hours.

      1. If the Advanced Stacker PLUS didn’t flatten the image (actually it does a merge layers), the more interesting effects “comets” etc, will not be cumulative. As I state in the instructions, the effect of e.g. normal comet stacking mode lasts at most about 20 frames. By the 21st frame any contribution from the 1st frame is no longer present. This makes interesting timelapse animation. If you have 100 images in layers, what would you expect to get as a result? And how would you operate on the 80 frames that would end up at 0% opacity?

      2. Actions aren’t able to preserve the layer name. Well they can but by default for JPGs and many other file types the layer name is “Background” which is not very helpful. What would be ideal is to preserve the source document name and that can’t be done in an action. With the help of a pair of SCRIPT files, version 14 keeps track of the first through last document names loaded. A Customizations action step “Create Duplicate Using First and Last” will construct a final document name from the first and last input files.

      3. If you want to preserve the layers that are created, you can use the “Intermediates” option and it will write each resulting frame after it has been operated on. I sometimes do this just to see which set of 20 or so images out of 100 produces the most interesting comet effect. As a by product I can make a timelapse from the intermediates.

      1. Ken

        Thanks. That pretty much answers my question. I’ll clone ’em out before stacking them and all will be good and right in the world.

        In the past, when I saved a large document with many layers, I had to merge many of them so it might be, say, only ten layers instead of 90. This still results in an absurdly large file, of course, but allows you to monkey with stuff after the fact. But your action works so quickly that there’s really no reason to save the file anymore.

        And thanks for the rest of the information and, really, a very complete answer. I think this sense of completeness has also transferred to the action, as it seems really well thought out.

  2. Pingback: Time-Lapse Techniques — Creating Star Trails | The Amazing Sky

  3. Steven

    The question was asked: Is there software out there that will let me stack and save the raw files that I’d use for star trails?

    Yes and No.

    “RAW” means native camera format (the manufacturer’s proprietary data format from the sensor) so by definition anything done outside the camera means the file is no longer “RAW” and indeed only the manufacturer would be interested in returning the processed data to a “RAW” form. If you mean can you “preserve the 14 bits of data and all color” that’s a yes, you can. The Advanced Stacker forces 16-bit ProPhoto color space to preserve as much of the original data as possible. There are advantages to using the “rawest possible” format for stacking including better dynamic range, lessening gaps between exposures, and not increasing the noise early in the process. See “Warning: That RAW image is not really RAW – and why it matters

  4. John from Colorado Plateau

    Hi Steven,

    Having a bit of trouble using AS+ with CS6. After creating the black background, I begin to batch stack using ‘Comets’. After the first image appears, I receive a window stating ‘The command ‘Set’ is not currently available’. After clicking on continue, I receive a window stating ‘The command ‘Merge Visible’ is not currently available. After continuing again, the action does it’s thing until the next image appears where I get the same warnings.
    I ‘continued’ through the entire file of images and have a layer stack of numerous layers all titled ‘New Background’ with a black layer on top titled ‘Stack Result’ with no results. Has this happened to anyone else? Thanks for your time and efforts here!

    I’m using 8 bit TIF images and Windows 7 if that helps.

      1. John from Colorado Plateau

        Problem solved. 🙂
        One last question…I would like to ‘reverse’ the comet effect so that they appear to be streaking downward rather than upward. Before I used your action, I did this manually by starting at the bottom of the layer stack near the background layer at 100% opacity and lowering the opacity as I moved up the layer stack. Any ideas how to do this using your action?
        Thanks again for everything!

        1. Steven Christenson Post author

          There is no way to reverse the order that I know of short of renaming files using e.g. Adobe Bridge. The action can’t control what order the files are presented by Photoshop/Bridge. I’ve been wanting to do this myself. Haven’t landed on a simple solution as yet, but think I *might* be able to accomplish it going down the road I’ve started on. Can’t say more now.

  5. Steven Christenson Post author

    Is there any way to make longer comets?

    Yes. Streaks and Long Streaks are longer versions of comets. The effect of Comets diminishes after about 20 frames, Streaks after 43 frames, and Long Streaks after 109 frames. Short Comets last about 9 frames, Tiny Comets only 4, and Midgets about 3.

  6. Jeff S

    I was using the new advanced stacker plus v 13 today and when I do the “Do This First” action, it creates the watermark, then it won’t finish and go to the normal window that allows me to “STOP” unless I then click on the StackResult layer. That’s not such a big deal really, and the normal stacking actions work after that. The problem comes when I go to do “lighten with intermediates.” I get the error “The object “layer “Watermark”” is not currently available.” I’ve never had any of these issues with the previous version, so for today I’m just using that one. It’s not a huge deal, as I can still do what I need to do, but I just though I’d let you know and also see if I can fix it so I only have to keep the newest version loaded. Thanks

    1. Steven Christenson Post author

      Jeff, The watermark action is waiting for you to acknowledge it (click the check or use the enter key – or see the video above). This seems to be confusing people so we’re removing it from the next release. Sorry for the difficulty.

  7. Jeff S

    I gotcha, but the real issue is after that. Regardless whether I click the check or deny it, if I then run “lighten with intermediates,” I get the error “The object layer “Watermark” is not currently available.” So far, it only does this with the “lighten with intermediates” action. I’m running the “long streaks with intermediates” now and it’s perfectly fine. I’ve deleted and reinstalled the actions, as I thought maybe something had gotten accidentally changed, but it still does it every time I try “lighten with intermediates” no matter what. Maybe this is only happening to me for some reason but so far I can’t see why. As I said, it’s not a huge deal for me, since I can run them with version 11, but it would be nice to figure out what’s going on, especially if anyone else has had this issue too.

    1. Steven Christenson Post author

      Thanks, for the details Jeff. Looking into that.

      Had another customer who reported this:

      I did have one problem when processing the intermediates. It kept asking me to save the file after each one. I did have the override save command checked. So I’m not sure why it kept doing this.

      Looking into that, too!

  8. Glendon

    Hey there. Awesome tool, btw. Been using the original stacker for a few and upgraded to the advanced stacker plus recently. I have been receiving a window stating ‘The command ‘Set’ is not currently available’. After clicking on continue, I receive a window stating ‘The command ‘Merge Visible’ is not currently available.

    I am using canon RAW files from a 5D MKII. I am currently converting all my files to JPEG to see if that will work.

    Any progress on what’s going on or an inclination as to a fix for me?

    I can send you a couple of the photos, nothing special, Polaris, easy to stack etc.

    Also is there any way to have the action auto align the pics for regular stacking? Or am I asking for something that’s so basic I should just learn how to do it on my own?

    Love the work.


    1. Steven Christenson Post author

      Glendon, Sorry for a slow reply – we’ve been out of town. I’ll look you up in the customer database. We did find a problem affecting some users and we are working on a fix which has been sent to some customers already.

      As for “aligning” images, I’m not sure what you’re asking. If your tripod is moving or unstable then getting a good star trail is much harder, however I did cover one case where my tripod was “sinking” and I salvaged a star trail using Photoshops “Auto align layers”. It’s described/illustrated at time 47:50 in the “NP 150: Fixing Those Almost Shots” video.

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  11. Brendan Goodger

    Sorry to trouble you.

    I have Star Circle Academy V13. I use CS6 – Bridge and ACR. After I make my global corrections in ACR how do I load them into CS6 using the Action using Batch mode? Just need some really clear instructions.


    1. Steven Christenson Post author

      Fair question. The simplest answer is to make your changes in ACR and then click “done” rather than open. When you then open the files with Photoshop (through Bridge or through the file interface) Photoshop will automatically apply the changes you made in ACR by using the *.xmp files. The other way is to duplicate settings from one file to the others using Bridge.

      See here:

      and here for a live tutorial, though admittedly I don’t point out everything I am doing.


    Hi Steven,
    Do you know when you’ll have an installer for Mac users? I bought the Advance Stacker and plan to use it in the future until I realized it wasn’t ready for Mac OS.

    I’m in no rush.


    1. Steven Christenson Post author

      See the comment from Jeff, below. The tricky part is finding what folder(s) you need to copy the scripts into. However, the whole shebang works without the scripts. Only the “Install Test” will fail.

      Copy the scripts into the Scripts folder in your Photoshop installation directory.

      On Windows the path will be something like:
      C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop CS5\Preset\Scripts.

      On a MAC this folder is found here:
      Applications > Photoshop CS5 > Presets > Scripts.

  13. Jeff

    I am unable to run the install checker. It keeps failing at: The object “layer “JustATest.jpg”” is not currently available.

    I have deleted and reinstalled several times. I am running CS6 under Win 7, 64-bit.

    PS: The “Prove you are a human” blows. If you need to go back it erases your message.

    1. Steven Christenson Post author

      Jeff: Please see the Owners Manual – near the end “Troubleshooting Installation”. The link to the instruction manual is above. This error indicates the script wasn’t found. BUT it could also be that you’re using CS2, 3 or 4 which require fixups described in the video (first video above)… start watching at around 4:00.

  14. Robert


    I purchased version 14 the other day and installed it manually on my Mac (latest OS with Photoshop CC). I’ve read your Instructions PDF, watched your videos, and looked at your recent posts for explanations of the things I don’t understand, but I’m still stuck on a few points. Can you help?

    1. When I unzip the actions, there are two “Advanced PLUS” action files. One titled “StarCircle Advanced PLUS Version 14” (27KB, dated Sept 11) and another titled “StarCircle Advanced PLUS Version 14” (34KB, dated Sept 12) with an extra space between PLUS and Version. I assume this is an error? Which one is the correct final version?

    2. In the “Great. We’re now ready to stack” dialog box, you include this url: FYI, I’ve tried the URL and, at the moment, it doesn’t work.

    3. I’d like to turn off the whole watermark bit (I prefer to do it in Lightroom), but on a Mac I can’t do it via Installation Check (I think). I’ve tried to do it manually, but so far always end up messing up the actions. Can you explain how to turn off watermarking altogether — if that is possible?

    4. In Version 13, the “Do this FIRST (Start Here)” action creates a totally black base file. In Version 14, the base file is (I think) not black, but a copy of one of the stacking images. Stacking seems to work correctly afterward, but to be on the safe side: Is this correct?

    5. In Version 14, the “Do this FIRST (Start Here)” action does a lot more (i.e., adds many more layers and groups) than it did in Version 13. I’ve been unable to find explanations of some of these new layers and groups. Specifically:

    a. An “Average” folder contains a long list of image layers. It lies below the StackResult, so in theory it should not be visible. No idea what this is for.

    b. There’s an “Average Masking” folder containing two layers and also residing below the StackResult. If it is below the StackResult, what is it masking (the “Average” folder?) and what is it for?

    c. The StackResult now lies in a Stacking Folder in Lighten mode, with an Over layer in Normal mode above it. What is the purpose of this?

    d. There is now a “Foreground Mask” folder containing a copy of the first (I think?) stacking image and a totally black mask. Is this just a place-holder, and we’re supposed to insert the desired foreground image (for me, often not the first one in the stack) and create our own mask. Or am I missing something?

    I had originally thought that these might be necessary for the stacking process, but they’re still there after all the stacking is finished. If there are explanations of any of these, can you point me to them? If not, are you planning to go over these new layers and groups in the (near, I hope) future. And if it turns out I don’t need the “Average”, “Average Masking” and/or “Foreground Mask” folders, is there a safe and easy way to turn off their creation?

    Thanks for your help, and for a great set of actions.

    1. Eric Harness

      Eric, here wow that is a lot of very good questions. I am going to foolishly attempt to answer your question. Give me a bit to chew through the details. Thanks for bring these up. Let me verify and get back to you if I don’t know or can’t figure it out Steven will jump in.

    2. Steven Christenson Post author


      1. there should only have been one not two. We made a typo on one of the links and some people were sent the wrong content (the one with two similarly named actions in it.) I resent the files with the correct content but may have missed some folks. The new version is “StarCircle Advanced PLUS Version 14b“. I’ve sent it to you directly.

      2. Oops. the link was working before…. not sure what we broke, but should take you to THIS page. Now fixed.

      I believe all of your questions are explained in the videos – starting with the Installation Video. All of the layers are used (or can be used) there will be about 17 layers once it’s ready to go, not including groups.

      3. Much about watermaking is in the “Watermarking” video. And much more is explained in the next video on Customizing Actions.

      4 & 5. If you ignore those many layers, it works just the way version 13 does – except, of course for the newer features. For a-d please see the videos, but here are some quick notes:
      5a: Did you notice that the blend mode of the StackResult is Lighten? Brighter things, like the brightened average can be included.
      5b. Averaging and how it works is explained in the last video above, though I’ve got more advanced material in the works, too.
      5c. Over is used by some stacking modes – e.g. Elastic Stars.
      5d. You’re correct. The action can’t guess what you want for your foreground. It creates a placeholder which you can replace as you wish, and by default a mask that hides everything. I usually run the stacking and create the foreground mask from something I’ve stacked. Watch this video and you’ll see what I mean. – Imagine using the brightened average as the foreground mask – the video shows how I created both the brightened foreground and the mask.

  15. Robert


    Thanks for your reply. I’m not sure what you mean by sending the revised zip file to me directly. It’s now 6 PM and I have nothing from you in my email inbox; did you send it some other way (not sure what that would be)?

    I watched the watermarking video (twice, I think), but didn’t see anything on how to turn it off completely. Did I miss something? As I said, I tried to turn it off by going into the actions and unchecking various check boxes, but with each attempt I only managed to break the action. I’d also like to turn off creation of the foreground mask folder. Can you explain how to do both of these, or is it too complex (I note there’s a lot of cross-referencing actions with one another). In case you’re wondering, I’d just prefer the actions didn’t create these two folders rather than having to constantly delete them after the fact.

    I admit, I didn’t watch the Customizing video in its entirety. My bad. I’ll go back and do that now to see what I missed.

    Thanks for your help. I look forward to receiving the updated Zip file — by email I presume. Please check to be sure you’re sending it to my correct address!

    1. Steven Christenson Post author

      “I’d also like to turn off creation of the foreground mask folder.”
      The layer is not causing any harm. That entire folder (Group, actually) is where you would do other things like curve adjustments, etc. as described in the “Getting Started” video ( the second in the series. The adjustments you make would then apply to each image of a set of intermediate images.

      The same is true of the watermark. While you can certainly watermark using Lightroom, if you generate images using the Advanced Stacker PLUS I assume you wouldn’t then want to have to run Lightroom just to watermark all the intermediate images.

      While I do show that you can move and resize the watermark as you wish in the video(s), you can also turn OFF the watermark layer using the eye, or drag the watermark off-the visible part of the canvas, or substitute an empty layer named “Watermark”. There’s no reason why you can’t create your own watermark with nothing on it… or if you already have a watermark, load your existing one as described in the “Doing More” video ( You’ll have a lot more styling and blending options for your Photoshop watermark than exist in Lightroom.

      You must leave the Watermark layer in the layer stack because there are operations that expect there to be at least one layer named Watermark in the Watermarks Group. By the way WHICH watermark is loaded by default is in the “My Watermark” action of the Customization area. In the next release I’ll add a “No Watermark” step, though as I said, you can always turn the watermark off after you’ve done the “Do This First” step.

  16. Rick Schneider

    I’ve been really enjoying the Advanced Stacker Plus v. 14. I have had two recurring issues. I am using PS CS5 on a Mac Pro running Max OS X v. 10.6.8. (Hardware details: 2.8GHz Quad-Core Intel Xeon, 24Gb of RAM)

    1) I am able to use all of the stacking actions as advertised, except one: the Darken Mode. Every time I try, I get this dialog:
    >The object “layer “First and Last” is not available<

    2) Since installing these actions, I have been unable to get my own custom resize (Image Size and Canvas Size) actions to work. Any ideas what could be getting in the way? When I boot up PS CS3 they work fine.


    – Rick Schneider

    1. Steven Christenson Post author

      Oops. Looks like we broke Darken mode. It’s been fixed since version 14b. As for having trouble with using your own cropping… the trick is to record a cropping operation using images at least the size of what you’ll be operating on. Photoshop keeps track of the relative location of the crop. For example crop the top 4000 pixels off of a 5000×3000 document to produce a 1000×3000 document and Photoshop remembers: Start down 4000 pixels from the top. If you then give it a document that’s not big enough Photoshop will complain because it can not figure out where to start cropping, say a 2048×1000 pixel document.

  17. Ken Lee

    Steven, thanks for the new version.
    I’ve noticed that when I run “fathead setup” I get a message that reads: the object “layer “StackResult”” is not currently available. I press “continue and it tells me to now run “Elastic Stars” in Batch Mode. I do that and receive these error messages:
    – The command “Move” is not currently available” (press continue)
    – The object “layer “StackResult” is not currently available (press continue)
    – The object “layer “StackResult” is not currently available (press continue)
    – The command “Merge Layers” is not currently available” (press continue)
    – The object “layer “layer First and Last” is not currently available (press continue)
    – The command “Move” is not currently available” (press continue)

    after which nothing happens.

    Mac OS 10.6.8/Photoshop CS4, TIFF 16-bit files (4928 x 3264), freshly installed version of V14B.

    Please advise. Thanks.

    1. Steven Christenson Post author

      Ken, did you run “Fat Head” after running “Do This First“. Pretty much everything in that action set requires “Do This First”. I do notice that we didn’t color the button consistently – it should have been purple, not green since it requires a prior action. I’ll fix that in the next release.

      > Green      Run any time you want.
      > Red          Indicates a boundary between sets. Does nothing.
      > Blue         A First step. Can run any time.
      > Yellow     Requires “Do This First” and should be run in “Batch Mode”
      > Orange   Same as Yellow, produces Intermediate files (so an output location is needed)
      > Purple     Run only if “Do This First” has been run”
      No Color    Do not run directly.

  18. Glenn

    Hi, am experiencing some issues when attempting to load a batch under ” Set: StarCircle Advanced PLUS Version 14d
    Action: DO THIS FIRST (Start HERE!)”. After initiating the batch to load it starts to load each image separately. The dialog box that reads “… SMACK stop again!” never appeared?

    Windows 8.1
    Photoshop CS5.1 Extended
    Images: 1920×1080 – 24bit – jpeg

    I started everything again from scratch and it started working but now when I’m processing a batch of images, same specs as above, I’m getting and error saying that the “Batch process has encountered an error. Check Error log for more details.” They’re are 301 images in my batch, is that an issue?


    1. Steven Christenson Post author

      Glenn, a couple of questions come to mind. The most likely cause of the batch error is an incorrect path to the scripts OR a bad reference to a file in the batch.

      1. Did you run the install check? Did that work?
      2. What operation are you running when the error occurs? (e.g. Comet with Intermediates?)
      3. How are you selecting files: via a directory, or via Adobe Bridge?
      4. When does the error occur? First file, 31st… etc. We’ve run as many as 400 files through the stacker without a problem.

      By the way the “Stop again” would not occur if you only selected a single file for the first step – that’s perfectly acceptable.

  19. Keith Doucet

    Recently purchased Advanced Stacker Plus version 14D.
    Have managed to successfully install it, Ran the “Installation Check” and that ran great.
    Restarted Photoshop CS5 (running on Windows 7 Pro – 32 bit)
    Followed all instructions to the letter (as far as I can tell) from the great videos you have here.

    All files are jpegs (800 X 600 pixels) re-sized them for faster results and to test.

    Ran the “Do This First” script. Seems to have worked but have noticed that there are no images or layers in the “Dark Frame” or “Average” folders in those layers (should there be?).

    Click the “stop” feature on the two occasions that we are instructed to do when completed.

    Go back to “file/automate/batch” and then choose “Darken Mode” as I have a series of daylight shots for my test. (33 images).
    have made doubly sure that the proper boxes have been checked in the preferences,
    Override action “open” commands
    Suppress File Open Options
    Suppress Color Profile Warnings
    all have check marks in their related boxes.

    Click on OK and it starts to generate my file (New Background) and a second copy of my original file (first in series) is as far as it gets before I get a plethora of errors starting with “The command “move” is not currently Available”. If I click “Stop” the entire process stops – well at least that works!
    If I press continue more messages appear (naturally 😉 ) just to see what would happen.

    The strangest thing is that I was successful in creating one image (on my second attempt) then not able to recreate that image or any other from another set since.

    Any suggestions?

    1. Steven Christenson Post author

      Hello Keith. Lots there. First we know there was a “Darken mode” bug. Please try another stacking mode just in case it’s still there and we are just hallucinating about having fixed it.

      Second, whenever you start the stacking process (the Do this First) you should have NO files loaded in Photoshop. And after “Do This First” you should have only one document… the StackResults.psd that Do This First created.

      “should there be layers” in “Average” and “Dark Frame” groups? Yes. After Do This First there should be 8 layers in the Average group – 7 of them will be empty – and one layer in Dark Frame Group which will also be empty. By empty we mean “a transparent layer”.

      Like this:

      It’s not clear if that’s where you are from your description.

  20. Keith Doucet

    Hi Steven.

    to further expand on my description I had no other file open in PS.
    Had done the “Do This First” step and left open.
    Have tried almost all other Modes and still the same resulting message.

    And regarding the layers that have been created after the “Do This First” mode,
    I have layers but they are all empty. That’s what I found very strange.

    I have since deleted the actions and did a clean install but still have the same problem.

    Hope this doesn’t wreck your weekend. 😉


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