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. Ronny

    I tried installing 14e on Photoshop CC 2020 (MacOS Catalina 10.15.2). No error message but the Actions cannot be found in Photoshop after relaunch.

    1. Steven Christenson Post author

      We have withdrawn Advanced Stacker Plus from sale. While CC2020 compatibility seems to not be a problem, Mac OS upgrades have proved problematic and we do not have the bandwidth to keep up with the changes required.

  2. Steven Christenson Post author

    Yes. We no longer sell or support Advanced Stacker/ Advanced Stacker Plus. Two things conspired to come to this conclusion:
    1. Mac OS changes kept breaking the Mac version and we no longer have a Mac to use to troubleshoot.
    2. Increasing instability from Adobe Photoshop changes – and we dropped our subscription to Adobe products.

    We considered releasing it for free, but our experience with a free version in the early days showed us that “free” didn’t stop many people from requesting or demanding changes.

  3. Rombout Versluijs

    Im curious to why you state this is an OS problem. Why not distribute it without the installers. Its not so hard to install actions. Thats all it is right?

    1. Steven Christenson Post author

      It’s an OS problem. Mac keeps changing (with every release) not only the installation restrictions, but also the compatibility with Photoshop. You don’t see it because Photoshop has a large team of developers who struggle to keep up. I’m a team of one.

      “It’s not so hard to install actions” – well, yes it is. These actions have built in references to specific locations (e.g. for watermarking) and are pretty useless if those locations change. Photoshop has no means to code “relative” references. And the “official” means to distribute actions through the Adobe store is also a nightmare (Adobe is quite greedy). The bottom line is it’s not tenable for a one man team to “keep up” with the changing MacOS waters and have to support the unhappy customers who discover it’s not so easy.

      If you’re volunteering to do the development needed to make installs work on MacOS, I can resurrect it (and of course I’d compensate you with a percentage of sales provided you are also willing to provide support). But I no longer have a Mac (I only owned it for the purpose of this development). In fact I no longer have Photoshop/Lightroom either as I’ve switched to Affinity Photo. It works on the “pay once” model and doesn’t get all bent out of shape if it can’t contact a “license server”. Curiously, however, I’ve had many FREE upgrades since I first purchased it 2 years ago!


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