Stacking Software For Mac

  • Zerene Stacker is designed for deep stacks. There is no intrinsic limit on stack depth. Many of our users routinely go over 100 images per stack; the biggest ones we know about are over 1000. Zerene Stacker can handle any modern camera we know of. Some of our users regularly process 200 megapixels per frame, from high-end Hasselblad cameras.
  • Most of my experience with this software has been on a Windows 10 PC, stacking Canon RAW files from a DSLR. To run Deep Sky Stacker on a Mac computer, a workaround such as using a virtual machine is necessary. Let’s take a look at the main features of this software: Registration of picture sets; Creation and use of offsets, flats and dark frames.

$15 Keith Wiley Mac OS X 10.5 Intel/10.6 Intel Version 5.0.1 Full Specs. Stacking images is a well-established method for increasing the signal-to-noise ratio in a series of similar images.

For any photographer, it is all about the focus, exposure settings, and most importantly the composition of the photographto get a good snap. But, even if the structure and exposure are set correctly, a photographer, most of the times struggle with the focus and defocus of the snap. When you are shooting outside or taking a macroscopic shot, you will face a problem focusing on the subject. You get all in one complete package in one Focus Stacking Software. Apart from a decent photographic skills, restoring, organizingand viewingsoftwares also play major role in its utility.

Also see: Top 6 Best APA Generator Tools to Download 2019 Latest

To overcome this problem, there is software available online from where you can download, install and use it for getting a well-focused photograph. Things are made more manageable for the photographer to reduce their effort and time focusing on the subject of their composition. And furthermore, we have deduced a list of 5 best Focus Stacking Software for your Windows PC.

Contents

  • 1 Top 5 Focus Stacking Software

Top 5 Focus Stacking Software

This is a well combined list of top 5 focus stacking software.

Picolay

The software is small in size with lots of amazing features installed in it. The stacking by a focus stacking software is carried out very smoothly; just you need to add a couple of photos focusing on different parts, and then the processor will itself stack them together by evenly focusing them. Picolay best works for macro or microscopic images shot from a fixed distance.

Once you install the software, it will provide you with some tips and tricks so that you get familiar with the software and know how to make your pictures ready for stacking by this Focus Stacking Software. Once you get through the tutorial, you can now entirely rely on the app for focusing and piling up your photos. You can also create GIFs from a set of images.

Getting started with Picolay:

  • Click on File and add images. Select those photos which you want to focus stack. The attached pictures will be displayed as a bunch, and you can also preview them.
  • After adding your photographs, go to the stack operation and click on Stack with current parameters. This will generate the focus stack of your pictures and gives you the output within a concise amount of time.
  • You can also change the stack operation settings according to your wish from the settings.
  • Once you are done and satisfied with the out, you can now save the pictures in many formats; jpg, png, gif, tiff, etc.

Visit: Picolay

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TuFuse

TuFuse is a free command-line software with many surprising features loaded in it. It combines the best-focused parts of numerous shots and produces a sharp and evenly focused image. Not only the focus, but it also helps in exposing your photograph somewhat by combining the well-exposed parts from multiple shots.

As a result, you will get a well focused and a correctly exposed picture in the output. It does not have a GUI, so, in that case, you will have to give commands yourself for adjusting the parameters. There is an alternative way; you can install another software; PTAssembler, which acts as a GUI for TuFuse.

How to stitch photos in TuFuse:

  • Open the software from the location Download is now complete.
  • After opening, transfer your pictures to TuFuse folder.
  • In the address bar, select all and delete the folder path to replace it with CMD. Press Enter. This will open the file using the Command Prompt with the TuFuse directory.
  • Now, you will have to enter a command and keep in mind that the command follows a specific order; tufuse-o output.tif input1.tif input2.tif…, and press Enter. Here, an output is the output file name, and input1, input2 are the input file names.
  • Processing and saving of output is in the TuFuse folder. But the output will always be in TIF format only despite being whatever the input format may be.

Visit: TuFuse

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ImageJ

It is an open source software that has multiple platforms to work on with your images. The software runs on Java. Pre-installation of features takes place in the software; the user will have to use the plug-in from the ocean of the plug-ins that the software offers. A very popular add-on for this software is Stack Focuser.

The process for creating a focus stack is simple. But, at first, you will have to download the plug-in. Once you download it, now you can open the software and transfer images one by one. After they are in transfer process, click on the “Stk” button on the Toolbar of ImageJ and again click on the Image to Stack option.

This will help you to create all the transferred images to pile up together. Click on the Stack Focuser; a small dialogue will appear “Ok,” click on that and the images will convert into focus stacked output. You can save it in any format including gif.

Visit: ImageJ

Combine ZP

Combine ZP is a remarkable focus stacking software. The user interface of this program is straightforward and easy to use for anyone. Just load the images from your computer and select “So Stack” followed by a click on Go. You can also align the photos before you go on with the stacking with this Focus Stacking Software and then proceed further as above.

An output folder processes at the time of installation of the software where your renderings will be saved automatically after they have been successfully in focus and stack. This Focus Stacking Software, along with focus stacking the pictures, it also offers a lot more to its users, and in case if any user faces any problem, there is also a help option in the software.

Visit: Combine ZP

Chasys Draw IES

Chasys Draw IES is a free to use image editing software. The software has a wide range of tools like any other editing software. One of the features is focus stack images on PC. All you need to do is open the photos you want to pile up. Once they are opened as a stack, go to the Processes>>Stack>>Focus Stacking.

On the workspace, the editing image displays on screen in real time, and if it meets your requirements, then you can save the image in any of your favorite formats by merely clicking on the File option and then Save. The software also has features like image averaging, Image HDR, Moving objects, etc.

Visit: Chasys Draw IES

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Conclusion

As discussed here, these are the top 5 focus stacking software. In case you know about some more of these, kindly comment and let all of us know too.

Hey everyone! I’m just a simple guy who absolutely loves tech. It’s my dream to make sure that all the updates in the tech world reach everyone is simple words. Hope you have a good time on my blog! 🙂

Astrophotography is closer to science than art, and there is no such thing as “getting it right in camera.” This means you cannot simply point the camera at the sky and snap away.

In astrophotography you cannot avoid post processing your images, so stacking and editing your images serves three main purposes:

  1. Reduce noise and deal with light gradients and vignetting.
  2. Improve signal to noise ratio.
  3. Reveal the faint details in the image.

Image stacking is the technique used to improve the signal to noise ratio, and it is the only noise reduction method that will boost the image details rather than smear them out.

In this article, we will discuss some of the most popular software available for astrophotography image stacking.

Note: Don’t miss the detailed video at the end of this article, It was created to help show you how to quickly start using some of the stacking software mentioned in this article.
Click here to skip to our Image Stacking Demo Video.

Astro stacking software for mac

What Does Stacking Photos Mean?

The concept behind image stacking is simple, but to appreciate how it works, there are a couple of things we have to consider:

Photo Stacking Software For Mac

  1. A stack can be visualized as a pile of images all stacked one on top of the other;
  2. Each digital image is formed by a set of pixels, all having a certain value: dark pixels will have a lower value than the bright ones;

In the simplest form of image stacking, the pixels values for all images in the stack are averaged to produce a single image.

What is the purpose of stacking photos?

The result is a single image with improved signal to noise ratio, i.e., with better details and lower (random) digital noise and better details.

The scheme below illustrates the concept.

If the considered digital noise affects the pixel values randomly across the stack, then the result of averaging the stack is that the random component of the noise to the pixel value is significantly reduced.

ISO noise and Luminance noise and Chrominancenoise are examples of digital noises that are random.

The image below shows a real-life example from stacking 30 images from my Sony RX10 bridge camera taken at ISO 6400. As you can see, the original images showed a greater deal of noise (grain) than the stacked one.

The More Images You Stack, The Better

The more images you stack, the cleaner the resulting images are, as shown in the comparison below.

While Image stacking creates a cleaner image, it often softens the image: digital sharpening techniques are then used to recover sharp looking details.

Finally, bear in mind that the progression of image quality is not linear.

If stacking 4 images improves the image quality of 50% respect what you got by stacking only 2 images, to improve a further 50% the image quality from stacking 50 images, you may need to stack 300 images or more.

Image Stacking And Movement

If nothing moves between shots, like in the previous real life example, implementing image stacking is very simple: just group the images and average them to smooth out the noise.

With a moving subject, grouping and averaging the images will not only smooth out the noise, but also the subject itself.

This is the same principle for which long exposures of passing traffic and crowd result in a street image without cars nor people.

This effect is amplified with the number of images used, and the moving subject could simply disappear from the stacked image.

To resolve the issue, you have to align the images based on their content before stacking.

Due to image alignment, you may have to trim the edges of the stacked image to get rid of artifacts, but your target will not be lost.

Note that while in theory you can stack images of a static scene taken with the camera on a tripod, in reality, those images will probably differ at the pixel scale due to micro-movements. It is always beneficial to align the images before stacking.

How To Shoot For Exposure Stacking Your Images

Image stacking can be done with any camera and even camera phones and with images in both RAW and JPEG format.

Nonetheless, some things can be done to improve the final result:

  1. Lock the focus, so that the camera will not hunt for it between images. This will also help to keep the focus consistent through the shooting sequence.
  2. Keep the same settings, in particular shutter speed, aperture, and focal length: you don’t want to change the camera field of view during the sequence, nor the brightness of the images or the depth of field.
  3. If you are shooting on a tripod, disable image stabilization. If you want to shoot handheld, do so only for short sequences at very high shutter speed.

Image Stacking In Astrophotography

Related:Astrophotography Software & Tools Resource List

As said previously, image stacking is a standard technique implemented in any astrophotography editing workflow for,

  1. A star field from a fixed tripod.
  2. A deep sky object from a tracking mount.
  3. The Moon handheld.
  4. A starry landscape from a fixed tripod or tracking mount.

Every astronomy image will benefit from image stacking.

List Of Photo Stacking Software For Astrophotography

Here is a list of software used in astrophotography for image stacking.

Adobe Photoshop

Complete Image Editor Commercial – Subscription Plan Photography Bundle $9.99 / Month Mac OS X, Windows

Pro

  • Versatile
  • Available for Mac and Windows
  • In bundle with Adobe Lightroom CC, Bridge, Camera Raw, and web space
  • Many action packs and plugins available for astrophotography

Cons

  • Subscription Plan only
  • Can’t be used to calibrate light frames
  • Stacking capabilities are somehow limited

If you are interested in photography, chances are you know Adobe Photoshop is the standard in the industry and does not need introductions.

With Adobe implementing a subscription plan for their applications, if you are using Lightroom CC for your everyday photography, your plan subscription will also include Photoshop CC and Bridge CC.

And for astrophotography, Photoshop is what you need. Lightroom cannot stack your images nor perform the histogram stretching, two crucial steps in the editing workflow for astrophotography.

In this article, we have already covered in detail how to stack astrophotography images with Photoshop.

Sequator

Deep Sky And Starry Landscape Stacker Freeware Windows

Pro

  • Free
  • Easy to use
  • Fast
  • Suitable for both Starry Landscapes and Deep Sky images
  • Can create Star Trails

Cons

  • Windows only
  • Limited set of options
  • Not suitable for Planetary astrophotography

Sequator is an easy-to-use and intuitive astrophotography software for stacking both starry landscape and deep-sky images. It can also be used to create star trails.

While not as advanced as other stackers, it nonetheless allows you to calibrate your light frames with dark and flat calibration frames. It also allows you to remove light pollution, reduce noise, and perform other simple tasks on the stacked image.

Starry Landscape Stacker

Starry Landscape Stacker Commercial, $39.99 Mac OS X

Pro

  • Fast
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Mac Os X only
  • Does not read RAW files

If you are into starry landscapes and you are a Mac user, Starry Landscape Stacker is a must-have.

Easy to use, it allows you to stack and align the sky and the foreground independently by letting you easily mask the sky.

Live stacking software for mac

Unfortunately, the software lacks the support for RAW formats, thus forcing you to convert your RAW images in the more heavy TIFF format.

Aside from that, it works very fast and the final image is of good quality. You can also save the sky only, which is useful to further edit the shot in Photoshop or similar editors.

Starry Sky Stacker

Deep Sky Stacker Commercial, $24.99 Mac OS X

Pro

  • Fast
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Mac Os X only
  • Does not read RAW files
  • Basic

Starry Sky Stacker is Starry Landscape Stacker brother and it has been created to stack deep sky astrophotography images.

As Starry Landscape Stacker, Starry Sky Stacker is very easy to use and intuitive, although very basic.

If you are a casual star shooter and a Mac user, this could be a good choice for you.

Deep Sky Stacker

Deep Sky Stacker Freeware Windows

Pro

  • Free
  • Easy to use
  • Fast
  • Full light frames calibration
  • Features Comet stack modes
  • Can Drizzle
  • Many advanced stack options and methods available

Cons

  • Windows only
  • Post-processing is quite limited
  • Not suitable for Starry Landscapes nor for Planetary astrophotography

Deep Sky Stacker, better known as DSS, is arguably one of the most widely used software to calibrate and stack astrophotography images.

With DSS, you can fully calibrate your images with Darks, Flats, Dark Flats, and Bias calibration frames for the best results possible. Light frames are analyzed and scored by quality so that you can decide which percentage of best images you can stack (Best 75% by default).

A very interesting feature is that with DSS, you can easily combine images taken during different imaging sessions, to produce images of higher quality.

Autostakkert!

Planetary Stacker Freeware Windows

Pro

  • Free
  • Easy to use
  • Suitable for Planetary, Lunar and Solar images
  • Stack full planetary disk and lunar surface close-ups

Cons

  • Interface a bit confused
  • It does not offer wavelet sharpening
  • Windows only

Autostakkert!, also known as AS!, is a very popular free software among the solar system astrophotographers. With AS! it is easy to stack both images showing the full Planetary (or Lunar or Solar) disc and images showing lunar surface close-ups.

The interface is a bit confusing, particularly in the beginning, but it is easy to navigate through the different steps for the stacking.

Unfortunately, AS! does not offer wavelet sharpening, which is a widely used technique in planetary and lunar astrophotography. For this, you can load your stacked image in Registax, another freeware software for Windows only that, sadly, is now “abandoned-ware.”

Lynkeos

Planetary Stacker Freeware Mac OS X

Pro

  • Free
  • Has deconvolution and wavelet sharpening
  • It is probably the only freeware planetary stacker for Mac OS X

Cons

  • Not very intuitive
  • Somewhat slower than Autostakkert!

Lynkeos is perhaps the only freeware planetary stacker software for Mac OS X, sparing you from turning to Windows for using Autostakkert!.

The interface is quite intuitive to navigate, but not when it comes to performing the different tasks.

On the other hand, it offers a deconvolution method and wavelet sharpening, a must-have for a planetary stacker. Definitely worth having a look at it if you are a Mac user.

SiriL

Deep Sky Astrophotography Editor Freeware Mac OS X, Windows, Linux

Pro

  • Free
  • Cross-Platform
  • Active development

Cons

Focus Stacking Software For Mac

  • A bit convoluted and not as intuitive as other stackers

SiriL is a freeware, cross-platform, astrophotography package that will let you calibrate, stack, and develop deep sky astrophotography images.

While not as easy and intuitive as Sequator or DSS, it offers a lot of options and produces good results. There is an active community, and it is under constant development.

Astro Pixel Processor

Deep Sky Astrophotography Editor Commercial $60/Yr Renter License Or $150 Owner License Mac OS X, Windows, Linux

Pro

  • Full-grown astrophotography package
  • Fairly easy to use
  • Mosaics are created with ease and are of great quality
  • Active and constant development
  • Cross-Platform
  • 30-days Trial period
  • Affordable yearly subscription

Cons

  • Only for deep sky astrophotography
  • No Comet stacking mode

With Astro Pixel Processor (APP), you step in the realm of full-grown astrophotography packages, with many advanced options and methods to calibrate, stack, and post-process your deep-sky images.

Compared to PixInsight (PI), the software benchmark for the category, APP is cheaper and way easier to use, which makes it one of the best PI alternatives.

If you decide to buy it, you can choose between the renter’s license for $60/yr, to always get the latest version of APP, or the owner’s license for $150, but you will have to purchase the license again for major update releases.

PixInsight

Astrophotography Editor Commercial – €230+VAT Mac OS X, Windows, Linux

Pro

  • It has all you need for astrophotography
  • 45 days trial period
  • A lot of tutorials and information available

Stacking Software Mac Os

Cons

  • Expensive and without subscription plan
  • Extremely steep learning curve
  • Long and convoluted process
  • Needs a powerful computer

When it comes to astrophotography, PixInsight is the software of reference against which all others are measured. It offers everything you may possibly need to produce pro graded images, and it is objectively the best software in the field.

But user experience can be frustrating, as the learning curve is very steep, the editing is long and convoluted, and your computer must be quite recent and powerful to make it run smoothly.

The €230 + VAT price tag is also quite steep: sure it is worth every penny, but this makes PI be even more the software of choice for professional and keen amateur astrophotographers.

A Comprehensive Demo About Image Stacking

In this video, I show you how easy it is to wet our feet with image stacking.

This is particularly true if you use Starry Landscape Stacker, Sequator, Deep Sky Stacker and Autostakkert!, as I showed in the video below.

Photo Stacker For Mac

Conclusion

Image stacking is one of the crucial steps in the astrophotography editing workflow.

You’ll need the appropriate stacker for each type of astrophotography: starry landscapes, star trails, or deep-sky and planetary images.

In this article, we have covered the most popular astrophotography stackers available on the market, both freeware and commercial.

And while Windows users have the more extensive choice, some notable stackers are available for Mac and even Linux users.