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Old 29th of December 2008 (Mon)   #1
Adrena1in
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Default Stacking for Star Trails...how best to do it?

Hi all,

I've used Adobe Photoshop Elements before to stack several star trail shots to extend the effective exposure time. The most I've done is three or four images of several minutes each. As far as I know it's a manual process...load up the images, set them as separate layers, set the opacity to 50% so they're all visible, and voila, job done.

But what if I have a couple of hundred images? I loaded them all into PS the other night and the load process alone took 10 minutes or so. Manually dragging each one into a new frame and setting the opacity would take hours.

Would it work effectively if I loaded them all into something like Deep Sky Stacker, and set it to use the entire frame for each image, rather than telling it to do any sort of alignment? I did try it, but again it was taking ages, and I ran out of time before it had finished, so aborted. (My laptop isn't very quick and stacking in DSS can take ages sometimes.)

I'm sure I've tried DSS before to stack several hundred images of Jupiter, and it make a right hash of it, so I'm not sure how well it would work to stack several hundred star pics. Perhaps Registax would work better, as that did Jupiter pretty well.

Thanks in anticipation for any suggestions. The reason I ask is the only images I've got of M45 recently were wide-angle shots from indoors, which I made into a timelapse, but I wanted to see if I could do something else to submit for Challenge #2. Something "different" perhaps, because no way can I compete with the sorts of professional images that stargazr and Nighthound have produced of M45!
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Old 29th of December 2008 (Mon)   #2
Sorarse
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Default Re: Stacking for Star Trails...how best to do it?

There is an action available for PS that you can download that will stack all your star trail images together to make a single image.

I can't remember the site I got it from, but a Google search might turn it up.

ETA: I found it. You can download it from here. http://www.schursastrophotography.co...tartrails.html
The instructions on how to use it are also on that site.

I also found an alternative free downloadable piece of software for the same job, which sounds like it can also be used to make the time lapse video you mentioned. Haven't used it myself so can't vouch for how effective it is, but it might be worth a look.

http://www.startrails.de/html/software.html
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Last edited by Sorarse : 29th of December 2008 (Mon) at 05:23.
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Old 29th of December 2008 (Mon)   #3
Adrena1in
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Default Re: Stacking for Star Trails...how best to do it?

Thanks mate, that looks great, I've downloaded both!

Star Trails, the programme, is pretty good actually. Builds the trails image infront of your eyes, and lets you abort mid-process. I was stacking 95 images, but when it got to 36 it looked okay so I stopped it. About 10 seconds per image, so not that fast, but very easy to use.



Can't seem to get the Video bit working though...just says "Error".

But here's the video of the whole stack which I made using Adobe Premier Elements...that works nicely for me.

http://www.vimeo.com/2662205 (Not seen it myself yet, so not sure on the quality.)
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Last edited by Adrena1in : 29th of December 2008 (Mon) at 11:53.
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