7 Replies Latest reply: Dec 12, 2012 7:14 PM by Kirby Krieger
HJKeats Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

Does Aperture 3.4 have the capability to stack multiple images? For instance to take a number of images with long exposures and at long intervals and then combine them all into a single image, such as those images we see of the moon progressing across the sky. If Aperture does not is there a plugin for Aperture that can achieve the same result.


Thanks in advance for all helpful replies.

  • 1. Re: Stacking images
    léonie Level 9 Level 9 (51,645 points)

    "Stacking" images means something differently in Aperture. Aperture has stacks, but a stack of images is a set of image versions collapsed and hidden behind a single thumbnail, to make browsing and tagging easier.

    What you want to do is image compositing, and that is something that Aperture does not support at all. Aperture provides no tools to combine elements from different images into one single image or to layer images. I'd recommend to use Adobe Photoshop or elements, pixelmator, or the free Gimp as an external editor to do compositing.




  • 2. Re: Stacking images
    HJKeats Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you leonieDF for the quick and very helpful reply. Have you used Gimp for such a task as image compositing. Does Gimp work with RAW files?


    Thanks again,


  • 3. Re: Stacking images
    jfa643 Level 1 Level 1 (10 points)

    Try StarStax (www.StarStax.net). It is freeware and does the job.



  • 4. Re: Stacking images
    léonie Level 9 Level 9 (51,645 points)

    See GIMP supported image formats


    To use GIMP, you will have to export the images as tiff or PSD file, but that is, what Aperture will send to an external editor anyway,

  • 5. Re: Stacking images
    HJKeats Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Thank you Joe, had a look at the website. It seems like the application I have been looking for. I hoped Aperture would have been able to do this, so that I could do post editing and stacking all in the one application.


    I shall give StarStax a go.




  • 6. Re: Stacking images
    léonie Level 9 Level 9 (51,645 points)

    Thanks for the link, jfa643.  That looks like a great program.

  • 7. Re: Stacking images
    Kirby Krieger Level 6 Level 6 (11,915 points)

    Here's what I do for focus-stacking, HRD, and other multiple-exposures-to-one-final-image processes.  Modify to suit  .


    • Import files into Aperture.
    • Stack them.
    • Assign a color label I don't use for anything else (this alerts me to what they are, and keeps me from mistakenly using or deleting them).
    • White balance and any other adjustments that should be done at this point (un-correct the exposure, if I forgot to lock it in the field).
    • Select all and export to a Finder folder (I have folders already in place for panoramas.
    • Use another program to combine the exported files and create the new one.
    • Import the new one into the same Project in Aperture.
    • Drag it into the Stack (the Aperture Stack -- what Léonie mentioned), and make it the Stack Pick.  Collapse the Stack.
    • Delete all the files in the Finder folder.
    • Prepare the new Image for publication.


    It's more roundabout than one might want, but it works well (imho).