Photoshop CC 2019: Photo Stacking picks only ONE layer

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  • Updated 4 months ago
  • (Edited)
Merging my macro pictures with photo stacking used to work in older versions of Photoshop - not any more even if I use old macro photos where Photoshop merged correctly. I tired JPGs and Nikon Z7 NEF. 

In the current version only the very last photo of the stack is used. All other photos are masked out (completely black).

Steps (in German)
1) Datei -> Automatisieren -> Photomerge -> Auto
2) Picking 3 or 40 different files (either JPG or NEF)
3) Panaroma masks all layers black except the last one

Mac Mini late 2012
macOS 10.14.1 (18B75)

Adobe Photoshop Version: 20.0.1 20181029.r.41 2018/010/29: 1197484  x64
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Stefan Ferber

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Posted 5 months ago

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Stefan Ferber

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... just another topic: HeliconFocus did not have any problems with the same set of photos
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eartho, Champion

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Does activating Legacy Compositing in the Pref/Performance panel change the behavior?
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Stefan Ferber

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Thanks for the hint. Was not aware of this option. 

But result is the same, hence I have the feeling Photoshop is computing faster. 
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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I just did a focus stack in Photoshop CC2019 running on MacOS X Mojave and I do not see this problem. I did use a different approach however: First load the images as layers in Photoshop, then select all layers and use ‘Auto Align Layers’, finally use ‘Auto Blend Layers’. I believe that is how you should always do this. If you use the Photomerge script, then Photoshop thinks these are panorama images and so what you see is as expected.
(Edited)
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Stefan Ferber

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Thanks Johan. This solved the problem. I can do this even from Lightroom with Edit -> Photoshop in Layers.

But I do not understand why the other approach is not working any more. Is the same algorithm in the end... And it takes more of my time, too. Overall stacking of 60 pic with 45 megapixel in RAW takes several hours
(Edited)
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Would it be possible to get a set of images that fail for you? (zip up and post URL for CC files or dropbox)
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Stefan Ferber

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Yes. I can do once I am back home, probably 29.12.2018
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Thanks .
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Stefan Ferber

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Today, I uploaded 3 examples to my dropbox:
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/mn0bg41uabpsi7i/AAAtMaRbaWWr_mObnEoi-873a?dl=0

2 examples (Flowers, Single Flower) use the Nikon Z7 camera controlled focus-shifting function: see here for similar menu of Nikon D850 video https://youtu.be/xghK8wWYycE 

1 example (Angels) uses manual focus.

More details about each setting is in the meta-info.txt file in each folder.

Please post your eMail in order to give you full access to the dropbox folder.

As a teaser I attached a low resolution stacking computed by Helicon Focus:

(Edited)
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Thanks. I will look at this today. I seem to be able to download the files fine. Will let you know.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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Spoke too soon. I get the same results in CC 2019, 2018, 2017 and CS using the single flower set of files (selecting them all). Doesn't look like a new issue. Will need to look at the files closer to see if I can find what's failing.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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I think I'm able to repro. Running a few more cases. Thanks for these files to help debug.
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Jeffrey Tranberry, Sr. Product Manager, Digital Imaging

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I think I have it. All the layers are completely masked but the bottom one. I get the same results in CC 2019, 2018, 2017 and CS6 using the single flower set of files (selecting them all). Doesn't look like a new issue. Will need to look at the files closer to see if I can find what's failing.

Was there a different set of files that worked with prior versions but doesn't work with the current version of Photoshop? (Still need to try the other two sets you sent)

I
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Stefan Ferber

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Exactly, this is what I get. Picking a subset e.g. the first and the very last file gives the same result.
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Stefan Ferber

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Regarding the Photoshop Versions I cannot remember for sure. But I believe I used the the last version of Photoshop CC BEFORE Nikon Z7 RAW support. That's why I stacked a subset of the JPG files of the "flowers" folder. Therefore, it was the Photoshop Version between  09/30/2018 - 10/15/2018  
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Johan Elzenga, Champion

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The interesting thing is that if you Google 'Focus stack Photoshop', you'll find lots of tutorials. And all of them seem to use the method I described earlier, namely that you load the images as layers first, and then align them through the menu 'Auto Align Layers'. None of the links I checked (I obviously did not check all 6,250,000 hits) suggests that you can use the 'Automate - Photomerge' menu to do these two steps at once. So are you sure that you remember this correctly?...

Here are a few examples:
https://photoshopcafe.com/focus-stacking-photoshop-tutorial/
https://www.photoshopessentials.com/photo-editing/focus-stack-images-photoshop/
https://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-focus-stack-macro-images-using-photoshop/
https://digital-photography-school.com/focus-stacking-photoshop-seemingly-infinite-depth-of-field/
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Stefan Ferber

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I am very sure that I used the "Photomerge" as I used this tutorial http://patrikspiesecke.de/adobe-photoshop-cc-focus-stacking/ 
(Edited)