Although PSE 2018 does not specifically support focus stacking I was able to do this quite well using the supported Photomerge function.
If you want to do this try the following.
1. Open/load all the photos you want to stack, or animate in editor
2. Go to Guided, Photomerge,and select Panorama
3, Change Auto Panorama to Reposition
4. On panorama setting I only use "blend images together"
5. Click Create Panorama, "select all"
6. I normally answer no to the would you like to automatically fill the edges query
7 After the merge finishes, click on continue editing in expert mode
8. You will be presented with a "stacked" image layer and all the original photos in their own layers showing the masking applied
9. Feel free to the delete layers, delete masks, or remask with fuzzy edges as needed to create a perfect focus stack
10. If you had a series of action shots and want to create an animated gif do this
a. delete the masks leave only the now perfectly aligned layers
b. Resize the image to something reasonable like 500 pixels wide
c. go to file, save for web
d. Select preset Gif 128 dithered
e. check the Animate box
f. Change looping option to forever
g. Save and enjoy the gif. You may have to do some cropping, or fill the edges as in #6 above, or adjust other options on the save for web dialog page.
This is an example of what you can do with about 5 images and PSE 2018 Editor. The panorama auto alignment was great.
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For users wanting a more automatic focus stacking, I would recommend the very affordable Elements+ add-on. It adds focus stacking together with many other Photoshop features missing from Elements. I think the other add-on, Elements XXL can do that also, but I have no personal experience.
Being an PSE 18 user, I was interested in your comment that Elements+ adds back the ability to focus stack to PSE18. I have downloaded the demo but I cant see any sign of Focus stacking. Can you give me any clues?
The demos just seem to be a series of little tricks and gimmicks which wasnt what I was looking for.
The demos are mainly tests to insure the compatibility of the plugins with your hardware and OS.
I don't care for focus stacking myself, but I recommend that you take a look at the:
photoshopelementsandmore dot com
forum (independent, run by its user). There are several users who have a lot of experience with that plugin and the author of Elements+, Andrei Doubrovski, is a member and monitors this forum.
Thanks for that tip. Bought the Elements+ software and it focus stacks like magic! Andrei is also a very helpful guy and replies to questions from people like me who sometimes stumble very quickly.